Everyone knows that it is important to have a balanced diet in order to stay healthy; and part of having a healthy diet is eating enough organic protein. Protein is a vital macronutrient which is used by the body in many different ways to support important functions. Without it, we would encounter serious health problems. Proteins are made up of different molecules called amino acids. These are classified as either essential (we need to obtain them from our diet) or non-essential (made by the body naturally).
There are different types of protein in the body, and all of them have specific bodily functions and processes which they support.
Protein forms an integral part of the body’s immune system in the form of antibodies. Antibodies are our defense systems, created in white blood cells and attacking any viruses, bacteria or other infections which are affecting our body’s normal functions.
These proteins support the structure of the body, keeping skin, tendons and muscles working properly. The most common fibrous proteins in the body are elastin, collagen and keratin. Elastin is the protein that keeps our skin healthy and firm, while allowing the necessary flexibility to move where required. As you get older, the amount of elastin in the body decreases which is why we get wrinkles. Collagen also helps keep our skin healthy, as well as being found in cartilage, tendons and muscles, while keratin is the protein found in our nails and hair.
As the name suggests, transporter are the types of the protein responsible for moving essential molecules and chemicals around the body. Hemoglobin and myoglobin are two examples of transporter proteins. Hemoglobin takes oxygen around the body from the lungs and myoglobin takes that oxygen and transfers it to the muscles, keeping cells healthy and working well.
Proteins in the Heart
The contractile proteins actin and myosin have a very specific and essential function in the body; they control the contractions of the heart muscles, which keep blood pumping around our bodies. Any problems with how the body synthesizes these types of protein can lead to serious heart complications.
Enzyme proteins are connected to the body’s metabolic system; everything from blood clotting to digesting food needs enzymes to work properly. They work by increasing the speed of chemical reactions, and there are lots of enzymes in the body working on different processes. In digestion alone, there are enzymes such as lipase which convert fats called lipids into glycerol and fatty acids the body can use for energy, amylase which turns starch into sugars and protease, which actually converts the proteins we eat into the essential amino acids we need for all the other bodily functions.
Not many people know that hormones are proteins too. Most people think of estrogen and testosterone when they think of hormones, which are vital to both male and female’s reproductive systems, but there are actually lots of different hormones in the body which have their own specific job. Hormones are secreted by the endocrine gland and are used to carry important signals to target cells to help them do their job; target cells in the body are designed to receive these messages and to act on them accordingly. Other examples of hormones include insulin which helps regulate the amount of sugar in your body.
Receptor proteins are actually very important for the work of hormones; it is these receptor proteins that allow cells to receive messages from hormones about what functions they should carry out. There are other types of protein that have a simpler function too, allowing cells to take in essential nutrients.
As the name suggests, these types of protein are important in the storage of essential nutrients and chemicals in the body for use at a later time. Examples include ferritin which helps control the amount of iron in your system and casein, found in breast milk, which is important for newborn babies, with regard to nutrition and the ability to fight off infection.