We have been getting several interesting questions lately about proteins and their intake. With this in mind, we have decided to write a series of themed articles to clarify some issues and help you choose and maintain a healthy diet.
What are proteins?
Proteins have an essential nutritional factor for our body, as they represent the only source of nitrogen. They are the fundamental constituents of all animal and plant cells and account for 50% of our body mass without water and about 14-18% of total body weight.
They are the main component of the muscles that allow our body to move, the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe; they are found in the tendons, blood vessels, teeth and are essential for maintaining the integrity, elasticity and tone of the skin.
Proteins and their dual role
These macronutrients play both a structural role as they are the building blocks of the different organic tissues, and a functional role as they are involved in all metabolic activities.
Inside our body, they allow the transport of oxygen in the blood, minerals, sugar and fats; they form structures, called enzymes, which participate in all the chemical reactions necessary for life. Many hormones (eg insulin), the antibodies of the immune system (immunoglobulins), which defend us from the attack of viruses and bacteria, are proteins.
Protein is also a source of energy; in conditions of sugar deficiency, they make 4 kcal per gram available.
During digestion, food proteins are broken down into smaller elementary units called amino acids with which, once absorbed, our body is able to build the proteins it needs for its growth and "maintenance" (repair and maintenance) processes. renewal of tissues, etc.). Learn more about the benefits of using protein and amino acid supplements by clicking here.
The proteins in the body are not present as stable entities, but are subject to continuous turnover; they are in fact continuously demolished and replaced by new and similar protein molecules through a process known as protein turnover.
Humans and animals therefore constantly need proteins and amino acids to survive. Introduction with food is essential to ensure a correct response to protein needs and maintain good health.
In nature there are different types of amino acids but the best known are 20. Of these:
- 8 are ESSENTIAL (leucine, valine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, methionine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan) as the body must necessarily take them with food;
- 12 are NOT ESSENTIAL as the body is able to manufacture them by itself.
Functions of proteins
- They carry oxygen, sugars, fats and minerals in the blood
- They make up the immune system
- Like enzymes and hormones, they regulate all vital functions
- In the absence of sugar reserves, they provide energy
Discover the products of our Protein Line or read more about Balance, our slow-release protein blend.
Remember that you can find the Protein Line and all Syform products in Pharmacy, in Specialized Stores and also online.