Meaning of Biochemistry

Originating from the French biochimie, the concept of biochemistry is used in Spanish to identify the science that is responsible for studying the structure and functions of living beings from a chemical perspective. Also known as biochemist or biochemist is the specialist in this matter and everything that is associated with or refers to the phenomena that he studies.

The most accurate definition is the one that expresses that it is a branch of science (it fuses chemistry and biology) in charge of the study of the substances that are present in living organisms and of the fundamental chemical reactions for vital processes.

Proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and acids are some of the components that are analyzed from biochemistry, a discipline for which every living being has carbon. In general, it is usually indicated that biochemistry focuses on the study of the bases of life, since its object of study is the molecules that are part of both cells and tissues of living beings.

Historians place the origin of biochemistry in 1893, when the French chemist, physicist and mathematician Anselme Payen discovered the first enzyme (diastase), a protein-like substance that is characterized by catalyzing chemical reactions. In any case, notions on biochemistry have been used since prehistoric times, in situations such as the making of leavened bread, for example.

Over time, discoveries in chemistry contributed to the development of medicine, genetics, and biology, among other areas. The activity of biochemists develops in different stages, such as research, laboratory work and industrial biochemistry.

One of the main achievements of biochemistry was the decoding of the human genome, made up of the DNA sequence contained in 23 pairs of chromosomes. Of these 23 pairs, 22 are autosomal and one is the one that determines sex (women have two X chromosomes and men have one X and one Y chromosome).

Biochemistry and nutrients

In the study of chemical reactions, one of the specialties of biochemistry is in the analysis of nutrients, which are divided into five specific groups: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals; These include 50 substances that appear to be essential for achieving balanced health and normal growth.

Our body requires energy to be able to carry out any activity, even to carry out the mere mechanism of breathing. Thanks to the invention of the calorimeter, researchers can find out which are the nutrients that provide the amount of energy an organism needs; It is worth mentioning that according to the activity carried out, the energy demands differ.

The study of biochemicals consists of knowing how much energy each of these nutrients contributes and thanks to this it is possible to know that 1 gram of protein or pure carbohydrate produces 4 calories while 1 gram of pure fat produces 9.

It should be clarified that each nutrient fulfills a particular function:

* Proteins are responsible for producing body tissue and synthesizing enzymes, and the recommended amount of protein for an adult is 0.8 grams per kilo of weight;

* Minerals are responsible for the structural reconstruction of body tissues and collaborate with the action of enzyme systems (muscle contraction, nervous reactions and blood clotting). The fundamental minerals are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, sodium and potassium;

* Vitamins are those that help improve the way of absorption of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. There are many types of vitamins, the most important being those that participate in the formation of blood cells, hormones and the liver;

* Carbohydrates are the main nutrients for energy supply since they are found in the greatest amount of food, as well as in alcoholic beverages. During the metabolism process, carbohydrates are burned in order to obtain energy;

* Fats provide the body with more than 50% of energy, and are a compact type fuel that is perfectly stored to be used when necessary. Although in a natural environment they are essential nutrients (they allow to create reserves during periods of abundant food to consume at the time of scarcity), in our modern societies where there is always food at our disposal, they have become a fundamental cause of problems of health.

Finally, we will point out that without biochemistry certain branches considered essential for medicine would not exist, such as nutrition, since thanks to the contributions of this science it is that it can further study the functioning of our organism and propose different variants for food that improve the health of individuals.


About the author