Peptide/protein hormones have different functions which all are equally important.
Hormones are protein-based chemicals secreted by the cells of the endocrine glands. Transported through the blood, hormones act as chemical messengers that transmit signals from one cell to another. Each hormone affects certain cells in the body, known as target cells. Such cells have receptors on which the hormone attaches itself to transmit the signals. An example of a hormonal protein is insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas to regulate the levels of blood sugar in the body.
Enzymatic proteins accelerate metabolic processes in cells, including liver functions, stomach digestion, blood clotting and converting glycogen to glucose.
Also known as fibrous proteins, structural proteins are necessary components of the body. They include collagen, keratin, and elastin. Collagen forms the connective framework of the muscles, bones, tendons, skin, and cartilage. Keratin is the main structural component in hair, nails, teeth, and skin.
Antibodies, or immunoglobulin, are a core part of the immune system, keeping diseases under control. Antibodies are formed in the white blood cells and attack bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms, rendering them inactive.
Storage proteins mainly store mineral ions such as potassium in the body. Iron, for example, is an ion required for the formation of hemoglobin, the main structural component of red blood cells. Ferritin — a storage protein — regulates and guards against the adverse effects of excess iron in the body. Ovalbumin and casein are storage proteins found in breast milk and egg whites, that play a huge role in embryonic development.
Transport proteins carry vital materials to the cells. Hemoglobin, for example, carries oxygen to body tissues from the lungs. Serum albumin carries fats in the bloodstream, while myoglobin absorbs oxygen from hemoglobin and then releases it to the muscles. Calbindin is another transport protein that facilitates the absorption of calcium from the intestinal walls.
Located on the outer part of the cells, receptor proteins control the substances that enter and leave the cells, including water and nutrients. Some receptors activate enzymes, while others stimulate endocrine glands to secrete epinephrine and insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Also known as motor proteins, contractile proteins regulate the strength and speed of heart and muscle contractions. These proteins are actin and myosin. Contractile proteins can cause heart complications if they produce severe contractions.
Proteins/peptides in the aging process:
One of the major problems at aging is the loss of muscles. When muscles decrease in size/strength it is likely that the physical and mental defense systems weaken and health danger is ahead for the individual. Statistics give us some inside:
It is clear that, depending on the degree of activity, people lose mass on an individual basis.
It is possible to measure muscle loss. One of the reasons is the change in digestive activity and ability.
An important part of the muscle loss is the ability to keep muscle protein chains in a good condition.
The factors that contribute to reduced muscle mass with age are many. They include reduced physical activity (i.e., a sedentary lifestyle), reduced anabolic signaling (which could be due to reduced hormones such as growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1 [IGF1] and testosterone), increased adiposity and prevalence of metabolic diseases (such as insulin resistance). Exercise improves the sensitivity of muscle to insulin and also stimulate the production of anabolic hormones like GH/IGF1 and testosterone, which can positively impact muscle growth (or prevent its breakdown). For this, exercises that activate a large muscle masses (such as the legs) result in the best anabolic response.
During aging, the anabolic/catabolic balance slowly changes. Inactive lifestyles increase the catabolic reaction as the body reduces all possible factors of obstruction (like unused parts). The first to go in the aging process seems to be protein structures. Fat and carbohydrates continue to be stored. Why? Proteins are the building blocks and fat/carbs are the energy. The body stores energy but breaks down the building. Most elderly have enough energy storage for years to go at moment of their passing.
Risks of high protein diets.
The use of proteins as an energy source is doubtful. There are a number of reasons for it but there are also reasons enough to say that protein is not a bad source of energy. To make a judgment it is important to review the process:
Proteins contain Hydrogen and Carbon like all Carbohydrates. The difference is the Amino (NH+) group which is considerably different and cannot be used in an energetic process. To use proteins the following steps must be taken;
This process is called Gluconeogenesis which refers to the production of sugar from non-sugar sources such as amino acids. But there is a catch in this. The production also delivers side products such as:
It is very likely to smell a person who is in gluconeogenesis as acetone has a very strong and specific smell that leaving the body through breathing and skin. The smell can be strong.
The body first turns to carbs and fat for an energy source. Only as a “last” resort, the body turns to proteins. The reason is found in the fact that the muscles and vital organs are made of proteins. Bringing the body in a state of Gluconeogenesis can have the effect of self-destruction and let the body turn on itself. Proteins are easily available but also vital to most of the life support systems. Destruction/use of proteins as energy resource might result in dangerous situations of “self-harm”. This process is known as “ketonemia” or “ketosis”.
Ketonemia brings a high demand for water (liquids) as the secretion of the keto-acids takes a lot of water. This is one reason why people suffering from diabetes are frequent drinkers in need of liquid (thirsty).
The following amino acids can “easily” be turned into glucose by removing the N2 group: alanine, serine, glycine, and valine. Other amino acids cannot be transformed by ketogenetics but follow other pathways.
Using amino acids as an energy source has only disadvantages. The process to retrieve energy is inefficient and waste creating. Due to the dangers of self-destruction and possible autoimmune disturbances, it is not advised to consume large amounts of proteins neither uses excessive amino acid supplements.
It is important to work with different amino acids and proteins to combat the age-related problems but to do so it is needed to calculate individually. Blood analysis, urine and other tests are often useful but not always needed to set specific personal programs.
REMARK; meat eaters store protein as fat. Is this true? People who frequently eat a large amount of meat (like in the USA , Brazil or Argentina) are often overweight or even obese. The problem with meat is the fact all proteins are surrounded (encapsulated) by fats. These fats get into the same digestive system and will be taken in at the same speed as the proteins. The combination of fat/protein is what makes it dangerous. Fat slows down every digestive process and follows a longer route with more enzyme activity. By encapsulating the proteins they are released at a state of non-broken down, which sets them aside for further distribution in the body.
Conclusion: amino acids and proteins are very important in all functions of the body. A decrease in uptake has a direct effect on efficiency, recovery, and building of different parts of the body. This decrease shows as aging, a decay of functions.