Protein is one of the crucial elements in keeping our body strong. Protein comes from the Greek word ‘proteos’, meaning primary. So, no further explanation is needed to understand how valuable they are. 

Let us delve deeper into the topic to learn more about its structure, functions and significance to keep our bodies healthier.  

Defining Proteins

A protein is a large and complex molecule made of one or more chains of amino acids. Proteins are essential for the structure, function, and regulation of cells, tissues, and organs in living beings. They play a wide variety of critical roles in the body. 

Proteins are made of smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are organic compounds that contain four key elements: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and nitrogen (N). Some amino acids also contain sulphur (S). There are 20 different naturally occurring amino acids found in proteins. These amino acids differ in their side chains, which give them distinct chemical properties.

The Structure of a Protein

The structure of a protein is determined by the specific sequence of amino acids it contains, known as the primary structure. This sequence is encoded in the organism’s DNA and is transcribed and translated during protein synthesis. The occurrence of amino acids in a protein chain dictates how the chain will fold into a three-dimensional shape, which is crucial for its function.

The primary structure of a protein is stabilized and folded into a more complex form as mentioned below.

  1. Secondary Structure: The primary structure can fold into regular patterns known as secondary structures, such as alpha helices and beta sheets. These structures stabilize by hydrogen bonds between amino acids in the protein chain.
  2. Tertiary Structure: The overall three-dimensional arrangement of a protein, including the folding of secondary structures, is referred to as its tertiary structure. This structure stabilizes by varied bonds and interactions, including hydrogen bonds, disulfide bridges, ionic bonds, and hydrophobic interactions.
  3. Quaternary Structure: Some proteins are composed of multiple individual polypeptide chains, and their final structure is called quaternary structure. These chains may interact with each other to form a functional protein complex.

The Important Functions of Proteins in the Body

Proteins play numerous functions in the human body due to their diverse structures and roles. Some of the crucial functions carried out by proteins are as follows.

  1. Proteins serve as enzymes, which are biological catalysts that speed up chemical reactions. Enzymes are involved in digestion (e.g., amylase, pepsin), energy production (e.g., ATP synthase), and DNA replication (e.g., DNA polymerase). Enzymes in metabolic pathways regulate the breakdown and synthesis of molecules like carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.
  2. Proteins provide structural support to cells and tissues. For example, collagen is a protein that forms the structural framework of connective tissues like skin, tendons, and cartilage.
  3. Several proteins act as carriers, facilitating the transport of molecules and ions across cell membranes or in the bloodstream. Haemoglobin transports oxygen in red blood cells.
  4. Antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins, are proteins that play a crucial role in the immune system by recognizing and neutralizing pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
  5. Proteins like insulin and growth hormones function as hormones, regulating various physiological processes and coordinating activities in the body.
  6. Proteins are involved in cell signalling pathways, transmitting signals from the cell’s surface to the nucleus, where they can influence gene expression and cellular responses.
  7. Proteins like fibrinogen and thrombin are essential for blood clotting and prevent excessive bleeding when blood vessels are damaged.
  8. Proteins can serve as a source of amino acids when the body needs them for energy or to build new proteins.

Final Takeaway

The diversity of proteins and their roles is essential for maintaining the structure, function, and regulation of cells, tissues, and organs, making them fundamental to life processes.

Proteins can be obtained from both plant-based and animal-based sources. You can consume lean meat, fish, kinds of seafood, eggs, dairy products, legumes, tofu, seeds and nuts, green vegetables, etc. 

To add more strength to your body, try our best GULA health supplements. Discover Doctor GULA today and make way to your better health.

Select your currency
TRY Türk lirası