The role of protein in the body

Proteins are molecules that are made from amino acids. Proteins are coded by the person’s genes and they form the base of all living tissue. They are also responsible for playing a central role in our biological processes. For instance, proteins help catalyse reactions within our bodies, they transport molecules like oxygen, they help to keep people healthy due to the fact they are part of the immune system and proteins also transmit messages between cells.

What does protein do?

Protein has many important functions for the human body. In fact, the body is made up of approximately 45% protein. It is a vital macro molecule and without it our bodies would not be able to regulate, repair or protect themselves.

The composition of protein

Proteins are varied in both their structure and their function. Protein is made up from a set of 20 amino acids and they have distinct three-dimensional shapes.

Proteins are macro molecules that are made up of chains of amino acids. The basic structure of protein is a linear chain of amino acids, but the final structure of protein is not actually linear. The amino acid sequence of protein influences how it folds itself into a three dimensional shape.

Types of proteins

There are various different types of protein found in our bodies. They each serve an important role in our development, growth and everyday functioning.

Antibodies are a types of proteins that are produced by the immune system in order to help fight infections and remove foreign substances.

Enzymes are proteins that help biochemical reactions take place, for instance, the digestive enzyme pepsin helps break down the proteins in food.

Structural proteins provide support, for example, those found in connective tissues, like elastin and collagen.

Contractile proteins are there to assist with muscle contraction and movement.

Hormone proteins can co-ordinate bodily functions, one example of this is insulin, which controls the concentration of blood sugar by regulating glucose.

DNA-associated proteins are there to regulate chromosome structure during the division of cells and also regulate gene expression.

Transport proteins move molecules in the body, for example, hemoglobin is what transports oxygen in blood.

Sources of protein

It is important to eat the right kinds of protein in order to get the best health benefits. Seafood and white poultry, like chicken, are good sources of protein that are also low in fat. Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are also good sources of protein.