What Does Protein Do for Our Body? In terms of the overall health and function of the human body, protein is essential for building and repairing things. Your organs, muscles, skin, hair, nails, bones and certain hormones are all made up of some amount of protein.
Did you know that most microorganisms and plants can bio synthesize all twenty of the standard amino acids, where as animals sucvh as ourselves, must find a way to obtain some of these amino acids through our diet. The amino acids that an organism cannot synthesize on its own are referred to as essential amino acids.
If amino acids are present in the environment, microorganisms can conserve energy by taking up the amino acids from their surroundings and downregulating their biosynthetic pathways. Key enzymes that synthesize certain amino acids are not present in animals — such as aspartokinase, which catalyzes the first step in the synthesis of lysine, methionine, and threonine from aspartate.
In animals, amino acids are obtained through the consumption of foods containing protein. Ingested proteins are then broken down into amino acids through digestion, which typically involves denaturation of the protein through exposure to acid and hydrolysis by enzymes called proteases. Some ingested amino acids are used for protein biosynthesis, while others are converted to glucose through gluconeogenesis, or fed into the citric acid cycle.
This use of protein as a fuel is particularly important under starvation conditions as it allows the body’s own proteins to be used to support life, particularly those found in muscle. Amino acids are also an important dietary source of nitrogen.
Infographic First seen at Ghergich From Visually.