Protein: The 5-in-1 macro molecule

By: Jackson Davis

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What is protein?

Protein is a macro molecule that is composed of chains of amino acids. Protein has many roles in the body and of the macro molecules is the most important. Many things are made of proteins. Protein is used in the brain and nerves, enzymes, blood, hair and nails, muscles, cellular messaging, antibodies, and cellular construction. Proteins are made of amino acids which are composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and occasionally sulfur. Protein is a polymer of amino acids and amino acids are a monomer of proteins.

What makes protein so great?

Protein is the most important macro molecule because it has so many different jobs in the human body. Nearly every action in the human body uses proteins of some sort. Proteins let our bodies grow, they pass on genetic information, without them we humans would not be able to exist. Protein therefore is the most essential macro molecule in our bodies.

What does protein do for us?

Protein has eight major functions. Your hair and nails are made of a protein called alpha-keratin. It is the protein for not just human hair and nails but for other animals as well. Protein is also used in muscle movement. There are two proteins in said muscle movement, they are actin and myosin. Blood carries oxygen throughout the body. The protein in blood that stores this oxygen is called hemoglobin. Your immune system uses antibodies to fight viruses and bacteria, antibodies are a protein. The nervous system and brain are heavily reliant on proteins as well. Ion channel proteins let molecules go to and from nerve cells which results in brain signaling. Cells use protein to communicate by having receptor proteins on the outside of the cells which send signals to the receiving proteins on the inside of the cell. Enzymes are proteins. Enzymes help to digest food through your saliva, stomach, and small intestines. Lastly, groups of proteins form "molecular machines". These groups do many big jobs for cells like genetic copying during cell division and the creation of other proteins.

What are the health benefits?

The health benefits of having a high protein intake are nearly endless. Because protein repairs tissue, having a good protein rich diet along with working out can help to build muscle more quickly than if you have a low protein diet along with exercise. Another reason you need protein is that there are certain amino acids that are not naturally produced by the body. These amino acids must be supplied to the body through your diet.

Citations

Feature, Neil OsterweilWebMD. "The Benefits of Protein." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.


"Protein Health Benefits, Deficiency, Sources of Protien." Protein Health Benefits, Deficiency, Sources of Protien. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.