Proteins are large polymers composed of long chains of amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 different amino acids commonly found in proteins. These can be arranged in any order to create lots of different proteins.
The sequence of amino acids in a protein determines the protein's shape and function.
Most amino acids can be synthesised by the body. However, some essential amino acids need to be taken from food.
Meat and nuts are rich in essential amino acids.
Proteins are necessary for almost all biological processes, including:
- Controlling the speed of chemical reactions as enzymes
- Providing structural support for the cell
- Transporting molecules around the cell
- Protecting the body from disease as antibodies
- Used as an energy source during starvation.