Every type of protein is constructed of a long sequence of amino acids, which are organic compounds made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. You might think of protein as a chain and amino acids as the links. About 20 amino acids (or 22, depending on how they`re categorized) are combined to make proteins in great structural variety. Protein types number in the hundreds of thousands, each with a sequence that is unique in the number, type, order, and shape of amino acids in its chain.
There are two categories of amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot produce. These 9 amino acids must be derived from your diet. The 11 nonessential amino acids are naturally synthesized in the body - but they are still essential to your health and well-being.
In this model, carbon atoms are dark gray, hydrogen atoms are white, nitrogen atoms are blue, radicals are purple, and oxygen atoms are red.
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