- Protein is Essential for all tissue wear and tear, maintenance and growth.
- Protein is Essential for Maintenance of Right PH Levels.
- Protein Acts as a Source of Energy.
- Protein Maintains the Right Balances in Fluids.
- Protein is Ideal for Bolstering Immune Health.
- Protein is a Carrier and Transporter of Essential Body Nutrients.
- Proteins are Required for Providing Structure to the Human Body.
The most vital molecules in our body are proteins. These are large sized molecules of complex nature and do majority of functions in the body cells. These are essential for function, structure and regulating all organs and tissues in the body.
Proteins are composed of thousands of small units known as amino acids – these are linked in long chains to each other. 20 types of total amino acids get combined for making protein. The amino acid sequence also determines the unique 3-dimensional structure of protein along with the certain function that it has.
The proteins get described accordingly with their large essential protein function for the body such as transporting oxygen molecules, keeping us healthy as part of immune system and they also transmit messages from one cell to another.
The DNA molecule segment containing instructions required for making unique protein is known as gene. All the cells contain same DNA molecules, but with each cell there is different combination of genes for building the certain proteins required for adequate performance of specialized functions.
The protein synthesis can be divided in two main stages. The very first stage is called as transcription, where the messenger molecule (mRNA) gets formed. The molecule gets transcribed from DNA molecule and it also carries information copy required to form a protein. In it’s 2nd stage, mRNA molecule leaves nucleus for cytoplasm where ribosomes of cell read information and begin assembling protein in process known as translation.
At the translation time, ribosomes read mRNA base sequence 3 at one time. The 3-letter combinations known as codons – each code a certain amino acid. For example, the base sequence TTT codes is for amino acid lysine.
Like various other process in the human body, protein synthesis gets largely affected through different environment factors. Such as temperature, stress, chemical exposure, maternal nutrition and many other internal and external factors.
Various Types of Proteins Along with their Functions
There are a lot of different proteins present in the bodies. All these serve vital roles for our development, and growth along with everyday functioning. Here are various examples:
The enzymes are different proteins facilitating different biochemical reactions. Example – the digestive enzyme pepsin helps in breaking down of proteins present in the foods.
Proteins produced by immune system for helping in removal or elimination of foreign substances and infections are known as antibodies.
The DNA associated body proteins are meant for regulating the chromosome structure at the time of cell division or/and play essential role in regulation of gene expression, for example, cohesion and histones proteins.
The contractile proteins control muscle contraction along with its movement, for example, the myosin and actin.
Most of the cell work is performed by proteins and they also perform different essential jobs.
Below we explain some of the basic essential functions of protein in the body.
Protein for Wear and Tear, Maintenance and Growth
Protein is an essential requirement for all the tissue wear and tear and maintenance.
Yet, the proteins in body remain in constant turnover state.
Under the normal circumstances the body breaks down amount of protein required for repair and building of tissues. Various other times, it can break a lot of protein – more than it’s creating capacity, thus it also increases the requirements of your body.
This also typically happens in times of illness at the time of pregnancy and also at the time of breastfeeding.
Also, patients who have lately recovered from a surgery or injury, athletes and older adults require a lot of protein as well.
Protein Is also a Messenger
Proteins are hormones, chemical messengers helping in aiding communication between tissues, organs and cells.
Also, they are made and get secreted through endocrine glands and tissues and then also get transported in blood for target organs and tissues. There the protein binds with protein receptors present on surface of the cell.
Hormones are mainly grouped in categories:
Steroids: These get made through fat cholesterol. Sex hormones such estrogen and testosterone, are steroid based.
Most of the hormones in human bodies are made up through polypeptides and proteins. A few common examples are:
- hGH (human growth hormone): The hormone is responsible for stimulating growth in growth tissues, including the bone.
- Insulin: The hormone signals in uptake of the sugar or glucose in the cell.
- ADH (antidiuretic hormone): Signals kidneys for reabsorption of water.
- ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone): Ideal for stimulating cortisol release, key metabolism factor.
Protein is Essential for Maintenance of Right PH Levels
Protein is essentially vital for regulation of concentrations of bases and acids in the blood along with various other essential body fluids.
Through the help of pH scale you can easily measure the ideal balance between bases and acids. As it can range from 0 to 14, with the 0 being most acidic one, 7 as the most neutral one and the highest alkalinity being 14.
Here are common examples of pH values of some common substances:
- Stomach acid: pH 2
- Human Blood: pH 7.4
- Soapy Water: pH 12
- Black Coffee: pH 5
- Tomato Juice: pH 4
Various buffering systems let the body fluids maintain normal range pH.
Constant pH is ideal as also even little pH changes become harmful and remain prospectively deadly.
With the help of proteins the body would easily be able to regulate pH levels. One example is the hemoglobin – the protein responsible for forming up the red blood cells.
The Hemoglobin can blind little amount of acids, and help in maintenance of the blood’s normal pH value.
Various other buffer systems in body doesn’t include bicarbonate and phosphate.
Proteins mainly act like a buffer system inside our bodies and help the body in maintenance of right pH values of the blood along with various other body fluids.
