Can your body synthesise protein from carbohydrates and nitrogen?

  • Thread starter wasteofo2
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

If one had no way of eating any protein, but could eat carbohydrates and something which had nitrogen that wasn't a protein, could their body assemble proteins to use, or does that mechanism not exist?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
selfAdjoint
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Cows can do that, I believe, but not people. We have evolved to need some protein input.
 
  • #3
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I don't know anything about the metabolism.

But I do know that some amino acids have sulfur groups in them so you would have to have some sulfur source.
 
  • #4
Monique
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Aychamo: amino acids have a NH3+ group, thus you need a nitrogen source (like wasteofo2 mentioned).

To answer his question: there are 10 essential amino acids that you need to get through your diet (arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine), the other 10 are non-essential: those can be biosynthesized in adequate amounts.

The essential amino acids are generally the ones with complex structures: aromatic rings and hydrocarbon side-chains. The non-essential ones are those readily synthesized from abundant metabolites, such as intermediates in glycolysis or the citric acid cycle.

Plant proteins are generally deficient in lysine, methionine, or tryptophan, so a vegetarian should eat a varied diet to compensate the deficiency in one source by an excess in another.
 
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Monique said:
Aychamo: amino acids have a NH3+ group, thus you need a nitrogen source (like wasteofo2 mentioned).
I know this. I said that some amino acids contain sulfur. That is Methionine and Cysteine. Eating only hydrocarbons and nitrogen wouldn't get you those :)
 
  • #6
Monique
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ahh, you had me there :wink: you're right :approve:
 
  • #7
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I guess I should have said sulfur in their R-groups instead of saying they had sulfur groups. :)
 

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