Protein: Understanding the Basics

PROTEIN_ Understanding the Basics

If you’ve so much as dipped your toe into the world of fitness, then you have heard of the wonders of protein. It is touted as easing soreness, assisting in weight loss, and helping build and repair muscles. An entire business has even been created from selling protein powders. Does protein live up to its hype and what really is its role in the body?

The Definition
Genetics Home Reference (GHR), a branch of the National Library of Medicine, identifies proteins as “large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body.” Proteins consist of amino acids. There exist 20 different types of amino acids, which can be combined to make a protein.

When we consume protein, it is broken down into the aforementioned amino acids and delivered throughout the body. Cells then rebuild the amino acid chains in a specific order to perform the following functions.

Protein’s Many Functions
Simply put, protein plays a vital role in the structure, function, and regulation of bodily tissues and organs.

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“What are proteins and what do they do?” Genetics Home Reference, 2017

As explained by the GHR, protein takes the roles of antibody, enzyme, messenger, structural component, and transport and storage. That role of messenger is of great interest to the fitness world, as it allows for increased muscle mass and strength.

Proteins are also integral for cell division, which aids in the healing and repairing of muscles. This is what creates muscle mass and definition. Assisting in the regulation of chemical reactions within the body, protein, in the form of an enzyme, also affects breathing, digestion, the functionality of the nervous system, and one’s metabolism.

As evidenced by protein’s tremendous benefits, this macronutrient is essential to maintaining a healthy and fit body, surpassing all of the fitness world’s hype. Not only does it help with your fitness goals, but protein keeps your body safe and running properly.  Join me in the following weeks as I dive more deeply into the many roles of protein, the varying types and quality of protein powders, and adequate amounts of protein consumption.

-Marisol

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