Monday, September 13, 2010

Feed Me, Feed Me

Starting to build molecules from our "Super Hero Atoms" we will began to build the three basic food groups...carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Carbohydrates are built teaming our strong man "carbon" with skittish "hydrogen" and our out going "oxygen". Short chains of carbon atoms, five to six in number, form the sugars. Glucose, fructose, mannose, and galactose are the "six carbon sugars". Ribose, ribulose, oxylose, and other strange names are the five carbon sugars. Approximately two-thirds of our cells energy come burning these sugars (carbohydrates). Now to build DNA our bodies use a five carbon sugar called ribose, but more will be said about this later.

Fats are built by joining long, long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms. When linked together they form triglycerides (lipids) and fatty acids. About one-quarter of the energy produced by our bodies come from fats. However, it mainly serves as reserve to sugars for producing energy. Fats have very little to do with DNA.

Proteins are made when carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are bound together. They become large molecules, and their size helps them from leaking out of cells. The bond which makes proteins special surrounds our introvert "nitrogen". When nitrogen binds with carbon it is called a "peptide bond". This nitrogen is housed in a molecule called an "amino acid" and brings this amino acid along with it as it binds to the carbon atom. Long chains of these nitrogen-carbon bonds (peptide bonds) are what make up proteins. Thus, formally, proteins are polymers (long chains) of amino acids. When long chains of proteins are created they form a structural feature called a protein "helix". Sound familiar? DNA is housed in a protein "double helix". Now you know why DNA is called a "double helix"! Were almost ready to build our DNA.

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