All about Protein!!
Proteins are the important nutrient required for the body and one of the elementary units of body tissue. Also, they can sometimes work as fuel for the body by providing as much energy density as carbohydrates. In a study conducted on some young and healthy men who were weight training, it was found that taking a protein supplement increased the muscle mass and strength twice as much as the placebo.
Proteins in the Body
Proteins are one of the macronutrient. They not only provide your body sufficient energy but also perform many more functions that you might not know. Your body is filled with many numbers of different proteins, each with a unique function. Nitrogen-containing molecules called amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
Some of the major functions of protein in your body:
- Some proteins are enzymes.
- Some proteins are hormones.
- Some proteins are antibodies.
- Proteins maintain fluid balance.
- Proteins transport nutrients and other compounds.
- Proteins maintain acid-base balance.
- Protein is a backup source of energy.
Talking about the digestion of protein, one should know that protein digestion is not as simple as you might think. A large protein molecule has to undergo certain steps before becoming amino acids. Let’s see how it happens.
With the action of Pepsin the Protein digestion begins in the stomach. It is the active protein-digesting enzyme in the stomach. The bonds that hold the protein molecules together, the peptide bond breaks when pepsin acts on the protein molecule. So pepsin can be called an enzyme that breaks peptide bonds. After this breakage of bonds, you get chains of amino acids linked together called polypeptides. Then these polypeptides move into your small intestine where other enzymes are added to complete digestion. At this point, the cells of your small intestine carry the single amino acids to your bloodstream and then on to the cells throughout your whole body.
The regulation of the protein digestion throughout your body is through hormones and nerve signals. Gastrin stimulates your stomach cells to produce acid, while secret in stimulates the cells in your pancreas to secrete both bicarbonate and digestive enzymes. Cholecystokinin is a third hormone helping in protein digestion, which in addition directs your pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes. Your nervous system supports in protein digestion by responding to the physical presence of food in your digestive tract. What helps move food through the different organs of your gut is the stimulation of nerves in this area.