So, what are the building blocks of protein? Well to put it simply, an amino acid is the basic building block of a protein. But there is much more to it than that and this article will cover all you need to know. So, let’s get started with it shall we?
Large protein molecules are formed by the proteins you eat and the proteins already within your body. Now within the proteins you eat, there are 20 different amino acids. It is important to understand the structure of amino acids, as this will help you understand just how critical they are to your diet.
There are many ways in which amino acids mix. We won’t go into all of them as this will take a lot more than one post, but you will understand enough how they work within proteins. Some of the basic functions of protein are; provision of cell structure, sending chemical signals around the body and increase efficiency of chemical reactions.
About the 20 amino acids in proteins
There is a similar basic structure that is followed within the 20 amino acids, despite there being slight differences between them. Each amino acid contains a carbon atom which is in the center of the molecule. Surrounding this atom, are three chemical groups. Now for all amino acids, two of the three chemical groups surrounding the carbon atom are; carboxyl group and an amino group.
But the third chemical that surrounds the carbon atom is what differentiates all aminos from each other. This chemical is called the “R Group” and the complexity of this group can vary. The differences in the R group drastically affects how amino acids interact within a protein.
Cells in the human body has an ability to creatine new proteins as and when the body needs them. Your DNA (genes) provide a kind of chemical blueprint to which the protein manufacturing process, within your cells follows regarding the order in which amino acids need to be.
Function of protein in the body?
Protein is important to the human body, so it’s good to understand the facts on protein and how it works. Almost our entire structure is made up of proteins, from hair to nails, so the shape of proteins will impact on its ultimate function.
When the proteins you eat are digested, amino acids are released. These amino acids are then added to amino acids already in the body one by one. The result of this addition between amino acids is a growing chain of these molecules. Once the necessary aminos have been added, the new protein chain that has developed will be folded into a very specific shape. The chemical nature of each individual amino acid and the order in which they have been assembled, will determine this specific shape of the protein.
Proteins also provide structure to your muscles, organs, hair and skin. They do this by working as immune molecules, hormones, cellular messengers and enzymes. What is also great about proteins, is they support the circulatory system and help with nerve impulse transmissions.
Facts on proteins
Here I will discuss a little more about protein facts, but there are some that ask is too much protein bad for you? I will say this depends. When you are bodybuilding for example or are following a bodybuilding diet plan for mass, your protein intake will be significantly higher than the average person. However, excessive amounts (outside of what you require) can be harmful. One of the side effects most bodybuilders suffer from or have suffered from is constipation. That is why keeping your fibre intake up when on a high protein diet.
Proteins are complex substances and their make up of varying combinations of nitrogen containing amino acids is important to our bodies. We need proteins more than we think. Not just for bodybuilding but for overall cellular functionality.
The foods we consume that are protein sources, such as poultry, red meats, fish, dairy products, eggs…etc is broken down during the digestive process and converted into amino acids. Once the proteins are broken down into amino acids, they are absorbed into the blood.
While the body can make its own protein building blocks out of whatever aminos are in the body already, they do need more. These aminos that they require are only available in the foods we consume. These are important to the proper function and cell makeup of the body.
The 8 amino acids that the body cannot synthesis are listed below;
- Methionine (which becomes cystine)
- Phenylalanine (which becomes tyrosine)
Building blocks of protein conclusion
So, there you have it. Well as best as I can explain it to you. Proteins are very important to us and ignoring this will not do us any good. How much protein a day will depend on what you are doing? If you are a bodybuilder, you will need to increase your protein intake. With that said, lean protein is always the first choice for bodybuilders. With as little fat as possible.
While the explanation of the building blocks of proteins is best explained in scientific terms, I hope I have tried to make it a little clearer to you. The scientific aspect of most things is what puts people off. We aren’t all scientists and trying to comprehend the meaning of each word, let alone sentence is enough to put us off.
My aim with this article has been to hopefully let you walk away with a better understanding of what the building blocks are of protein and why they are required. If I have not done a good job, please feel free to leave a comment and I will gladly review this article and change it to a easier explanation. If you like it, please like and share it with your friends and family. Perhaps they might find it useful as well. Thank you for reading it.