Protein is found in every single cell in the body, and plays a part in numerous processes. In all, proteins account for around 16 percent of an individual’s body weight, and make it possible for people to perform everyday activities such as sitting, standing, and running. If you are asking “What do proteins do for the body?” we think you’ll find the answer to that question truly amazing.
Important Building Block
One of the most important functions is to act as a “building block” for your bones, skin, and blood. Protein is also present in collagen and elastin, two substances found in connective tissues such as your tendons and ligaments. It would be virtually impossible to build these tissues without an adequate amount of protein, in which case your body’s basic structure would simply cease to exist.
Role in Protein Synthesis
When you work out, tiny micro-tears in the muscle occur, spurring the body to repair damaged tissue. This process is sometimes referred to as protein synthesis, or the act of rebuilding muscle tissue that has been damaged due to stress. Protein synthesis is required in order for muscles to grow, and is completely reliant on certain conditions being present in the body first. One of those conditions involves having enough of the right protein available at the right time to help rebuild damage muscle. This is why sports nutritionists often recommend eating several small, protein-rich meals each day, or supplementing with protein shakes before or after a workout.
Helps Reduce Body Fat
A study performed over a 12-week period discovered that participants who consumed high amounts of protein lost more body fat than those on a low-protein diet. These individuals saw little change in body weight due to an increase in muscle mass. Other research indicates that when protein accounts for approximately 1/3 of all calories consumed, it is very effective at helping people reduce the amount of body fat they have, particularly in obese patients who have high baseline triglycerides.
In answering the question “What do proteins do for the body?” we’ve found that there are numerous miscellaneous benefits, including:
- Increasing immunity by sending out antibodies that attack and neutralize viruses
- Balancing the body’s pH so that it remains at or near the ideal level of 7.0
- Transporting essential nutrients and electrolytes in and out of cells
- Helping form certain enzymes that cause chemical reactions in the body such as pepsin, which is largely responsible for digestion
- Balancing certain hormones that affect the metabolism
- Regulating the appetite by providing satiety, helping you feel full and avoiding overeating
Adding more protein to your diet can be helpful if you are trying to lose weight and build muscle, but doing so could also provide you with some other important health benefits. The amount you need will vary, so you may want to use a protein calculator to help you determine your own individual needs. Remember that protein cannot be stored in the body, and must therefore be taken in through the diet or by taking supplements.