Protein plays an important role in the body. They have the ability to form tissues, as well as a number of other properties. Learn more from the following lines!
Do you know anything about the function of proteins in the body? These molecules, like other nutrients , are necessary for various life processes, so they must be present in our menu.
Proteins are made up of structural units called amino acids . Some of them cannot be synthesized in the human body and are therefore considered essential. There is no other way to get them than through food.
Everything about the function of proteins in the body
Generally speaking, proteins are molecules made up of 4 basic elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. In addition, sulfur, iron, copper or other minerals may be present in their composition.
Proteins play a major role for living things, as they are macronutrients needed for optimal functioning. Their functions are varied and different, the main one being to promote the formation of tissues and muscle mass. But their functions are far from limited to this one.
In the following lines we will focus on the different functions they perform.
Structure and plasticity. An important function of proteins in the body is the formation of cellular structures. They restore tissues, provide support and give elasticity and strength. There are two classic examples of this. First of all, collagen , which is involved in the composition of bones and tendons . Secondly, the keratin we find in hair, skin and nails. According to studies, protein intake is one of the main ways to increase muscle mass.
Regulation. Some hormones, such as insulin and glucagon, are proteins. These two hormones allow the regulation of blood glucose levels. Another case is calcitonin, which is responsible for calcium absorption . And there are proteins whose functions are to promote cell division and the “expression” of genes.
Protection. Proteins promote the formation of immunoglobulins. They are antibodies that protect the body against foreign factors. Mucins, for example, protect the mucosa and have a bactericidal effect. Not to mention fibrinogen and thrombin, which help the blood to clot and thus prevent bleeding.
Homeostasis. Proteins have the ability to maintain a stable internal environment through a process called homeostasis. In this process, the pH, acidity and osmotic balance in the body are always within normal limits.
Enzymes. Many proteins are enzymes, which means that they allow the body to react much faster when stimulated or stimulated. These substances can accelerate this process due to their ability to interact with substrates. For example, there are enzymes responsible for breaking down food such as amylase, lipase and protease.
Transport : Facilitate the transport of substances in body fluids such as oxygen (via hemoglobin and myoglobin) and fats (via apoproteins). At the cellular level, we can say that there are channels and receptors that allow the entry and exit of various substances through cell membranes.
Stocks : Proteins are also a source of energy if you need to use them as “fuel”. Although their use by the body as a fuel source is not optimal, it is still possible when no carbohydrates are available.
Different sources of protein
Foods that provide protein are of animal and plant origin, but of different quality. Sources of animal origin have a high biological value because they contain all the amino acids needed by the body. On the other hand, plant sources do not contain some of these substances.
According to scientific studies, when consuming proteins of plant origin, with the exception of soy, you should try to combine foods to achieve optimal qualities. Otherwise, you will never be able to get some basic items.
Foods containing quality proteins are:
- Red and white meat
- The eggs
- Dairy products
- Legumes: especially soybeans, chickpeas and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
Various scientific studies recommend the consumption of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This recommendation varies depending on the daily needs of each person. For example, pregnant women, children, adolescents and the elderly need to get more protein.
This recommendation does not apply to athletes who are physically active. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition , they should gain at least 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
As you need to know about the function of proteins in the body
These nutrients are extremely important for a number of basic functions in the body. For this reason, we all need to pay attention to whether we get enough of these substances. As already mentioned, high quality proteins are those in foods of animal origin. Therefore, vegetarians should consult a nutritionist.
As you can see, it is important to know more about the function of proteins in the body. These molecules are far from solely responsible for smoothing tissues. They are extremely important because they are involved in a number of processes in the body. Our health depends on them, so it is important that they are present in our menu.