All About Proteins...

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Relating to concept map for protein synthesis

Proteins are crucial to the structure and function of all living cells.  They are an organic compound consisting of peptide bonds and amino acids.

Different proteins perform a wide variety of biological functions, such as:
  • Enzymes, catalyzing various chemical reactions
  • Forming structures (like scaffolding) within cells
  • Immune response, helping us to ward off disease and infections
  • Transport and storage of various ligands
  • Regulation of cellular function

Proteins are assimulated through digestion within our stomachs from the foods we take in.  They provide the bodyís building blocks (i.e., amino acids) we need to live and grow.  As humans we cannot internally develop all the amino acids our body calls for, so we need to consume food containing protein to provide us with those lacking amino acids or building blocks. 

concept map for protein synthesisProteins also helps in the repair of cells.  And similar to carbohydrates and fats, they can also act as an energy source for our bodies.

Without the requisite amount of protein we may see such symptoms as:

  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Hormone irregularities
If we eat too much protein, we may get these side-effects:
  • Liver dysfunction due to increased toxic residues
  • Calcium loss, leading to a decrease in bone density
  • Immune system implications
  • Protein in urine
  • Triggering of certain food allergic reactions
  • If caused by eating too much red meat, an increase in saturated fats, pointing to increased weight gain, may be felt.
Good sources of protein include:
  • Animal meats
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Eggs and other dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Whey
  • Seeds
  • Fish and seafood
  • Mushrooms
How much protein a person requires to take in on a daily or weekly basis depends very much on a personís overall fitness level and activity, energy intake, your age and your general state of health.  For example, during childhood, increased protein is demanded for growth and development.  Increased protein may also be neccessary to overcome an illness or a traumatic effect on the body such as after an operation.

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