What are Proteins?

In this article your will get a detailed answer to the question "What are Proteins?".

Water is the first most abundant component of our body and proteins is the second after component of the body. It is present in nearly all parts of body such tissues, skin and body fluids but mostly in muscles.

There are a huge number of various explicit proteins in the body, each having an unique structure and function. Therefore, the word protein suggests not one but rather a huge gathering of complex compounds. Proteins are available in every living tissue, both plant and animal. They are fundamental to life in light of the fact that essential parts of the nucleus and protoplasts of each cell are proteins.

Composition of protein:
Proteins are huge organic compounds. Proteins, similar to carbohydrates and fats, contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. What's more, proteins contain around 16 percent nitrogen, which is their unique element and recognizes them from carbohydrates and fats. Some proteins also have sulfur and phosphorus, iron and cobalt. Proteins are more complex than fats and carbohydrates, as the size of the particle is enormous and there is an extraordinary variety in the units from which it is shaped. Plants are the essential sources of proteins in nature. Proteins are synthesized by the plants from the nitrates and ammonia in the soil. Herbivorous animals use plant proteins to meet their protein needs. 

Man utilizes plant foods as well as animals foods (milk and meat) to meet his protein needs. Nitrogen is come back to the soil through degradation of results of animal metabolism, discharge of nitrogen compounds in urine and excrement, and decomposition of animals body after death, to complete the regular nitrogen cycle.

Proteins are built from the basic units known as amino acids. The amino acids join together forming proteins.The work of every type of Protein is structural dependent. The function of the protein depends on its structure.Generally the appearance and structure of proteins can be divided into two kinds fibrous and globular. 

What are Proteins Functions:

Proteins is responsible for many functions in the body. Proteins can be used for hormones,energy,enzymes, muscles and structure of organs. Proteins are composed of long chains of amino acids. There are 20 types of Proteins having simple and complex structures.

The essential function of proteins is tissue building. Proteins are the primary solid matter in the muscles, they are likewise the significant constituents of blood, matrix of bones, teeth, skin, nails and hair. Our body, which comprises of around 60% water and 19% percent fat is held together by just 17% proteins and 4% minerals. 

The Mian functions of proteins in the body are explained below in detail

Building of New Tissues: Protein is a fundamental part of each cell. We can't synthesize protein from simple nitrogen compounds as plants do. Accordingly amino acids must be provided in the diet for building new tissues. Proteins give the amino acids expected for the formation of new cells. They additionally give the material from which nucleic acids are framed, e.g., DNA and RNA, which convey the genetic code. The quantity required at different phases of life shifts with the rate of growth. Infants need a greater number of proteins per unit of body weight than adolescents, in light of the fact that the rate of growth is the most elevated during infancy. More protein is required in the last stage of pregnancy when contrasted with the initial part. There might be a need to supply additional protein, to remake tissues after their destruction or loss. The misfortune may happen in any of the accompanying ways. The destruction may occur in due to Excessive menstruation, Blood donation, loss of tissues due to burns etc.

Regulatory Functions: Hemoglobin is a protein and iron complex, guarantees the smooth running of respiratory cycle by being the fundamental oxygen carrier in the red blood cells. Proteins in fluids, for example, blood help to direct body functions. Plasma proteins add to osmotic pressure and subsequently apply a significant effect on the exchange of water tissue cells and the encompassing fluids and on the water balance of whole body. The amphoteric nature of proteins is valuable in keeping up acid base balance of blood and tissues. Their amphoteric nature further makes them perfect carriers of nutrients across cell membranes. The blood proteins (hemoglobin and xyhaemoglobin) join with the carbon dioxide shaped in cellular metabolism and discharge it in the expired air. The metabolic products which are acidic or basic combine with protein and are carried through the system without influencing the tissue pH exorbitantly.

