Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life.
Amino acids are molecular structures that work together to build proteins. A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue are made up of amino acids. 20% of the human body is made up of protein. When proteins are broken down by the body, amino acids remain. Amino’s really are then, the building blocks or foundation of all life. Amino acids are used by the body to make proteins and perform important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure.
Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes in the body. Amino acids have an influence on the function of organs, glands, tendons and arteries. The lack of protein can be the cause of many negative health issues due to the limited supply of nutrients. These can include skin problems, weight problems, hair loss, sleep disorders as well as other problems.
Amino acids are essential for many basic body functions such as giving cells their structure and repairing muscle tissue. Amino’s also play a key role in the transport and the storage of nutrients. They’re required for the digestion of foods and many other other functions including detoxification and the production of hormones.
Amino’s are essential for healing and repairing muscle tissue, bones, and skin as well as helping the body:
- Digest and process food
- Tissue growth
- Repair of muscle and body tissue
- Perform body functions like detoxification
Types of Amino Acids
Despite the number of amino acid profiles, there are only 20 amino acids regarded as necessary for human health. These amino acids are grouped into three categories – Essential, Non-essential & Conditionally essential. Additionally a number of these amino acids can also be classified as branched-chain amino acids.
- Essential – Essential amino acids are those that the human body cannot produce on its own; they’re always obtained from the diet, without exception. Eight amino acids are essential for humans, as the body cannot produce them by themselves, and they have to be supplied externally. These are: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
- Non-Essential – Non-essential amino acids can be assembled or synthesized by the human body from ingested materials and do not need to be obtained from the diet. These five are alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid and serine
- Conditionally Essential – Normally your body is capable of producing conditionally essential amino acids and doesn’t need to obtain them from your diet. However, in certain stressful situations, the body requires higher levels of these amino acids and obtains them from your diet. You may see these amino acids also referred to as conditionally non-essential, but they’re one and the same. There are seven conditionally essential amino acids – arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, proline, and serine.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids – The essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine collectively are referred to as the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).This amino acid group accounts for approximately 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins, with 40% required from a healthy diet. They’re critical for muscle protein synthesis and they support normal muscle repair processes.
Free-Form Amino Acids – Free-form amino acids refer to single amino acids that are already in a pre-digested form and ready to be used by your body. Some nutritional products, especially amino acid blends, contain whole proteins and large peptides (chains of amino acids), which the body must first break down into smaller peptides and individual amino acids before use. For faster utilization and better bioavailability, look for free-form amino acids.
In addition, there are several amino acids, peptides and amino acid-like nutrients that support various body systems, including L-Carnitine, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), Citrulline, Glutathione, and others.