So many people nowadays are arguing about complex biochemical matters. Where all these specialists came from all of a sudden? Do they really know what they are talking about? This matter seems serious enough to start our own investigation.
Let’s start with main questions: What is SO DIFFERENT about animal proteins as opposed to plant-base protein?
On the surface, it looks as if the only problem with animal protein is that it is in the meat, and meat contains fat, and fat is what is bad and wrong and needs to be avoided. Could it be that simple?
Next question is about compatibility. Human body produces various proteins (all Enzymes are protein, some Hormones are protein). What type of protein meat and fish provide to us: proteins that we can produce, or those that must be obtained from other foods?
To answer this question let’s look at protein insulin. To produce insulin our body needs bricks – amino-acids. About 50 of them in one molecule. Human insulin is slightly different from insulin produced by other animals, but will work in humans, if introduced to a blood stream. So do not tell diabetics to avoid animal protein. They need to use it every day to survive. And you can’t take insulin through mouth. It will be digested and broken down into inactive fragments in our stomach.
With this understanding (that proteins consumed and proteins produced in out bodies are different) we can rephrase the question above. Do we need proteins in meat and fish to survive?
I am ready to start very slowly to build a foundation for precise and weighted answers to these questions.
There are four fundamental biochemical functions of proteins:
- Binding (recognize molecules and hold them for future use);
- Catalyst (mostly protein enzymes);
- Switching (molecular on and off switches to control cellular processes);
- Structural Elements (building blocks).
So far, there is only one known abnormal protein from animals that is dangerous and lethal, if you are not lucky – CJD Prion . If you eat meat that contains traces of cattle brains from infected animals, you can get a “bovine spongiform encephalopathy” or “mad cow disease”.
Next, let’s proceed with some basic definitions:
Amino-acid – a molecule of 10 to 30 atoms.
Covalent chemical bond – the atoms are bound by shared electrons.
DNA – a molecular chain structure (deoxyribonucleic acid) built from 4 building blocks: (1) Adenin – A – purine base, C5H5N5, (2) Guanine – G - purine base, C5H5N5O, (3) Thymine – T - pyrimidine base, C5H6N2O2, and (04) Cytosine – C – pyrimidine base, C4H5N3O.
Enzyme – a protein that behaves as a catalyst
Eukaryote – organism with cells with nucleus, cytoplasm, chromosomes. Unites all life forms except bacteria, blue-green algae, and other primitive microorganisms.
Exon – coding segment of a gene
Hormone – a substance, secreted by one organ, and influence another organ. Both protein (insulin, secretin) and non-protein hormones (steroids) have been identified.
Intron – a noncoding segment in a length of DNA.
Ion – an atom or molecule or group that has lost or gained one or more electrons
Ionic bonds – atoms are bound together by the attraction between oppositely-charged ions.
Ligand – a molecule that binds to a specific site on a macro-molecule
Ligand Binding -
Polymer – large molecule composed of repeating structural units.
Peptide – a chain of amino-acids that forms the protein.
Peptide bond – is a bond connecting amino-acids together.
pH – an exponential scale of Hydrogen ions concentration from 0 to 14. Reading from 0 to 6 indicates an acid environment, 7 is neutral, from 8 to 14 – Alkaline environment.
Protein – a polymer build of 20 (some sources 21) different amino-acids joined by peptide bonds
Prokaryote – organism with no no nuclear membrane, genetic material in the form of single continuous strands forming coils or loops (unites all bacteria and blue-green algae).
|Amazon.com||Gregory Petsko, Dagmar Ringe – Protein Structure and Function||http://www.amazon.com/Protein-Structure-Function-Gregory-Petsko/dp/1405119225|
|Amazon.com||Adam Zeman, A Portrait of the Brain||http://www.amazon.com/Portrait-Brain-Prof-Adam-Zeman/dp/0300114168|
|Virtual ChemBook||pH Scale, Ionization of Water, Definition of pH, pOH, and pKw||http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/184ph.html|
|Andy Vierstraete||DNA in a Cell||http://users.ugent.be/~avierstr/index.html|