amino acid pool
the supply of amino acids derived from either food proteins or body proteins that collect in the cells and circulating blood and stand ready to be incorporated in proteins and other compounds or used for energy.
amino acid scoring
a method of evaluating protein quality by comparing a test protein's amino acid pattern with that of a reference protein, sometimes called chemical scoring.
building blocks of proteins; each contains an amino group, an acid group, a hydrogen atom, and a distinctive side group attached to a central carbon atom.
biological value (BV)
the amount of protein nitrogen that is retained for growth and maintenance, expressed as a percentage of the protein nitrogen that has been digested and absorbed; a measure of protein quality.
two or more proteins whose amino acid assortments complement each other in such a way that the essential amino acids missing from one are supplied by the other.
a protein containing all the amino acids essential in human nutrition in amounts adequate for human use.
conditionally essential amino acid
an amino acid that is normally nonessential, but must be supplied by the diet in special circumstances when the need for it exceeds the body's ability to produce it.
the change in a protein's shape brought about by heat, acid, base, alcohol, heavy metals, or other agents.
proteins that facilitate chemical reactions without being changed in the process; protein catalysts.
essential amino acids
amino acids that the body cannot synthesize in amounts sufficient to meet physiological needs.
chemical messengers. Hormones are secreted by a variety of endocrine glands in response to altered conditions in the body. Each travels to one or more specific target tissues or organs, where it elicits a specific response.
a form of PEM that results from either inadequate protein intake, or more commonly, from infections.
limiting amino acid
the essential amino acid found in the shortest supply relative to the amounts needed for protein synthesis in the body.
a form of PEM that results from a severe deprivation, or impaired absorption, of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
net protein utilization (NPU)
the amount of protein nitrogen that is retained from a given amount of protein nitrogen eaten; a measure of protein quality.
the amount of nitrogen consumed as compared with the amount of nitrogen excreted in a given period of time.
protein efficiency ratio (PER)
a measure of protein quality assessed by determining how well a given protein supports weight gain in growing rats; used to establish the protein quality for infant formulas and baby foods.
protein-digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS)
a measure of protein quality assessed by comparing the amino acid balance of a food protein with the amino acid requirements of preschool-aged children and then correcting for the true digestibility of protein
protein-energy malnutrition (PEM)
also called protein-kcalorie malnutrition (PCM). A deficiency of both protein and energy; the world's most widespread malnutrition problem, including kwashiorkor, marasmus, and instances in which they overlap.
compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms, arranged into amino acids linked in a chain. Some amino acids also contain sulfur atoms.