Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids & Nucleic Acids Information

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Proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids are important components of the human body. Each are essential to keep the human body functional and active, the first three absorbed through the digestive process and the fourth, created from those components. While proteins, lipids and carbohydrates are found in the foods that we eat, nucleic acids reside in our cells.

  1. Proteins

    • Proteins are complex molecules made up of smaller components called amino acids. Each protein can consist of up to 500 amino acids, which are combinations of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sometimes sulfur atoms.

    Carbohydrates

    • Carbohydrates are molecular compounds consisting of three atoms, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen where the carbon is attached to a water molecule. Carbohydrates are divided into two main categories of simple and complex sugars. Examples of simple sugars are candy and fruit, where complex sugars include pasta and potatoes.

    Lipids

    • Lipids are a large category of fats and oils, including fatty acids, lipoproteins, phospholipids, fatty oils, essential oils, waxes and glycolipids. Lipids contain carbon-hydrogen combinations with a chain at the end called a carboxyl, which is one carbon atom with an oxygen on one side and an oxygen-hydrogen pair on the other side.

    Nucleic Acids

    • Nucleic acids are complex components consisting of a phosphate molecule, a special sugar called a ribose sugar, consisting of the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen combinations: CH2 O OH and a hydrogen-nitrogen-oxygen base. There are only five possible bases: Adrenine, Guanine, Cytosine, Thymine and Uracil.

    Overall Function

    • The human body uses protein to grow and repair tissues, where it breaks down carbohydrates into sugars as an energy source. The body uses lipids for cell membrane structure, as an energy source, they carry vitamins and antioxidants. Nucleic acids form the basis for DNA, which is the blueprint for life and RNA, which is the instructions to build life.

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