There are only 3 raw materials that the human body can use to make energy: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Protein is an essential macro nutrient that yields 4 calories per 1 gram. Protein is essential for brain cell function, liver detoxification, for initiating almost ALL enzyme reactions in your body and is an important anabolic nutrient.
How important are proteins and enzymes? Consider that your DNA and RNA are made from proteins and that the enzymes that proteins produce are used to repair, transcript and replicate DNA. All of the activity that is done inside of every cell is being done by enzymes, which have been created by proteins.
Protein is essential for life.
Protein in Metabolism
Protein consists of amino acids. Currently there are 20 amino acids which have been recognized. For biological function, there are 10 non-essential amino acids (meaning the body can make them from other amino acids) and 10 essential amino acids (meaning the body cannot make them and must obtain them from the diet).
Non-Essential Amino Acids
- aspartic acid
- glutamic acid
Essential Amino Acids
Some amino acids are biosynthesized and build cells. Other amino acids are converted into glucose and the substrates of glucose. The sulphur amino acids cysteine and methionine are essential for phase 2 liver detoxification, while cysteine, L-Glycine and L-Glutamine are the building blocks for the conjugation of the body’s most essential antioxidant, Glutathione.
Protein is used to create the Cytochrome P450 enzyme. How important is this? Cytochrome P450 is a family of 50 different enzymes found in all tissues of the body. Cytochrome P450 is found in the highest concentration within liver cells and is essential during phase I of liver detoxification. The key actions of cytochrome P450 enzymes is:
- To initiate phase I Liver Detoxification
- To detoxify xenobiotic sources of toxicity, chemicals, alcohols and carcinogens, converting them into water and oxygen
- To assist endogenous sources of waste such as Bilirubin
- To assist in the synthesis of Vitamin D
- For hormone synthesis: To effectively convert cholesterol into pregnenelone which then gets converted into other hormones like estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and DHEA
- For the synthesis of bile and bile acids, which are necessary for the assimilation of fat soluble vitamins as well as for the detoxification of the liver
This critical enzyme system may be deficient in people who do not consume adequate dietary protein and those with high degrees of toxicity. In the epithelial lining of the GI tract, deficiencies in cytochrome P-450 are found in patients with colon tumors as well as those with pathology and chronic states.
People who consume inadequate amounts of protein may have weaker liver detoxification capabilities.
Protein From Dietary Sources
Vegans and vegetarians may suffer the most from protein deficiencies. While it is true that all foods contain some amount of protein, animal sources of protein contain the highest concentrations of protein. This is particularly true for the sulphur rich amino acids.
Because of potential low protein intake, vegan and vegetarians may not produce sufficient amounts of bile acids in the liver. Bile and bile acids are essential for numerous functions, including the assimilation of the fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K. Bile also contains the of toxins of liver filtration as well as bilirubin, the end product of hemoglobin.
There are numerous forms of protein foods. I choose to classify protein foods according to their nucelo-protein content. Nucleo-proteins such as purine are vitally important for individuals who have a greater need for them, particularly Protein Metabolic Types and Mixed Types. Carbo Metabolic Types should actually minimize their purine intake.
Purines are used during intermediary metabolism and most of purines get converted into adenine. Adenine is a primary component of DNA and RNA. Adenine is also essential for the creation of ATP, your biological energy.
For metabolic type protein classifications, click here.