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15 Important Protein Functions You Need to Know

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important protein functions: amino structure of proteins
Cartoon illustration of important Protein functions, uses and health benefits!

10 Roles of Protein Rich Food: Why Do We Need Protein in Daily Diet?

Many of us have a perception that protein is important for those only who perform heavy work out or are the athletes; is it true? No, this is merely a myth as protein for sure helps is building muscles, but is also essential for growth, transportation, signaling, catalyzing the chemical reactions within our body, formation of body parts, and repair and replacement of body tissues. Protein is a nutrient which is vital in its benefits, uses, and functions and can’t be ignored. Without protein, you can’t imagine a nutritious plate which contains all the nutrition, essential for making your diet an ideal healthy diet.

Click to Know More: What is Protein? Top 6 Roles of Protein Nutrient in Daily Diet

Let’s know which are those protein functions, uses and health benefits that make proteins a necessary element of our daily diet!

1. Protein Helps Improving Muscle Mass

If you want to improve or maintain your muscle mass, join hands with protein-rich food sources. Proteins support ligaments, tendon and body tissues. A diet lacking protein or amino acids causes muscle atrophy, that is muscle wasting. When our body needs energy and for some reasons, if we get unable to provide the fuel through carbohydrate or fats, the protein stored in our body breaks to fulfill the energy needs. This process breaks down the muscle mass resulting muscle mass reduction.

This is the reason that people who perform heavy workout or exercise in the gym to build muscles are advised to intake ample quantity of proteins. The strength training or such heavy physical activities damage the tissues of muscle for reformation and growing back stronger. Protein helps in not only formation but also in repair and replacement of these tissues. For an effective process of muscle building, recovery, repair, and replacement for gaining strongness and strength in muscles, extra protein helps significantly. Protein food at this time helps in muscle ache treatment as well.

2. Structural Protein Functions: Importance and Uses

Many of our body parts are made widely from proteins. Our hair, eyes, nails, bones and animal feathers, hooves and shells are made of using proteins.

Protein provides specific structures to body cells, giving skin elasticity. It helps body movements and is majorly found the substance of our body, after water. Protein is the fundamental building unit which makes body cells, muscles, arteries, bones and veins.

Proteins help to recover the muscle tears and also replace the retired cells. Other than maintenance of tissues, it gives stiffness and rigidness to our body.

Click to Know More: 10 Structural Protein Benefits in Growth Click to Know More: Child Nutrition: Protein Nutrient Helps in Growth? How?

3. Strengthen the Body Parts

These fibrous ones strengthen some of the body parts such as hair, horns, beaks, feathers and quills.

4. Protein Maintains Blood Sugar Level

Proteins affects the blood sugar level lesser than carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrate shows the most significant effects on blood sugar level so the carbohydrate intake amount should be watched. Especially people who are diabetic, they need to take carbohydrates in controlled and measured amount. Fats also affect the level of blood sugars, but protein is a type of macronutrient which shows a lesser impact on the level of blood sugar in comparison to fats and carbs.

When we follow the rule of consuming about 2500 calories, we get about 100g of proteins. In our daily life, about 50g of protein is required to balance the protein loss. Remaining 50g of protein either can be used as fuel for energy or can become a storage product in the body.

This suggests that as half of the protein intake consumes in compensating the daily protein loss, we get only half of the protein amount to use as glucose. On other hand, the whole portion of sugar forms of carbohydrates is converted to glucose.

So it can be said that protein can affect the blood sugar level just half of the carbohydrates.

This theory is the basis of supporting low carbohydrate and high protein food for weight loss. And this is the theory which makes people advice diabetic patients or weak metabolism owners to prefer protein over carbohydrate.

However, there are no sure shreds of evidence available to prove that the low carbohydrate diets which are high in proteins are helpful in long-term too. The evidence talks about this diet’s immediate or initial effects only, which mean such diet helps in weight loss in the beginning of the journey, but how this philosophy works in long terms, no research states about this.

A study tells that diabetic patient who followed a diet with 40:30:30 ratio of carbohydrate to protein to fat showed 40 percent lower level of blood sugar than those who followed a diet with ratio 55:15:30.

The study shows that protein affects much lesser, almost neutral effects on blood sugar levels in comparison to carbohydrate and even fats. Protein does not cause a rise in blood sugar level, if consumed alone, keeping it steady.

5. Proteins Save from Mood Swings

Some amino acids that contribute to making protein structures help to balance hormones, controlling anxiety and mood swings as a natural remedy. Protein not only helps in maintaining a steady blood sugar level but also contributes to neurotransmitters functions and process of synthesizing hormones like serotonin and dopamine which keep us calm and positive.

Proteins keep problems like weakness, anxiety, moodiness, unstable glucose level, mood changes, cravings, irritation and fluctuating blood sugar levels at bay.

6. Protein Helps in Weight Management

Protein can be a splendid hero for any weight loss journey. When we eat protein-rich food or diet with ample amount of protein, it makes you feel fuller and saves from overeating.

Many people follow a weight loss strategy in which they intake controlled calorie with additionally added high protein foods. This helps to lose weight practically. Know below how!

Refined or sugary carbohydrate sourced like fried food items and sweets easily tempt anyone and play villain ruining your diet and weight goals. But you feel satiated and satisfied after taking protein and stop craving for food.

When low-calorie diet leads you towards muscle loss, protein wards and proves itself as a superhero for weight loss.

Click to Know More: Is It Okay to Take Protein as Source Of Energy?

7. Protein Supports Brain Functions and Learning Capabilities

Amino acids play a vital role in learning and cognitive functions through contributing to processes and formation of hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. Proteins support in coordination and concentration skills.

