Essential Amino Acids: Definition and Benefits
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Some amino acids are made in the body and some are obtained from food sources. The human body has 20 different amino acids. 9 are essential amino acids that the body cannot make and must be obtained through the diet. The other 11 amino acids found in the body are non-essential because the body can create them.
Though amino acids are building blocks of protein, individual amino acids have specific functions in the body as well.
There are some amino acids that are generally not essential, except during times of illness or stress. These amino acids, like glutamine and arginine, are classified as conditionally essential.
Benefits of Amino Acids
- Amino acids help fuel skeletal muscles
- Amino acids are involved in protein synthesis and nitrogen balance in the body.
- Amino acids are needed to build the various proteins used in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues such as skin, bones, and muscles.
Essential amino acids:
Each of the essential amino acids plays a different role:
Leucine, isoleucine & valine: These three essential amino acids are clubbed together under branched-chain amino acids. (BCAA). Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids that are involved in the growth and repair of muscle tissue. BCAAs are useful for athletes because these amino acids can be metabolized directly in muscles. They are involved in the growth and repair of muscle tissue, help to reduce the amount of protein breakdown, and help to preserve muscle glycogen stores. Click here to know GNC BCAA.
Methionine: Methionine is one of the multiple precursors to creatine, a compound involved in immediate energy production during exercise. Methionine helps in the absorption of selenium and zinc. Meat, fish, cheese, dairy, beans, seeds, chia seeds, brazil nuts, oats, wheat, figs, whole grain rice, beans, legumes, onions, and cacao are the good sources.
Histidine: Histidine is not only helped to detoxify the body by producing red and white blood cells and also is an important amino acid for supporting neurotransmitter histamine. Red meat, cheese, white meat and poultry, seafood, soybeans, beans, legumes, chia seeds, buckwheat, potatoes are some of the excellent sources of histidine.
Lysine: Lysine is one of the main amino acids that is responsible for muscle repair and growth, and has also been shown to boost the body’s immune system. It can also play a role in aiding injury or recovery or also may act as an anti-viral. Eggs, meat, poultry, beans, peas, cheese, chia seeds, spirulina, parsley, avocados, almonds, cashews, and whey protein are an excellent source of lysine.
Tryptophan: One of the essential amino acids which help to make vitamin b2, melatonin, and serotonin. Chocolate, milk, cheese, turkey, red meat, yogurt, eggs, fish, poultry, chickpeas, almonds, sunflower seed, spirulina, bananas, and peanuts are some of the excellent sources.
Phenylalanine: Phenylalanine plays an important in the biosynthesis of other amino acids and is important in the structure and function of many proteins and enzymes. Sources of phenylalanine: milk and dairy, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, spirulina, seaweed, pumpkin, beans, rice, avocado, almonds, peanuts, quinoa, figs, raisins, leafy greens, most berries, olives, and seeds.
Threonine: Threonine forms an essential part of collagen and elastin, which are important components of the skin and connective tissue. It also plays a role in fat metabolism and immune function. It is very rarely found in animal protein. Sources include cottage cheese, chicken, fish, meat, lentil, and oilseeds.
This sums up; all 9 essential amino acids are required and are interconnected with each other for proper bodily functions.
So, whenever you buy whey protein powder for yourself, double-check the protein quality. Your Protein Powder should have all 9 essential amino acids present and help outreach your goal!!