Importance of protein in your body

Importance of Protein & Amino Acids in your body Healthy Life PakistanA chain of small chemicals called amino acids combine to form a larger molecule called ‘Protein’. There are 20 types of amino acid that make a human body healthy and functional. Each kind serves a different purpose and is responsible for each different part in the body. It is a building block for all tissue repair, critical enzymes, hormones and antibodies. Protein is the second most abundant compound in the human body after water. Its contribution to the human body makes it the most essential of all the nutrients.

Out of the 20 amino acids, 10 amino acids are made by the body itself. The other 10 must be attained from the food that we eat. Protein rich food such as chicken, beef, bison, duck and turkey are animal sources of protein. Grains, nuts, beans and vegetables also provide a reasonable source of protein, but it should be consumed in sufficient amount and a balanced combination to meet the body requirement.

Most of our bodies’ proteins are structural. The most obvious proteins that most of us would recognize are muscles. Muscle tissue attaches to bone, and when they contract they allow us to move. There is also specialized muscle that controls organ functions such as your heart contractions, digestive movements, and elimination functions. Although bone is predominantly calcium, the mineral is held together with protein. Nerves are mostly fatty compounds, but protein is the framework that holds nerves together. Blood vessels, our organs, and our skin all have structural proteins.

Protein when consumed by us through the food we eat is broken down by the body and used to manufacture its own protein. The protein synthesized by the body performs a variety of important physiological functions.

• Producing and maintaining structural protein: myosin, actins, collagen, elastin and keratin are structural proteins manufactured by the body. They maintain the strength and integrity of muscles, connective tissues, hair, skin and nails.

• Producing enzymes and hormones: hormones that are involved in blood sugar regulation as well as thyroid hormones are synthesized from proteins. Also all of the enzymes that catalyze the chemical reactions in the body are made from protein.

• Produces transport protein and lipoprotein: various substances in the body are transported by certain proteins. For e.g. hemoglobin that carries oxygen, transferrin that carries iron, ceruloplasmin that carries copper, retinol-binding protein that carries vitamin A. lipoproteins are responsible for carrying fat and cholesterol.

• Producing antibodies: antibodies are the kind of proteins that play an important role in the body’s immune system. They attach themselves to antigens, the foreign bodies, viruses, and bacteria and deactivate the antigens and make them more visible to the immune cells that destroy the antigens and prevent the body from diseases.

• Maintains proper fluid balance: the osmotic pressure, which controls the amount of water inside the cells, is maintained by the help of protein.

• Maintains acid-base balance properly: protein has the ability to combine with both acidic and basic substances, this ability aids in maintaining the normal acid-base balance in the body.

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