Proteins as Precursors: A small quantity of Protein is required for producing enzymes, hormones and antibodies. All enzymes are proteins and are basically catalysts in digestion and metabolic processes in the tissues. Hormones, released by different glands are proteins in nature. Hormones maintain and coordinate body processes and activities. Hormones are chemical messengers, produces within the body. Hormones are responsible for regulating all the functions of the body. Some hormones are insulin, thyroxine, steroid hormones, growth hormones, etc. Proteins produces antibodies and special white blood cells that maintain immune system.

Maintenance of tissues: The requirement for protein to keep up and fix the old tissues proceeds throughout life. Proteins in the body tissues are not static; they are continually being broken down and replaced by new protein synthesized from amino acids from dietary and tissue sources. For instance, the lining of the intestinal tract is replaced everyday, the protein in the liver and blood plasma is broken down and renewed every six days, blood cells have a life length of 120 days and satisfactory substitution must be provided to avoid anaemia. So there is a consistent requirement for protein to accommodate the maintenance of tissues previously built.

Nutrients Transport: Because of amphoteric nature of proteins, they are good carriers of nutrients across cell membranes. Some Special protein carriers ensure transport of many vitamins and minerals.

Other common functions of proteins are Milk Formation and Energy Supply.

Types of proteins:

Simple Proteins: Simple proteins includes globulins, glutelins, Albumins, prolamins and albuminoids. Albumins and globulins are soluble in water and are present in blood of animals, milk and plasma of animals.

Complex Proteins: The complex proteins are formed when simple protiens combines together with non proteins substances.
  • Nucleoproteins (proteins + nucleic acids) found in cells.
  • Mucoproteins and glycoproteins (proteins + polysaccharides) found in gastric secretion.
  • Phosphoproteins (proteins + phosphoric acid) are found in milk.
  • Metalloproteins (proteins + metals) are found in ferritin, hemosidirin.
  • Lipoproteins (proteins + lipids) found in blood plasma.
  • Derived proteins are proteoses, peptones and peptides formed in the various stages of protein metabolism.
Let Have look at types of proteins and their functions:
  • Fibrous protein is also called structural proteins and are the main building material of the body. Fibrous protein are keratin,collagen and contractile proteins of muscles. 
  • Collagen Protein is responsible for holding the muscles and bond together.
  • Keratin Protein is found in skin prohibit evaporation of water from body tissues and remove microorganism out of body.
  • As the name indicate that Contractile proteins of muscles allow muscles to contract.
  • Globular proteins are packed together and spherical in shape. Globular proteins have many different functions. Globular proteins include human growth hormone which control the growth of body. Another type of Globular proteins is called enzymes, it work as a catalyst (increase the rate of chemical reactions in body). Globular proteins are soluble proteins and found in tissue fluids of body. Globular proteins include: egg albumin, hemoglobin, casein, albumins and globulins of blood plasma.

How and why Protein Deficiency occurs?
There are eight types of amino acids known as essential amino acids, which human beings cannot make. These essential amino acids are lysine, leucine, histadine, tryptophan, methionine, valine,isoleucine and threonine. As human cannot make these amino acids, so they must be ingest in the diet. If amino acid are not supplied then proteins cannot be produced resulting in deficiency of protein. Protein deficiency in childhood affect mental and physical development. Protein deficiency occurring in Youngsters cause many problems, such as problems in fighting infections, bleeding in joints, digestive tract problems and too early aging.

How Protein Balance is calculated or What is nitrogen balance?

The nutritional status of a person can be determine by evaluating the quantity of proteins in the body and is called nitrogen balance. The nitrogen balance is estimated on the basis of production and breakdown of proteins. For health person the production of proteins is equal to the breakdown of proteins and his nutritional status is sad to be neutral nitrogen balance. If the production of proteins exceeds breakdown of proteins, this nutritional status is called positive nitrogen balance (when a person has appropriate amino acid resources for proteins production). If a person’s proteins production is less than the breakdown,the person is in negative nitrogen balance. Negative nitrogen balance is not good for your health and that person needs protein's supplements and amino acids to get positive or neutral nitrogen balance.

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