How proteins are useful and how does that depend on their source?

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How proteins are useful and how does that depend on their source?

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Okay so let’s start by differentiating between dietary protein, and the term protein in the biologic sense. In biology, a protein is a large molecule which can be thought of as being a molecular machine. The most familiar type of protein are enzymes, which aid in specific chemical reactions. Not all proteins are enzymes however, for example antibodies are a familiar protein to most people and they don’t catalyze a chemical reaction.The take away is, proteins are molecular machines that perform very specific, necessary roles within the body and without them you cannot live.
To understand dietary protein, we need to understand how biologic proteins are made. Any humans, proteins are assembled out of individual building blocks we call amino acids. You know how you always hear people say DNA encodes all of the information necessary to keep you alive? The information contained within DNA is actually telling your cells the sequence of amino acids to put together in order to make specific proteins. There are dozens of different kinds of amino acids, but there are 21 specific amino acids you need to keep making all your proteins and stay healthy. Of those 21 amino acids, your body is able to make 12 of them from scratch. The other nine we call essential amino acids, because if you don’t eat them you suffer adverse health effects.

Proteins can vary from one organism to another because different organisms may have different amino acid sequences, or possibly even use different amino acids all together. Not all organisms use the same 21 amino acids, and not all organisms use exactly 21 amino acids. This is where the idea of a complete dietary protein comes into play, as a complete dietary protein contains all nine essential amino acids. Animal products are famous for almost always containing all of the essential amino acids, while often times many plants will only have some of the essential amino acids. This is where the idea of balancing your diet comes in, and consuming multiple different dietary sources to ensure you are getting a complete amino acid profile.