PRO­TEIN AND AMINO ACIDS

Active Kids - - Class Room Discussion -

It was a sci­ence ex­hi­bi­tion or­ga­nized by the sci­ence club in the city. Tom and Tessy were se­lected from their school and they went with their teacher to see the ex­hi­bi­tion. Look­ing at the pic­ture chart Tom asked.

Tom: What is pro­tein? How does it help the hu­man body?

Teacher: In fact pro­teins are very

es­sen­tial for the hu­man body. The pro­teins are one of the build­ing blocks of body tis­sue and can also serve as a fuel source.

Tessy: How does it work in the hu­man body sir?

Teacher: It’s a nu­tri­ent and the body needs this for growth and main­te­nance. In fact, apart from wa­ter, the pro­teins are the most abun­dant kind of mol­e­cules in the body.

Tom: Is there pro­tein ev­ery­where in the body?

Teacher: In ev­ery cell of the body there is pro­tein and it is the ma­jor struc­tural com­po­nent of all cells, es­pe­cially mus­cles.

Tessy: I heard about gly­co­pro­tein, what is that?

Teacher: Pro­teins are also used in mem­branes, such as gly­co­pro­tein. In ad­di­tion to that pro­tein is needed to form blood cells. Tom: How does the body get pro­tein?

Teacher: When the di­ges­tion takes place the pro­teins are bro­ken down in the stom­ach. They be­come smaller polypep­tide chains via hy­drochlo­ric acid and pro­tease ac­tions.

Tom: I read in a book that this process is sig­nif­i­cant for amino acids.

Tessy: Sir, could you tell us some­thing more about amino acids?

Teacher: Of course, there are three cat­e­gories of amino acids. One- the es­sen­tial, sec­ond- the non-es­sen­tial and the third is con­di­tional amino acids. Tom: Do we need all th­ese?

Teacher: The first one is sup­plied by food and the sec­ond, non-es­sen­tial amino acids are made by the body in the nor­mal break­down of pro­teins. The third one, con­di­tional amino acids are needed only when there is ill­ness or stress etc. Tessy: Do we get this from food?

Teacher: They are found in an­i­mal sources such as meat, milk, fish and eggs. The Veg­e­tar­i­ans can get enough es­sen­tial amino acids by eat­ing a va­ri­ety of plant pro­teins.

Tom: We get pro­tein from plant sources too?

Teacher: Yes, the whole grains, pulses, legumes, soy, fruits, nuts and seeds are rich sources of pro­tein. Look at this chart of food with pro­tein. We should take care to eat pro­tein rich food for be­ing healthy.

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