Protein. How it Works in Our Body
All living beings are made of molecules. For example, the water that makes up almost 70% of our bodies is a molecule.
Molecules are collections of two or more atoms. Water is, therefore, a “small” molecule since it is composed of one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen.
Photo by Pixabay
But what does the remaining 30% of our body contain?
The remaining 30% are molecules that are generally larger than water and are called polymers, from the Greek poly=multiple mothers=parts.
In fact, they are composed of several molecules linked together to form a chain. And half of this 30%, that is, 15% of our body, are proteins.
Proteins are assemblies of amino acids. There are thousands of proteins with different forms and functions.
But all of them contribute to the good functioning of our body.
For example, some help digest food, others help transport the oxygen in our blood, and finally, proteins are also needed to make proteins!
First of all, what is a protein?
Proteins are molecules that are found in all living things (and in viruses). They are produced by the assembly of several elements called “amino acids”.
Millions of different amino acids can be found in nature. However, only about 20 are present in living beings.
Amino acids are molecules composed of the same acidic and basic part also called amine (the opposite of acid).
However, they are distinguished by the part called the side chain attached to a carbon, in purple in the image below.
Here we show you what an amino acid looks like. The important thing is that we find about 20 of them in our bodies. We can tell them apart by what’s in the purple part.
As mentioned above, proteins are a collection of amino acids. Amino acids are assembled by “nesting” their basic part with the acidic part.
A bit like a bracelet made of beads that have different colors. Imagine if you could make bracelets with twenty different colors!
There are thousands of possibilities depending on the order of the beads, their colors and the number you choose.
How they work
Another important thing to know about proteins is that they move. Amino acids attract or repel each other depending on their chemical nature.
This leads to a movement of the protein, the bracelet, which, for example, will be bent into a ball.
The composition of the protein determines the shape in space that the amino acid bracelet will take, the structure of the protein.
Protein: an amino acid sequence like a bracelet, composed of amino acid beads.
This bracelet takes a more or less rigid three-dimensional shape, different according to its composition.
Why does it matter? Because the structure determines the function of the protein. Because what can be done with a round balloon, cannot be done with a die.
In our body, it is the same, a protein in the shape of a ball, for example, will be able to store and protect elements in its center.
This small ball (about 10 nanometers in diameter) is composed of 24 identical proteins and stores iron in its center.
What are proteins used for?
Proteins can have different functions for humans. They participate in the structure of the cell, as a building block, or they accelerate chemical reactions.
They repair cells, make our muscles contract, recognize foreign element invasions and mobilize defense forces in case of infection.
Others carry nutrients such as hemoglobin which carries oxygen. As you can see, proteins are active and essential throughout our body.
Several forms of proteins are represented here. The form determines the function.
Therefore, they can have many different functions and sizes (clicking on the image will take you to a site with the same interactive image and description of the different proteins and their functions).
But proteins are also present in other living beings and in viruses.
Thus, the coronavirus can attack our body with the S-protein like Spike.
In fact, this protein is found on the surface of the virus, it is this protein that forms one of the tips of the crown that gives the virus its name.
Its structure is very important because it allows it to cling to our cells, like a key in a lock. Once attached, the virus can enter and multiply.
Now that researchers know what the Spike protein looks like, they can design treatments and/or vaccines to adhere to its peaks.
The virus would be trapped! This is also what our bodies do to heal themselves: find and make proteins that bind to Spike’s proteins to block them.
How is the protein produced?
In a previous article on GMOs, he was told about the DNA contained in all our cells: “This DNA is like an instruction manual that contains all the information necessary for the plant or animal in question to function properly.
It is in the DNA that we find the recipe for making our proteins.
This information is transmitted to molecular machines, called ribosomes, which use it to make proteins by assembling amino acids in the right order.
These molecular machines are also large sets of molecules and proteins, containing thousands of atoms! It is rare, but it is part of the mysteries of life.
To make proteins, our bodies need, of course, amino acids.
Of the twenty amino acids, eight must necessarily be recovered from the foods we eat.
These are the so-called essential amino acids found in meats, legumes and cereals.
Simply put, proteins are like pearl bracelets, produced by our cells thanks to amino acid beads, some of which come from our food.
These bracelets are used for most of our body’s essential functions.
There are some supplements that help you generate protein in your body, although they are not recommended it is good to know that there is this option.
Some protein supplements can be purchased online at Amazon, WalMart, Costco, Sams Club, Carrefour, alibaba, eBay, Aliexpress, Zappos, Target, Newegg, Etsy, My American Market, Macy’s, Staples , MyKasa.
In big seasons they put on sale big discounts in health supplements.