Macro-nutrients: Proteins

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What are they?

Proteins are made out of long chains of amino acids. Amino Acids are the basic building block used to make proteins, it is a complex molecule composed of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are twenty different types of amino acids. There are the essential amino acids and the non-essential amino acids. The essential amino acids cannot be produced by our body and only comes through the diet. The best source of essential amino acids are animal protein such as egg, fish, poultry and some plants such as beans, pulses, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds. The non-essential amino acids can be produced by our body.

How do your body process these?

Depending on the structure and type of amino acid, they perform different major functions within the body. Amino Acids can be enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, part of the membrane cell structure, helping for transport and storage. They are produced inside the cells through the activation of the genes. Each cell in each organ is producing specific proteins which have a specific function in that organ.


In the brain, the neurones produce neurotransmitters. In the immune system, the cells produce for example immunoglobulin.


Proteins are specific molecules produced specifically by each organ. They direct the function of each cell different specific organ. This means that protein is essential the vitality of the human body.

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