Proteins are essential to the human body and are described as the building blocks for all functions. These macronutrients are involved in various vital bodily processes, including growth, protection, balance, structure, transport, and more.
Depending on the composition of the protein, it will contribute to these various functions non-stop daily. Amino acids will form the basis of the protein chains, and each component could change where the proteins will be utilized. Thus, it is crucial for the body to have a healthy balance of the various amino acids to keep the body in homeostasis. These essential amino acids can be obtained through food intake.
To gain a better understanding, it’s crucial to read more about how proteins work in the human body. That said, below is a simplified guide that discusses a few of the multitude of functions of proteins in the human body:
Cell And Tissue Maintenance And Growth
As mentioned, proteins are considered building blocks of life. This is because proteins are essential for cell and tissue growth as proteins form the basis of most cell structures and help to maintain these structures.
As humans consume food rich in protein, the necessary dietary protein is obtained to supply amino acids. The amino acids are taken into the bloodstream and will form the cells and tissues the body needs to perform all the necessary functions.
Contributes To Enzyme Function
Enzymes have varying functions inside and outside the body’s cells, but they need protein to complete the biochemical reaction to function optimally. Furthermore, the body needs these enzymes for digestion and energy production, which are essential for primary bodily functions.
Enzymes are effective biological catalysts that improve the specificity of the body’s reactions. People who don’t consume enough protein in their diet have the risk of impairing enzyme function and could suffer from different illnesses related to the deficiency.
Supports Proper Immune Function
One of the functions of protein in the human body is supporting the body’s proper immune function. When a foreign body, like a virus, enters the bloodstream, it signals the immune system to send specialized proteins called antibodies to destroy it. The antibody protein engulfs the virus or bacteria before eliminating it and preventing it from multiplying and making the host body ill.
Enhances Energy Levels
Although the body will primarily use carbohydrates to supply the body with enough energy, it could also, in some cases, like while fasting, break down proteins as an additional source of energy. However, protein won’t meet high demands for energy. Therefore, a balanced diet at regular intervals is crucial in assisting the body in correctly maintaining these levels.
Act As Hormonal Signalers
Chemical messages are sent all over the body to regulate and maintain homeostasis. Without these hormones, the individual could struggle with problems like blood sugar issues, thyroid, adrenal, or even mood instabilities. Neurotransmitters in the brain that allow for the flow of information between nerve cells also rely on proteins to complete this vital function.
Assists With Maintaining The pH Balance
Proteins play a significant role in maintaining body fluids’ pH balance or acidity. One of the best examples is the red blood cells, made up of protein, that bind to the extra acids in the bloodstream and carry them to the kidneys to be expelled from the body through our urine.
Preserves The Osmotic Balance
Because proteins are involved in keeping so many bodily functions intact, it naturally plays a part in maintaining the fluid balance in the body’s cells. The primary proteins involved in this process are called globulin and albumin. They prevent fluid loss from the blood vessels, upholding the hydrostatic pressure.
Provides Structure And Movement
The fibrous qualities of some proteins make them the perfect substances to strengthen human body cell walls. Moreover, some cells could be more robust than others due to these proteins, like the keratin in nails and hair, while others are more elastic, like collagen and elastin in the skin and joints. Thus, these proteins are expected to have a protective function, making the cells more durable.
Transports Essential Nutrients
Transport proteins, also known as transmembrane proteins, assist different substances, like sodium, potassium, and glucose, to move across the cell membranes in the body. They are contained within cell membranes and form a channel that allows the substances to enter or move out of the cell. Without this function, enzymes, hormones, and other vital materials won’t be able to move around in the body and find their target location.
Proteins are more than building blocks and transporters and hardly play an insignificant role. Most bodily functions rely on these macronutrients to effectively assist with adequately functioning and maintaining delicate balances. Whether breaking down proteins people consume through food or building new, more helpful protein compounds after digestion, the human body cannot function without these vitally essential proteins.
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