Protein is a nutrient in the foods that we eat that provides our bodies with the building blocks (amino acids) for body structure like our bone, muscle, blood vessels, and skin.
For example, amino acids like glycine, proline, and arginine are needed to build collagen - the main structural protein in the body.
Collagen is like “glue” holding things together, making body structure strong and able to stretch, and is a major component of our bone, muscles, tendons, cartilage, and skin.
But body structure is not the only reason we need to consume protein in our diets each day.
Dietary proteins also provide our bodies with the amino acid building blocks to produce chemical messengers, like hormones, so that communication occurs. For example, amino acids like leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are needed in the synthesis of insulin, the main hormone in blood sugar regulation, and these are provided through the foods we eat (1).
In fact, without dietary proteins, the body would be unable to produce enzymes that act as catalysts in all chemical reactions, and life would end!