Protein is an essential component of the human body. It is found in virtually every body part or tissue, including bone, skin, muscle, and hair. The average person is made up of around 10,000 different proteins.
Adults should get at least .8 grams of protein per day for every kilogram of body weight. On average, it is recommended that women over age 19 get 46 grams of protein per day. Men over age 19 should get 56 grams per day. Foods that are rich in protein include eggs, almonds, poultry meat, cottage cheese, milk, lean beef, and more.
Protein is made up of amino acids. The body can synthesize some amino acids but most must be sourced from foods.
Here are a few of the critical roles that proteins fill within the context of the human body:
- Hormones – Most hormones, such as progesterone and insulin, are proteins.
- Oxygen transport – Oxygen is carried to the cells by hemoglobin, a blood protein.
- Cell repair – Protein rebuilds cells damaged by stress.
- Transport of nutrients – Transport proteins—such as metallothionine, ceruplosmin,and transferrin—bind to minerals and carry them throughout the body.
- Movement – Myoglobin, a muscle protein, is responsible for our ability to move.
- Genetic information – Ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) are proteins in the cell nucleus that hold the genetic code.
- Enzymes – Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in the body.
- Fuel – Proteins may also be converted to fat or sugar to be used by the body as fuel.
Protein and Muscle Building
It is necessary to consume a constant supply of protein for optimum muscle growth. Protein is composed of amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of the muscles. Without protein or amino acids, you cannot accrue or maintain muscle tissue. If you are body building, it is vital to consume 30 to 40 grams of protein each meal throughout the day to develop muscle and support its recovery after workouts.