Protein is necessary in many body functions. So what is the importance of protein in exercise? We need to look at the different protein structures and what their function are. Protein is very complex……

What is Protein

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines protein as follows: any of various complex nitrogen-containing substances that consist of chains of amino acids’, are present in all living cells, and are an essential part of the human diet.

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Let us look at these protein structures and how the body uses’.

>A. Cytochromebdoxidase [5ir6] …are terminal oxidases [enzyme] that are present in bacteria and archea [single celled microrganism smaller than bacteria]. They reduce molecular oxygen to water avoiding the production of a reactive species.

>B. Lipoprotein signal peptides II [5dir]….. this protein specifically catalyses the removal of signal peptides from prolipoproteins.

>C. DMT superfamily transportar YddG[5i20]….a protein that expels aromatic amino acids’ and exogenous toxic compounds, thus contributing to homoestasis [to stop bleeding].

>D. Flouride ion transportar dimer [5a43]….Important in reducing flouride concentration in the cell, thus reducing its toxicity.

>E. Casp 11 target T0806-YAAA [5caj]….Functions as the activator for cell death or activator for cell survival.

>F. Proliprotein diacylglyceryl transferase [5azb]….Catalyzes the transfer of diacylglyceryl group one of the first steps in modifying of a mature lepoprotein.

>G. Fumarate hydradase [5f92]….is an enzyme that catalyzes the reversible hydration/dehydration of fumerate [energy] to malate [salt]

The reason for showing this chart at the beginning of this article is done intentionally. We as most people have no idea how complex and important protein is to our overall health.

Functions of Protein

Wikipedia has protein as large biomolecules, or macromolecules, consisting of one or more long chains of amino acids’ and residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms including catalyzing, metabolic reactions, DNA replication, responding to stimuli, providing structuremto cells and organisms and transporting molecules from one location to another.

Human body needs protein for growth and to maintain body tissues. Our body breaks down protein at the same rate of protein it uses’. Many times in our life our bodies break down more protein do to illness or recovering from surgery and many older adults and athletes require more protein.

Enzymes are proteins and the body requires enzymes include muscle contraction…..blood clotting…..digestion….and energy production. Many enzymes require other molecules to create the reactions required such as vitamins and minerals. Digestive enzymes also work out of the cell such as lactase and surase which help us digest sugar. Our biochemical reactions needed to function would not happen without protein.

Hormones are protein and our body uses’ hormones to send chemical messages between our cells, tissues and body organs. These hormones are grouped into three main categories. Amines; which are made from two amino acids’ tyrosine and tryophan, that make hormones that are related to sleep and metabolism. Steroids; these are made from the fat cholestrial. Two such steroid based are the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. Protein and polypeptides; which makes up the majority of our bodies hormones are amino acid chains that can range from a few amino acids’ in a chain to several hundred amino acids’ in a chain. Remember amino acid is what is left when the body digests or breaks down protein. Examples of protein and polypeptides would be ADH – antidiuretic hormone – This hormone signals the kidneys’ to reabsorb water. Glucagon-This hormone signals the breakdown of stored glucose in the liver. Insulin- This hormone signals the uptake of sugar into the cell. Others include hGH – human growth hormone – This hormone stimulates the growth of various tissues throughout the body including growth in the bone. ACTH – adrenocorticotropic hormone – This hormone stimulates an arelease of cortisol which is a key factor in our bodies metabolism.

There are proteins that are fibrous that provide cells and tissues with rigidity and stiffness. Some examples include Elastin is several times more flexible than collagen thus allowing many of our body tissues to be stretched and return to their original state this occurs in the lungs, arteries and in women the uterus. Collagen is the most bountiful protein in our body it is the structural protein of your skin….ligaments…..and tendons. Keratin is what your hair,nails and skin are made of.

pH – IS the balance of acids’ and bases. Protein plays a major role in maintaining the proper pH levels in bodily fluids. Blood as well. Constant pH is very necessary, as even a faint change in pH can be harmful and in some cases deadly. Hemoglobin has four different amino acid chains and one of these regulates the pH in the blood. So in the case of pH protein is a buffer to help maintain the proper pH values of our bodily fluids and blood.

Protein also regulates the body processes that maintain a body fluid balance. In the blood the proteins albium and globulin help to maintain your body’s fluid balance, they attract and retain water. If a person doesn’t consume enough protein in their diet the levels of albium and globium will eventually decrease. As a result the proteins can no longer keep blood in your blood vessels and the fluid is forced into spaces between your cells. As the fluid builds up swelling occurs especially in the stomach area.

Another critical function of protein is the production of antibodies in the blood. Without these antibodies bacteria and viruses would have no deterrent to keep them from multiplying resulting in them overwhelming the body. These proteins are in the blood called immunoglobulins. Once your body has produced antibodies against a certain bacteria or virus it never forgets how to make them. This allows the body to produce these antibodies if needed quickly the next time this particular bacteria or virus tries to attack the body.

