Why Do We Require Proteins? Scientifically, it has been well established that we require Proteins for maintaining our body. Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance.
Why Do We Require Proteins
They are large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.
Thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chain, make Proteins. We find 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein.
The sequence of amino acids has vital role in determination of each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function.
What is protein used for? What do proteins do?
Proteins, collectively a dietary component, play many critical roles in the body. They are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. They work as antibody to bind to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria and help protect the body. They work as Enzyme to carry out almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells. They also assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA. Some Proteins, we can say messenger proteins and classify as some types of hormones, transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs. Proteins provide structure and support for cells. On a larger scale, they also allow the body to move. Some proteins work as transporter to bind and carry atoms and small molecules within cells and throughout the body.
What is protein good for?
Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body, one of the building blocks of body tissue, and a fuel source. We get energy density as carbohydrates: 4 kcal (17 kJ) per gram as energy from the proteins. According to US & Canadian Dietary Reference Intake guidelines, women aged 19–70 need to consume 46 grams of protein per day, while men aged 19–70 need to consume 56 grams of protein per day to avoid a deficiency. The generally accepted daily protein dietary allowance, measured as intake per kilogram of body weight, is 0.8 g/kg. However, this recommendation is based on structural requirements, but disregards use of protein for energy metabolism. This requirement is for a normal sedentary person.
They are polymer chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. During human digestion, they are broken down in the stomach to smaller polypeptide chains via hydrochloric acid and protease actions. This is crucial for the synthesis of the essential amino acids that cannot be biosynthesized by the body.
What happens if we don’t get enough protein?
The following symptoms indicate that we have deficiency of proteins:
1. When we find our hair loss going up. Hair falling out in shower.
When we see more hairs coming out when we shower, or just feel that our hair is getting thinner – most likely all over the head rather than in patches or just at the hairline, we have deficiency of proteins. Hair is made up primarily of protein – especially a protein called keratin. But hair is also the least important protein structure in the body, and so when protein intake is low, it is allocated instead to more important functions, such as keeping our immune system active.
2. When our injury takes longer than expected to heal. Factors affecting soft tissue healing.
As and when our body tries to heal a wound, it creates stress hormones and diverts extra resources – including carbohydrates, fats and proteins – to create new tissue. If healing process is taking longer than it should, our body compensates by sending additional protein to deal with the wound and, in the process, deprives other organs of the vital nutrient – leaving the body protein-deficient.
Sufficient intake of proteins ensures early healing. If we are taking longer than expected to heal from an injury, whether it’s a cut, a bruise, a sprain, or something more serious, lack of protein could be a reason.
3. When we do have Low mood or depression more frequently. Feeling down for no reason.
We know that Protein is broken down into amino acids, which are then used to make many vital substances, including neurotransmitters. These natural chemicals are crucial for our brain and nervous system, and some also have a direct effect on our mood. One example is the well-known feel-good chemical serotonin, which is made from the amino acid tryptophan. If we don’t get enough protein, our production of serotonin may be reduced, contributing to our low mood.
4. When Our immune system is weak.
One of the important functions of protein is to maintain a strong immune system for the body. It keeps physical barriers in our body, such as the skin and the mucous membranes, intact in order to keep germs out. It is also used to make antibodies and other immune chemicals that help to fight against invaders and regulate our immune response. When we feel lots of colds or seem susceptible to infections, low protein intake could be a cause. Proteins in our blood are also responsible for keeping enough fluid in the blood vessels, and helping fluid to be drawn back into the blood vessels from the tissues. When protein drops below a certain level, fluid isn’t drawn back into the blood vessels efficiently. Instead, it stays in the tissues, causing swelling, especially in the lower legs, ankles and feet.
5. When we do have Swollen ankles
One of the signs of protein deficiency is swelling or oedema, such as swollen ankles. We need to have sufficient intake of proteins.
To overcome the deficiency of the Proteins, protein deficiency treatment
- We may increase our protein intake with meat, or at least three servings a day of eggs and high-quality dairy foods, being vegetarian. Protein intake coming from beans and pulses, nuts and seeds, as well as vegetables and whole grains, including a broad variety of these plant proteins every day is vital.
- We may try a plant-based protein powder when we do have a low appetite, to struggle to digest protein foods, or are on a weight-loss diet we should have plant-based protein powder as that is easy to digest.
- We may track our protein intake. While recovering from illness, injury or surgery, or if we are highly stressed, we must track our protein intake using any of the helpful tracking tools. We can take medical advice to enhance our proteins.
Dietary sources of protein include both animals and plants: meats, dairy products, fish and eggs as well as grains, legumes and nuts. Protein can be found in a wide range of food. The best combination of protein sources depends on the region of the world, access, cost, amino acid types and nutrition balance, as well as acquired tastes. Some foods are high in certain amino acids, but their digestibility and the anti-nutritional factors present in these foods make them of limited value in human nutrition.
Examples of protein foods
We can get Proteins easily from Meat, dairy products from milk, eggs, soy, and fish. Whole grains and cereals are another source of proteins. We find a concentration greater than 7 percent in buckwheat, oats, rye, millet, maize (corn), rice, wheat, sorghum, amaranth, soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, white beans, mung beans, chickpeas, cowpeas, lima beans, pigeon peas, lupines, wing beans, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts, cotton seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds and quinoa. Vegetarian sources of proteins include legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits. Legumes, some of which are called pulses in certain parts of the world, have higher concentrations of amino acids. We can find out Proteins in roots and tubers such as yams, cassava and sweet potato. Fruits do also provide some amino acids. A good source of protein is often a combination of various foods, because different foods are rich in different amino acids.
What happens if we don’t get enough protein?
If not enough energy is taken in through diet, as in the process of starvation, the body will use protein from the muscle mass to meet its energy needs, leading to muscle wasting over time. If the individual does not consume adequate protein in nutrition, then muscle will also waste as more vital cellular processes (e.g. respiration enzymes, blood cells) recycle muscle protein for their own requirements and we may soon be arrested with serious diseases.
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