Proteins are the building blocks of life. The body needs protein to repair and maintain itself. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids. Every cell in the human body contains protein. It is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs, and glands. Protein is also found in all body fluids, except bile and urine.
When proteins are digested, amino acids are left. The human body needs a number of amino acids to break down food. Amino acids need to be eaten in large enough amounts for optimal health.
Amino acids are classified into three groups
Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, and must be supplied by food. They do not need to be eaten at one meal. The balance over the whole day is more important. The nine essential amino acids are:
Nonessential amino acids are made by the body from essential amino acids or in the normal breakdown of proteins. They include:
Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress. They include:
Risks of High Protein Diet
Recommended Daily Intake
Two deficiency diseases that affect children are caused by a grossly inadequate supply of protein, energy or both.
When people are unable to obtain adequate supply of protein for an extended period, muscle wasting occurs. And arms and legs become very thin. At the same time, albumin deficiency causes edema. Resulting in an extremely swollen appearance.
The edema decreases when sufficient protein is eaten. Patients with edema become lethargic and depressed. These signs are seen grossly neglected children or in the elderly poor or incapacitated. Children who lack sufficient protein do not grow to their potential size.
Infants born to mothers eating insufficient protein during pregnancy ca have permanently impaired mental capacities.