8. High Protein Benefits in Heart Health

Protein rich food intake decreases the risk of heart-related problems in adults through its properties of helping with high blood pressure issues. The preference given to high protein diet over high carbohydrate food lowers bad cholesterol and levels of triglyceride. As proteins help in maintaining the balance of blood sugar and play the direct and indirect roles helping in diabetes and obesity which are one of the prime causes of heart diseases, protein prevents heart-related problems.

9. Protein as Antibodies: Protect Your Body from Viruses & Bacteria

Antibodies are proteins that protect our body by binding with foreign invaders or antigens such as bacteria and viruses. Antibodies move with the bloodstream and help our immune system to recognize the foreign intruders. Antibodies immobilize the antigens so that the white blood cells can destroy them and defend our body.

10. Contributes to Make Strong Bones

The most important role that protein plays, is increasing the integrity of system, organs, and bones at all your life stages and age. Too much protein affects too low in comparison to deficiency of protein in the diet and thus the body.

Low protein results in low mineral density in bones and increases the risk of bone fractures, especially on older ages. Protein deficiency is detrimental also for gaining adequate bone mass in childhood. Where it is important for kids in acquiring healthy bones, adults need protein for maintenance of bones.

The studies on the relationship of protein and bone health show contradictory results. So to understand the facts, you need to understand their chemistry deeper to know whether protein is beneficial or harmful for bones.

Some studies say that high proteins cause body losing calcium and this calcium excretion adversely affects the bones. Other studies say that proteins increase the absorption of intestinal calcium. Other than this, high protein diets heal broken bones and also prevent fractures, bone weakness, and osteoporosis through supporting the functions of bone metabolism. This way, the advantages of protein-rich food offset the loss of calcium.

11. Protein Promotes Slow Aging, Leading You towards Longivity

Protein plays a vital role in synthesizing the master antioxidant- glutathione. This antioxidant glutathione remains stored in our cells and helps to detox. It also reduces carcinogens which cause aging. Protein helps in maintenance of glutathione and keeps our body in homeostasis, that is the balanced state.

Avoiding protein can become a reason of glutathione deficiency and lead to oxidative stress. Avoiding protein in long term can cause age-related diseases and disorders like Alzheimer and Parkinson. Lack of protein can also redirect your body towards liver-related problems, sicle sanemia, viral infections, cystic fibrosis, eye problems such as cataracts and cancer.

What shows that we are aging is mainly our body and muscles which appears like decaying due to tissue loss. A balanced diet which incorporates protein in sufficient amount fulfills the need of amino acids, preventing of muscle loss by keeping muscles intact. It also maintains immune functions, high cognitive mechanisms and supports strong bones.

As we age, the capability of our body to synthesize amino acids decreases so the importance of eating plenty of protein resources mounts to keep the balance, strength, body weight, memory, and energy level in place.

12. Role of Protein Hormone in Signaling

The glands in various parts of our body produce hormones that are basically chemicals. Some hormones are made or produced using combinations of some amino acids, which are classified as protein hormones. Our pituitary gland produces growth hormone and pancreas produces insulin. They come under the category of protein hormones. These hormones are important to our body and the lack of protein or other related affecting factors can make us lead to serious medical conditions, such as it can cause one face growth disorder or disease like diabetes.

The endocrine system remains connected to the glands and body organs producing hormones. They maintain a network between them. This communication controls various parts of our body. Protein hormones transfer the signals between the cells of the endocrine system and other parts of our body. Their cellular signaling activity and ability to induce the metabolic reactions makes them important as they can increase or decrease them. For example, they can affect the protein synthesis mechanism.

13. Speed-up Your Body Reactions with Protein (Enzymes) Rich Diet

Although most enzymes are proteins, yet all the enzymes are not protein based such as ribozymes. Enzymes or biologically active molecules of proteins possess a small amount in our body and are produced by our organisms.

These are active catalysts that participate in the chemical reactions of our body. They are not consumed, destroyed or transformed during the reactions, and they also cannot make a reaction happen, but they catalyze or speed up the biochemical activities of the cells. They affect the mechanisms such as the reaction of cellular communication, energy production, clotting of blood, and others.

Such two enzymes are pepsin and lactase. Pepsin reacts in the stomach as a digestive enzyme for breaking the proteins molecules in food.

Protein enzymes are important for thousands of biochemical reactions that happen in our body cells. Enzymes lower down the activation energy of any reaction and make them happen million times faster, playing an amazing role of a catalyst. These enzymes bring the substrates near the specific substrate and bind them together to let the reaction happen.

Thus proteins of cell membranes contribute to various enzymatic activities.

14. Membrane Protein as Supporter Element for Cellular Membranes

Those proteins which reside in plasma membrane helps to build cells' interaction with the surrounding environment. The carry out some diverse, vital functions like receiving signals of chemicals from outside of cells, transporting nutrients across the membrane, translation of chemical signals into for executing the intracellular actions and cell anchoring in varying body locations.

Proteins like glycoproteins are an important element of membranes. Proteins give support to our cells and help the parts to move.

Membranes are thin sheet-like structures that act as partition, lining, boundary or surface for any organ. Proteins are found on these membranes’ surface or both sides or buried inside in any portion of it called domain.

Proteins that get extracellular domains which exist outside the cells behave communicators who involve in the cell to cell interaction. Mainly proteins reside inside the membrane and helps to form the channels making pores for molecules that are surpassed to cross the membrane.

Proteins that get cytosolic domains which exist inside the membrane involves a wide range of functions. They take part in intracellular signaling activities.

15. Protein Supports Blood Functions

Proteins not only contribute in formation of blood cells, but also help these blood cells in many functions like transportation of oxygen, balancing pH, defense, distribution of water and clotting.

Protein uses in red blood cells make this nutrient crucial element of body functions.

Click to Know More: 5 Blood Functions Depending on Protein

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