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Ammonia – Breakdown of Protein (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:00 So let's take a look at this visually.

    00:02 Now relax, you're not going to have to draw this, I just want you to see it.

    00:07 For those of us that are really visual people, it helps you remember this when you can see it.

    00:12 So we're gonna look at deamination and how we end up with ammonia.

    00:17 So look you've got... we broke off that amino acid, and look at that fellow that's over on the other side of your screen come in.

    00:23 There you go.

    00:24 When it connects, we end up with NH3.

    00:29 Ammonia contains one nitrogen, you see that blue ball and three hydrogen, you see them right there - boom, boom, boom.

    00:38 So that's how we end up with ammonia - deamination.

    00:42 You got an amino acid removed hooked up with another hydrogen and boom! you've got ammonia.

    00:48 Now, why is that a problem? Well, look what's going on in that slide.

    00:53 Those little ammonia suckers are attacking your central nervous system - your brain.

    00:59 Too much ammonia is toxic to your brain.

    01:02 Let me stop and pause right there.

    01:06 Yeah, too much ammonia - toxic to your brain.

    01:10 Now why would I stop and stare at you for just a minute because this is crucially important.

    01:16 When someone's liver is not functioning, then I know wow, I got to take a look at that ammonia level, was that being affected by it? People who have cirrhosis, or livers that are really struggling are going to have high ammonia levels, I'm gonna watch them for CNS changes.

    01:30 People that have too much protein might end up with high ammonia levels, right? That's what the BUN tips us off to.

    01:37 So keep in mind protein metabolism - essential for life.

    01:41 When I break down the protein, I end up with ammonia as a waste product.

    01:47 If I've got more than my body can handle, it's gonna be toxic to my brain.

    01:52 That's why I've got rely on a strong healthy liver to take that ammonia and turn it into urea.

    01:58 Now why do I want urea? because it's highly soluble in water.

    02:03 Okay, write that in your notes: urea - highly soluble in water Okay so that's a safe vehicle for the body to transport that and get that out with all the excess nitrogen So if I turn the ammonia into urea, that will help me transport that ammonia product when I change it into urea and get rid of that excess nitrogen.

    02:26 So remember that we're looking at BUN, that's how we're gonna get rid of your urea and nitrogen.

    02:32 So let's walk through how the liver does that, how does it break it into urea? Well we know this is a protective function of the brain cause we're looking at CH4...

    02:43 Yeah, don't worry about the actual chemical formula, just keep in mind, the liver protects the brain by transforming ammonia to something that we can pee out of our bodies.

    02:54 Makes sense? So let's look at it graphically, first start with a nitrogen and nitrogen combine with other elements to form urea.

    03:02 There you go.

    03:03 The elements nitrogen combined with are carbon.

    03:06 So see in our picture you see the nitrogen and then you see the little grey ball for the carbon.

    03:11 Now the elements of nitrogen combined with our carbon and four hydrogen, don't memorize this, okay? This isn't the part I need you to remember, I just want you to see the process and how it goes down.

    03:25 So look we've got the elements of nitrogen combining with carbon, hydrogen and one oxygen.

    03:32 boom bada bing! there's urea.

    03:35 That's how it goes from what we had originally into urea.

    03:40 Now it's a chemical waste product that can be excreted by the kidneys.

    03:44 Ammonia can not be excreted by the kidneys but urea can.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Ammonia – Breakdown of Protein (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – Renal Assessment (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Brain damage
    2. Heart dysrhythmias
    3. Kidney calculi
    4. Sepsis
    1. Urea is water-soluble
    2. Urea is fat-soluble
    3. Urea can be stored in the liver
    4. Urea can be used in body processes

    Author of lecture Ammonia – Breakdown of Protein (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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