Difference Between Amino Acid and Protein (With Table)

There are several important components in the body of both animals and humans that are needed for the proper and overall development of the body. Among these are amino acids and proteins. Both of them are found in humans and animals. There is confusion why they are needed in the body, but not many are aware of how they are produced. Both of them are similar in several ways, but this does not make the same. There are several differences among both that are mentioned below to have a better understanding of them.

Amino Acid vs Protein

The difference between Amino Acid and Protein as protein is a part of amino acids or are made up from them only, whereas amino acids is a vaster concept in comparison. While when compared, not every amino acid can be produced in the body itself. Some of them have to be taken through food or drinks, while our body can synthesis all necessary proteins that are required. Both of them are also different in terms of functions and molecular mass. All proteins are essential, while not all amino acids are essential for the body.

Compounds responsible for the synthesis of proteins are called Amino Acids. All of the amino acids are required by the body, and therefore not all of them are synthesized inside the body. Their main function is only to make protein. They are micro molecular. They are types of amino acids categorized as essential and non-essential.

Protein is one of the nutrients required by the body for proper functioning. They can be synthesized in our bodies. They are macromolecular. They perform more than one function in the body. Proteins are of different types categorized as complete and incomplete proteins. All of them are essential for the body; therefore, if any of them is not fully synthesized in the body, they are consumed in the form of food.

Comparison Table Between Amino Acid and Protein

Parameters of ComparisonAmino AcidProtein
MeaningBuilding blocks of proteinThe String of amino acids
Synthesize in bodySome can be synthesizedAll can be synthesized
Molecular massSmallerHigher
FunctionsResponsible for protein synthesisProper growth and functioning of the body.
EssentialNot all are essentialAll proteins are essential

What is Amino Acid?

Amino acids impact the physical strength of a person. There are types of essential amino acids that include the following:

  1. Lysine: This is required for building muscles, increasing bone strength, making the immune system strong to heal the body after injury, and have antiviral effects. There is no hard evidence of what major disease can cause due to lack of this, but it can surely cause anxiety.
  2. Histidine: it increases the growth of blood cells and is responsible for the repairing of tissue. It protects the covering of the myelin sheath. Deficiency of this can lead to anemia and kidney-related disease.
  3. Threonine: it is essential for skin health. They also play an important role in strong teeth. People suffering from indigestion and mild depression should take this for its benefits that can be very helpful. A study showed that lack of this in animals caused them weaker to diseases.  
  4. Methionine: it is not required for any strong or main purpose but can be very helpful for nails, skin, and hair.
  5. Isoleucine: it is helpful in healing injuries, boosting immunity, maintaining blood sugar levels. It is also responsible for hormone production. Deficiency can cause muscles related problem that is very common in older adults.
  6. Leucine: helpful in repairing bone and regulating blood sugar levels. Deficiency can cause hair loss, fatigue, and irritation on the skin.
  7. Tryptophan and Phenylalanine are types of amino acids that are required by the body for proper growth and to make sure the rest of the amino acids are used by the body, respectively. Deficiency of these can cause genetic disorders, pellagra, and digestive issues.

What is Protein?

Proteins are synthesized by amino acids and perform various functions in the body. Sources of proteins are seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, legumes, nuts, seeds, cheese, soy products, milk, and yogurt, and curd.

Deficiency of protein can cause the following problems:

  1. Anorexia and Nervosa: the person with this can have a deficiency of protein, or even the person suffering from with can have high chances in the future of getting protein deficiency.  
  2. Weak muscles and bones: this is the most important function performed by every type of protein; if there is a deficiency, it will foremost impact the muscles and makes the bone weaker.
  3. Thin and heavy hair fall: lack of protein leads to thin hair and ultimately results in hair fall. To avoid this, certain gummies are consumed to reduce the deficiency.
  4. Growth deficiency: growth in infants will be very low and uneven.
  5. Hormonal imbalance: protein deficiency can cause hormonal imbalance, as amino acids are responsible for the synthesis of hormones.

Proteins in diet can be increased by just replacing unhealthy junk food with fast food that is rich in protein and other nutritional content, for example, nuts, roasted, chickpeas, etc., curd and dairy products should be added to the meal. Proteins bar with high sugar content should be avoided.

Main Differences Between Amino Acid and Protein

  1. Amino acids are the blocks that are building by proteins, whereas proteins are strings made up of amino acids.
  2. Both of them can be synthesized in our bodies. While all proteins can be synthesized in the body itself, not all the amino acids required by the body can be synthesized in it.
  3. Both of them are different in terms of molecular mass. Proteins are macromolecules, therefore, have higher molecular mass in comparison to amino acids that have relatively smaller molecular mass.
  4. Less number of amino acids are required for the synthesis of proteins, mainly 20 are needed in all organisms, but in the case of amino acids, millions of proteins are produced in different organisms.
  5. The structure of amino acids consists of an amino group (NH2), a hydrogen atom (H), and a carboxylic acid group (COOH), along with a variable side chain (R), whereas proteins are the string of amino acids linked with a peptide bond.
  6. Amino acid only has one function of synthesis of protein, whereas proteins perform several functions in the body, from development to proper growth, and lack of protein results in several diseases.  

Conclusion

Hence, all differences should be clear and how they function, and why they are needed. Despite all the above differences, they are similar in ways such as both of them are biomolecules found in animals, both of them are made up of C, N, H, O, and S, both of them can be consumed through different food (curd, pulses, eggs, etc.), they have synthesized in the body also, etc.

Both of them have several importances such as needed for the strong immune system, for healthy growth, for fighting against several diseases, proper working of organs in the body, etc. there are some diseases to associate with excess consumption of proteins.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123196521500045
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/amino-acids-and-immune-function/B1A9C1587A8602613F6447BA8404D8E1
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065323308600091
  4. http://www.aquafair.de/bild/Krill_Enhance.pdf
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065323308600170
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