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Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts often consume whey protein mixed with milk to enhance metabolism and strength. In our bodies, proteins are primarily responsible for the structure of our hair and nails, among other vital functions. Essentially, proteins serve as the foundational building blocks of our body, acting as large and intricate macromolecules or biomolecules that play crucial roles in the regulation and function of our cells, tissues, and organs.

Proteins provide strength to our body and are integral in the production of hormones, enzymes, and various metabolic chemicals. They are essential for the proper functioning and regulation of our body’s cells, tissues, and organs.

Comprising amino acids arranged in specific sequences, proteins’ fundamental building blocks are intricately controlled by DNA. Since our bodies are unable to produce these essential amino acids on their own, it is crucial to include ample protein-rich foods in our daily diet to maintain stable metabolism.


Protein Structure


Generally, there are two main types of protein molecules: fibrous proteins and globular proteins. Fibrous proteins are elongated and insoluble, while globular proteins are compact and soluble. Both fibrous and globular proteins can exhibit one of four types of protein structures: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary.

1. Primary Structure: This refers to the specific sequence of amino acids in a protein. The order in which the amino acids are bonded together is determined by the genetic information stored in genes.

2. Secondary Structure: This is the three-dimensional arrangement of local segments within a protein. Secondary structures are formed by hydrogen bonds between atoms along the backbone of the polypeptide chain.

3. Tertiary Structure: The tertiary structure of a protein is determined by interactions between the R-groups of amino acids. It describes the overall three-dimensional shape of the protein molecule.

4. Quaternary Structure: This structure involves the arrangement of multiple folded protein subunits in a larger multi-subunit complex. Quaternary structure is seen in proteins composed of more than one polypeptide chain.

Protein Synthesis

Translation, the process of protein synthesis, occurs within the cytoplasm of cells. It entails the interpretation of genetic codes, with ribosomes serving as crucial players in converting these codes into polypeptide chains. These chains, forming the basis of functional proteins, undergo specific modifications before achieving their final, active state.


Types of Proteins and Their Functions


While debates persist regarding the optimal intake of carbohydrates and fats for maintaining proper health, doctors consistently recommend a minimum daily intake of proteins. Examples of proteins commonly found in biology include eggs, almonds, chicken, oats, fish and seafood, soy products, beans and pulses, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, broccoli, and quinoa.


Functions of Proteins

  1. Enzymes: Enzymes mostly carry out all numerous chemical reactions which take place within a cell. They also help in regenerating and creating DNA molecules and carry out complex processes.
  2. Hormones: Proteins are involved in the creation of various types of hormones which help in balancing the components of the body. For example hormones like insulin, which helps in regulating blood sugar and secretin. It is also involved in the digestion process and formation of digestive juices.
  3. Antibody: Antibody also known as an immunoglobulin. It is a type of protein which is majorly used by the immune system to repair and heal the body from foreign bacteria. They often work together with other immune cells to identify and separate the antigens from increasing until the white blood cells destroy them completely.
  4. Energy: Proteins are the major source of energy that helps in the movements of our body. It is important to have the right amount of protein in order to convert it into energy. Protein, when consumed in excess amounts, gets used to create fat and becomes part of the fat cells.

Listed below are few functions of Proteins.

AspectFunctions of Proteins in Human BodyExamples
StorageLegume Storage, albumin, and proteins.Supplies food during the early stage of the seedling or embryo.
Hormone SignallingCounterpart activities of different body parts.Glucagon and Insulin.
TransportIt transport substances throughout the body through lump or blood cells.Hemoglobin.
ContractionTo carry out muscle contraction.Myosin.
Digestive EnzymeBreaks down nutrients present in the food into smaller portions so that it can be easily absorbedPepsin, Amylase, and Lipase

Frequently Asked Questions


What is protein and why is it necessary?

Proteins are the building blocks of living beings. Protein is present in every human cell. An amino acid chain forms the basic building block of proteins. For our body to repair damaged cells and create new ones, we need protein in our daily diet. Children, teenagers, and pregnant women all need protein for healthy growth and development.


What is protein deficiency?

When protein consumption is insufficient to meet our body’s needs, we have a protein deficiency. Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people experience inadequate protein intake. Up to 30% of South Asia and Central Africa children have insufficient protein intake, making these regions among the worst affected.


What are the four types of proteins?

Primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structure are the four levels of complexity that can be used to characterise the entire structure of a protein.

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Samuel Barnabas Ifitumi