Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for all chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes are essential for digestion, cellular energy, tissue and organ repair, and brain activity. Each enzyme, with its specialized configuration, binds with another specific molecule known as a substrate. The enzyme initiates a reaction in the substrate that often forces it to change its chemical configuration in order to effect a desired result. A deficient or defective enzyme can have significant consequences.
Protein that is not needed for construction, maintenance, or repair of the body’s structure can be used for energy production. Excess protein in the diet, once broken down into amino acids, is turned into glucose or glycogen, or put into storage as fat. When protein is burned for energy, it does not burn clean like carbohydrates and fat but leaves a toxic residue, ammonia. This the body must eliminate. First, the liver turns ammonia into urea, which is less toxic. Then the kidneys remove the urea from the bloodstream, using extra amounts of water in the flushing process.
This in turn causes an increased loss of minerals, especially calcium. If there is insufficient carbohydrate in the diet, in order to meet energy demands especially of the brain, protein in muscle tissue is used, which results in a loss of lean body mass. High dietary intake of protein can also exacerbate allergies and autoimmune diseases by aggravating the immune system.
Our body can synthesize Amino acids, except for eight of them which are called the essential amino acids. Meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products furnish the eight essential amino acids. From the vegetable kingdom, soybeans contain them as well. All essential amino acids can be obtained by combining vegetable proteins: serving beans with brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds, or wheat; or by combining brown rice with beans, nuts, seeds, or wheat, for example.