Proteins also transport and store nutrients. Ferritin is an example of a protein that stores it stores iron. Another protein that stores is casein. Casein is found in milk and is the primary protein that helps babies to grow. Transport proteins deliver substances around your bloodstream….out of cells….within cells…..into cells. Materials carried include nutrients like vitamins or minerals, cholestriol, oxygen and sugar. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from your lungs to body tissues. Lipoproteins transfer cholesterol and other fats in your blood. Glucose dispatches glucose to your cells. Each of the protein transporters are specific…..in that….they will only bind with certain substances, glucose for instance will only transport glucose and will not transport cholesterol.

Protein can also serve as an energy source but will only do so when in fasting mode, inadequate calorie intake or exhaustive exercise such as running a marathon. Both carbs and protein contain four calories per gram. Fat is different it has the most energy, over twice as much, fat supply nine calories per gram of energy. The body uses’ protein as its last resort for energy as it knows the value of protein in all the other body functions it supplies. Fat and carbs also metabolize a lot quicker and more efficiently. The body actually holds fat and carbs in reserve to be used as an energy source when needed. When your body is in a fasting state …..no food intake for eighteen to forty-eight hours……sketetal muscle gets broke down so that the amino acids’ can support the energy needed. When your carbohydrate storage is low the skeletal breakdown of muscle will occur due to exhaustive exercise or if a person does not consume enough calories.

How does Body Produce Protein

When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids’ are left. The human body uses’ amino acids’ to help the body break down food….grow….regular body tissue….perform many other body functions….. Amino acids’ are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. There are twenty amino acids’ that combine with other amino acids’ or substances to form thousands of different proteins the body uses’. Most of the proteins work is done within the cells as it performs various jobs.

How Much Protein is Enough ?

Protein comes from the Greek protos, meaning “first”. The Recommended Dietary Allowance {RDA] is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is the minimum amount you need.

At the “Protein Summit” over forty nutrition scientists gathered in Washington, D.C., they met to discuss the research that had been done on protein and human health. With the RDA guide the supply of protein would be as little as 10%. Average American consumes closer to 16% from both plant and animal sources.

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In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition {AJCN} …. The protein summit reports in the AJCN that 16% is anything but excessive in fact they reported it isn’t enough and American’s are not getting enough protein in their diet. Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut stated that she estimates that consuming two times the RDA guide “is a safe and a good range to aim for.” That means we should instead be trying to consume between 15% and 25% of our total calorie intake. Your age, sex and activity levels could have you below or above this recommendation. In my article WhyTrack How Many Calories per Day. Shows with this report it truly is important to know how many calories so that we make sure we are getting the protein we need.

Exercise and Protein

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Exercise and protein are an important factor to look at. People who exercise regularly have higher needs of protein. People who lift weights or are running and cycling require even more protein, some nutrition experts say you may need as much as 2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day.

Kristi Wempen, Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian nutritionist, says…”the body cannot store protein, so once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat.” Adequate protein is necessary throughout the day. One misconception is that extra protein intake is what builds muscle not more exercise. We need 10 to 35% of your total calorie intake for a day be from protein. Wempen reminds us of this…..” Once we hit 40 to 50 years old, sacropenia starts to set in, which means you start losing muscle mass as you age,” She says this… “To help prevent this and maintain independence and quality of life, your protein needs to increase, to about one gram per kilogram of body weight,”mayo-clinic

Trainers and health professionals all agree that a person who exercises regularly also needs more protein. Recommendations are from 1.1 to 1.5 more grams per kilograms of body weight. If you are a weight lifter or are a runner, or cyclist in training YOU would need to step that up to 1.2 to 1.7 more grams per kilogram of body weight. Kristi Wempen again has this to say….” If you are overweight, your weight is adjusted before calculating your protein needs in order to avoid overestimating.” continuing she recommends…” You should see a dietitian to help develop a personalized plan.”

It has also been recommended by some that general recommendations are to consume 15% to 25% grams of protein per kilogram of body weight with your daily meals and that after a workout usually within the early recovery phase of 45 minutes.

Because of our poor dietary habits most of us find we need to supplement our protein with the use of protein shakes…protein bars…. and other additional protein supplements.

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Conclusion

Protein is a very important part of any weight loss or exercise program as well as an essential nutrient we need to make sure we get the proper intake in our daily diet as our body does not store protein. This article is written to hopefully enlighten and also to show how complex protein is.

Protein is a important in immune system, in pH balance, as a transport of nutrients, as an energy source if needed,and the building block of our entire body. In one way or another every body function utilizes protein in one way or another.

We truly are wonderfully made……

Would love to hear your thoughts…..
TIM