Protein Acts as a Source of Energy
Proteins also act as a source of energy for the entire body. Protein has four calories in a single gram, which is the amount equal to the energy provided to the body by carbohydrates. The highest amount of energy to the body is supplied by fats (nine calories in a single gram).
However, protein is the last thing that the body wishes to use as an energy source as the valuable nutrient gets used widely throughout the body. Fats and carbohydrates are suited for supplying the body with energy, as the body goes in reserve mode and uses these fuel sources. Moreover, these get metabolized with much higher efficiency comparing to protein.
In fact, with protein the body gets supplied with only a little amount of the total energy that the body would normally require under different circumstances.
However, when going in a fasting state (18-48 hours of zero food intake), the body breaks skeletal muscle so the amino acids are able to supply energy to the body. Also, the body uses the amino acids through skeletal muscle that broke down when the storage for carbohydrate is not adequate. This might occur post exhaustive exercise or if you haven’t consumed a lot of calories generally.
Summary – One important protein function is to create a valuable energy source only in situations of fasting, less caloric intake or exhaustive physical exercise.
Protein Maintains the Right Balances in Fluids
Proteins are essential for proper regulation of body processes for maintaining proper balance of fluids.
Globulin and albumin are proteins present inside the blood that help in overall maintenance of the fluid balance within the body through attracting more water and retaining it.
So, if you’re not eating a lot of protein, the levels of globulin and albumin gets decreased eventually.
Consequently, all proteins are no longer to keep the blood stored inside the blood vessels, and also the fluid gets forced inside the spaces present between the cells.
As fluid builds up continuously inside spaces present between the cells, edema or swelling starts occurring specifically in the area of your stomach.
This is a certain type of protein malnutrition known as kwashiorkor and it develops when the body consumes enough calories but it doesn’t consume adequate amount of protein.
The Kwashiorkor is quite rare in the developed areas worldwide and mostly it occurs in the starvation areas.
Summary – Proteins present in the blood are ideal for maintaining fluid balance between surrounding tissues and the blood.
Protein is Ideal for Bolstering Immune Health
An essential protein function is forming immunoglobulins (antibodies), for fighting infections. Antibodies are proteins present in the blood and these protect the body from different harmful invaders such as different viruses and bacteria.
When the outside invaders enter the cells inside the body, the body creates antibodies for tagging them for the elimination.
Without the availability of such antibodies, harmful elements such as viruses and bacteria become easy to replicate and they overwhelm the body with diseases.
Once your bodies produce antibodies against a certain virus or bacteria, the cells don’t forget the exact way of creating these.
With this the antibodies respond in a quick way the next time any particular disease agent invades the body.
As a final outcome, the body gradually starts developing immunity against all the diseases it gets exposed to.
Protein is a Carrier and Transporter of Essential Body Nutrients
The transport proteins are carrier of different essential substances throughout the bloodstream – to cells, inside the cells, into the cells.
Substances that get transported by such proteins are essential nutrients such as minerals and vitamins, oxygen, cholesterol and blood sugar.
For example, the hemoglobin is protein essential for carrying the oxygen from lungs to your body tissues. The Glucose transporters (GLUT) are for moving glucose to the cells, while the lipoproteins are ideal for transportation of fats and other cholesterol within the blood.
Protein transporters are quite specific, meaning that these bind well only with certain substances. For example, a transporter protein with protein function of moving glucose won’t move the cholesterol.
Proteins have also got different storage roles. Ferritin is storage protein meant to store iron.
Another storage protein is known as casein, which is principal protein required in the milk for helping the babies grow.
While a few proteins store essential nutrients in the human body, others transport all these nutrients.
Proteins are Required for Providing Structure to the Human Body
Numerous proteins are quite fibrous in nature and they increase rigidity and stiffness in the cells and tissues. All these proteins include collagen, elastin, and keratin, helping from the connective framework of certain body structures.
The Keratin is structural protein present in the hair, nails and skin.
Collagen is abundant protein present within the body and it is structural protein of the tendons, ligaments, skin and the bones.
Elastin is a hundred times more flexible compared to collagen. The high elasticity helps a lot of body tissues to return in their real shape after contracting or stretching like the lungs, arteries and uterus.
Alternative Proteins Roles
Different forms of proteins are available with different roles within the body. However, the scientists discovered that a few proteins are able to perform more than a single role.
To know more let’s take the example of Dr Julia Horsfield, who is leading Chromosome Structure and Development Group in University of Otago. She along with her lab specifically investigates about the nature of cohesin proteins that regulate chromosome structure at the time of cell division, and also get involved in forming surety that the genes remain switched on or off when required at the time of development. Her team focuses on impacts of reduction in cohesion proteins on the expression of genes in zebrafish and these outcomes are used for understanding certain types of human diseases.
The single component protein serves your bodies in a lot of ways!
Protein helps in building and repairing the tissues of the body, and lets metabolic reactions take place while coordinating essential body functions.
Additionally, to offering the body with necessary support and structural framework, the proteins are also ideal for maintenance of the right amount of fluid and pH balance.
Finally, the proteins are necessary for the strong working of your immune system, storing and transporting nutrients and these also act like a source of energy when required.
Collectively, all the aforementioned protein function provided to our bodies make it one of the most vital health nutrients.
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