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Protein FactsProtein 101
Protein, being a broad and complicated subject, must be one of the most misunderstood nutrients. We’ve broken down the basic facts everyone should know about protein. Read on and see if you know these essential information.
Protein builds up and maintains the tissues in our body. For males, the human body consists of up to 55% water whereas, females have up to 60%. Most of the body’s dry weight (the part that is not water), however, is made up of protein. Our organs (including the skin) bone, muscles and even our immune system are all made up mostly of proteins. The protein that we take is converted to molecules that will make up all of these. It also helps repair and replenish muscles and tissues.
Protein can be broken down and converted easily depending on your body’s activity. And since our body does not store protein (like carbohydrates into sugar or fats into lipids) we need to make sure we consume enough protein from our diet everyday. Normally, a person needs one gram of protein per kilogram of their weight. So if a person weighs 100lbs, he will need about 45grams of protein everyday. Failing to consume enough protein will make the tissue building and disease fighting either slower or abnormal.
Proteins are made up for Amino Acids. Protein consists of amino acids and amino acids are made up of various organic compounds such as oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur etc. These organic compounds react and bond with each other to be able to produce the proteins that does a specific jobs. They also sometimes bond with other materials; one example is iron which makes hemoglobin. Hemoglobin then is described as protein that has iron atom.
The body can make most of the amino acids without us even bothering with it. There are about that we need to work on though; these are called essential amino acids. These include:
These are also the reason we need to include protein-rich food in our daily diet.
Some people need more protein than normally required. A very high protein diet is adviced for athletes and body builders. Since athletes train a lot, their bodies break up the proteins they have and use it for energy. Athletes need more protein to keep up with their bodies’ activities. Body builders on, the other hand, need this protein as a foundation for building and replenishing skin and muscles.
Too much protein might be bad for the kidneys. Unlike other nutrients protein cannot be stored in the body. The amino acids that does not convert into protein become calories or energy but for this to happen they need to get rid of the nitrogen atom that originally reacts with the other compounds and this makes nitrogen waste. The body needs an exit point for this nitrogen waste (toxic called “urea”) which happens to be the kidneys. This organ filters out this toxic waste so taking more protein than we need will stress it out and could eventually result to kidney failure.
On the other hand, getting an inadequate amount of protein will definitely harm the body. If the body does not have enough amino acids for the muscles, for example, it might borrow the amino acids for the bones making the bone structure weak or brittle and susceptible to injuries. Other body fuctions that an inadequate protein intake may harm are:
* Bone cell synthesis
* Red blood cell production
* Heart cell turnover rate
* Sense of well-being/stamina
* Immune function/antibodies
* Skin elasticity/muscle tone
* Organ function/pH balance
* Mobility/joint integrity