With the name proteins, molecules formed by amino acids are known, which are united by a type of bond known as peptide bonds. For example fibrin, and elastin, actin, insulin.
Proteins make up about half of the dry weight of tissues (and 20% of people’s body weight), and there is no biological process that does not include them.
The composition of these molecules is carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. The order and arrangement of the amino acids within the protein depend on the person’s genetic code, that is, the DNA.
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Functions of Proteins
Proteins have a function that is essential For growth and is fundamentally motivated by the nitrogen content that is not present in any of the other molecules that are incorporated through food: Carbohydrates and fats.
Unlike these two, proteins do not have an energy reserve function, but they do have a fundamental role in the synthesis and maintenance of some tissues or components of the body such as gastric juices, hemoglobin, vitamins, and some enzymes. Similarly, they help transport various gases within the blood, and function as shock absorbers.
Among the functions of proteins, on the other hand, is that of providing the essential amino acids fundamental for tissue synthesis, and also acting as biological catalysts accelerating the rate of chemical reactions of metabolism. Finally, it can be said that proteins act with defense mechanisms since antibodies are natural defense proteins against infections or foreign agents.
Properties of Protei
Regarding the properties of proteins, it can be said that stability is the most important because proteins must be stable in the medium in which they are stored or in which they perform their function, in order to extend their life as much as possible. preventing setbacks from occurring in the body.
On the other hand, proteins have a temperature and a pH to maintain in order to guarantee that stability, which is why the second fundamental property is said to be that of solubility.
Some other minor properties such as specificity, pH buffering, or electrolytic capacity are also typical of this class of molecules.
The most usual classification of proteins is made according to their chemical structure, among simple proteins that only produce amino acids when hydrolyzed; albumins and globulins that are soluble in water and dilute solutions; the glutelins and prolamins that are soluble in acids; albuminoids which are insoluble in water; conjugated proteins that contain non-protein parts and derived proteins that are products of hydrolysis.
Importance of Protein in the diet
The main source of protein in the body is the diet. The importance of including protein in the diet has a special emphasis on children who are growing as well as pregnant women, who need the production of new cells.
When people eat fruits, vegetables or meats, they usually incorporate a large amount of protein through the process known as protein digestion, which involves breaking down the product into simple amino acids, and then assembling them into proteins for the body. in a process called protein synthesis. Only after that are they incorporated into the body.
Examples of Proteins
|Antibodies (or immunoglobulins)
Read also: Digestive enzymes
Sources of Proteins