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The functions of protein in the human body are diverse and essential for vital processes and structures. Proteins are chains of amino acids. The body can make some amino acids but others, essential amino acids, must come from food. The digestive process breaks down food into a variety of nutrients and waste. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are then recombined to form the specific proteins the body needs.

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1. Hemoglobin

Hemoglobin is a protein inside red blood cells. It contains iron within a structure called a heme group and the iron provides blood's red color. Hemoglobin binds oxygen through heme groups. The lungs then pick up oxygen and transport it throughout the body in the arteries. Hemoglobin releases oxygen to cells, then red blood cells travel back to the lungs through the veins to pick up more oxygen.

Mohammed Haneefa Nizamudeen / Getty Images

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.