MAY 21, 2016 12:07 PM PDT

The Health Significance of Protein


Every cell in the body requires protein. Your body uses it for growth, tissue repair, creating hormones, enzymes, and energy. Protein is an important component of bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Protein is a "macronutrient," meaning the body requires relatively large amounts of it. Fat and carbohydrates are also macronutrients. Oppositely, vitamins and minerals are micronutrients because they are needed in only small quantities. While the body needs a large amount of protein, unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body cannot store protein. Thus, the body can't withdraw more protein from a reserve when it needs more.

Because protein is essential for growth, it's particularly important for those in growth periods of their lives. People in growth periods include children, teens, and pregnant women. Protein also helps preserve lean muscle mass and provides energy when carbohydrates are not available.
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
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