What are proteins?
Proteins are big molecules consisting of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. These atoms are not randomly involved in the protein molecules, but they are part of other more basic molecules called amino acids. Amino acids are basic structural units of all the protein chain that are orderly bound through peptide bonds. Proteins are about 50% of tissue dry extract.
How do proteins work?
They are naturally in any alive organism, no matter the natural kingdom it belongs to. So let’s say that life would not be possible without proteins. Their main functions in the human body are:
Enhance growth. Fat and carbohydrates cannot do so, as they lack of nitrogen.
Provide essential amino acids. Some amino acids cannot be synthesised by the human body and are needed for plenty of biological functions.
Biological catalysts. They guarantee the viability of the chemical reactions in the body, enzymatic functions.
Blood gas transport, a hemoglobin function.
Intervene in the immune mechanisms as antibodies.
Contribute to muscle activity through contractile muscle fibres based on myosin and actin molecules.
Structural function like collagen, the main protein of the connective tissue.
Provide the organism with 4 kcal per protein gramme.
Chemical and physiological features
Proteins have a particular structure and includes several chemical groups in the amino acid chains that determine their behaviour in their environments. Here are three of their main features:
Solubility: proteins are water soluble when they get a globular conformation due to the electric charge they have. The result for this is a solvation phenomenon that makes water molecules surround protein ions, building a layer enclosing the protein molecule.
Specificity: physiological and chemical properties of proteins depend on how amino acid groups are organised, which is consequence of the spatial shape taken.
Denaturation: there is a loss in the protein spatial shape of the molecular structure, losing its native state and causing a possible loss of the biological function. This occurs in damaging environments with high temperatures, pH modifiers or physical agents (electric charges or pressure), among others. Denaturation is reversible if such conditions disappear and decrease enough intensity to provoke a turning point.
What are protein used for?
A regular protein intake will synthesise new tissues and functional organic substances, and will develop a plastic function to relief present proteins in the organism. It’s very important to ensure a balance between the needs and the intake, as when the intake exceeds the needs, protein amino acids are recycled as an energy source; but amino acid expenditure generates toxic compounds that are transformed in urea and end up being excreted through urine.
Which are proteins main functions?
Our organism does not difference the origin of the protein intake, either animal origin (Beef Proteins) or plant origin proteins (Plant Proteins). Beef protein has a greater amount and diversity of amino acids, which provides a higher biological value to be processed throughout the digestion process. In general, meat, fish, eggs, milk, legumes (especially soy protein, pea protein, chickpea protein and lentille protein) and some nuts like walnuts can be considered the most effective protein sources through a combined intake for a proper EAA balance.
Particularly, milk products have a great biological value due to their casein and lactalbumin content, such as whey protein concentrate, whose 82% protein content represents an excellent quality-price rate and high EAA levels.
Why do athletes stick to a high protein diet?
When designing a diet for athletes it shouldn’t include an abundant amount of protein, as it is only involved in strengthening muscles, cartilages and ligaments.
Sometimes, the same mistake is repeated once and again and diets for athletes keep being designed with a too high protein content. It should be taken into account that high-protein and low-carb diets are absolutely not recommended for this population sector. For that reason HSNstore recommends professional advice in order to not make nutritional mistakes. There isn’t any nutritional evidence supporting an intake greater than 2 grams per body weight.
Where to buy protein?
There are several protein online stores. HSNstore.com offers the widest range of protein products, the best quality and prices: protein and amino acid suplpements, whey hydrolysates, casein, liophilized egg, soy preparations, etc.