What Are Proteins?

Proteins are large, complex molecules that do most of the work in your body’s cells. They are made of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids. The order and sequence of amino acid building blocks determines a protein’s unique 3-dimensional shape and function.

For example, proteins make up muscles, blood, skin, hair and nails. They also provide a source of energy. In addition, they help your immune system protect against germs and synthesize DNA, which carries genetic information. Proteins are also involved in every cell activity, such as sensing motion, light, taste and smell, and conveying that information to other parts of your body.

They form the foundation for bones and other tissues, and are essential for wound repair. They transport vitamins, minerals, sugars, fats and oxygen to cells and tissues, and even store certain nutrients like iron.

In order to do all of this, proteins must be flexible and dynamic. For instance, motor proteins bend and swing to literally walk across the cytoskeleton of a cell, while other proteins carry messages between nerve cells, such as acetylcholine, by opening up their centers and passing sodium ions through to trigger a nerve signal.

Proteins come in a wide variety of forms, from animal products (chicken, meat, fish, dairy) to plant foods such as beans and soy products (edamame, tempeh). They may be complete or incomplete. Complete proteins contain all of the amino acids your body cannot manufacture, and include all animal products and some plant-based foods such as quinoa and beans. Incomplete proteins are low in some essential amino acids and must be combined with other foods to ensure adequate intake.peptides for sale

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