What You Need to Know about Amino Acids: Properties, Functions, & More

‍You probably know that amino acids are the building blocks of protein. But did you know certain amino acids can boost your performance and recovery time, speed up your metabolism, and even help you lose weight?

Even though it is a small part of your diet, the right combination of amino acids can greatly impact your health. There are 20 types of amino acids in total — nine essential and 11 non-essential. Your body does not naturally produce these substances; you must ingest them from the foods you eat. This amino has specific roles in the body.

For example, some help with immune functions while others play a role in cell repair. Some increase serotonin levels to improve mood, while others may help prevent depression. Let’s take a closer look at each type of amino acid and its benefits below.

What are the 9 Essential Amino Acids?

There are nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own, no matter how healthy you are. This essential amino is called essential because they are essential for your health. This amino can only be derived from food, so you do need to eat a healthy balanced diet that includes the right amount of protein to get this amino.

For example, if you consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, you will get the necessary amount of amino acids for optimal health. There are other amino acids that are non-essential, meaning you can make them on your own if you have healthy kidneys and liver. The nine essential amino acids are 

Histidine: This amino acid is an important part of your immune system. It is also used to make certain hormones and enzymes in the body. Foods that are rich in histidine include dairy products, meat, fish, beans, and eggs. 

Isoleucine: This amino acid is necessary for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. It is also helpful for blood sugar control and the production of energy in the body. Foods rich in isoleucine include fish, eggs, whole grains, dairy products, and legumes such as soybeans. 

Leucine: This amino acid is essential for tissue growth, especially muscle. It also helps with the formation of neurotransmitters that improve mood. Foods rich in leucine include fish, meat, eggs, soybeans, and dairy products. 

Lysine: This amino acid is important for tissue growth and tissue health. It helps with the formation of collagen, which is a connective tissue found in the skin, ligaments, and tendons. Foods that are rich in lysine include fish, meat, beans, and eggs. 

Methionine: This amino acid is important for metabolism and energy production. It also helps with the breakdown of fats in the body. Foods rich in methionine include fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Phenylalanine: Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid for the brain and nervous system function. Foods are rich in Phenylalanine foods, such as milk, eggs and meat.

Threonine: Threonine is an amino acid that helps to maintain the proper protein balance in the body. 

Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps to produce and maintain the body’s protein. Foods are rich in tryptophan milk, canned tuna, oats, chicken, cheese, nuts and seeds.

Valine: Valine amino acid helps to increase endurance, aid in muscle tissue recovery and enhance energy. Foods are rich in valine mushrooms, whole grains, soy, cheese, peanuts, and vegetables.

What are the Benefits of Amino Acids?

Boosts mood and mental health – Amino acids have been shown to reduce anxiety and help with symptoms of depression. 

Protects the liver – Having a healthy liver is important for the proper functioning of the body. Amino acids are processed in the liver, so it is important to keep your liver healthy. 

Promotes healthy blood flow – Amino acids are responsible for the health of your veins and arteries. Certain amino acids can help lower your blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels, and keep your cholesterol in check. 

Promotes healthy bones – Amino acids are important nutrients for bone health since they regulate calcium metabolism. Consuming the right amount of amino acids is essential for strong bones. 

Helps prevent muscle breakdown – Amino acids are used to build proteins and muscles throughout the body. Without these amino acids, your body won’t have the necessary materials to make muscle. 

Helps with muscle growth – Amino acids help build muscles and repair damaged ones. Therefore, consuming amino acids can help you build new muscles after a workout. 

Boosts metabolism – Amino acids can help boost your metabolism as long as you have healthy kidneys and liver. Amino acids are used to produce energy and heat in your body. 

Improves immune function – Amino acids are important for a healthy immune system. They are vital for the production of antibodies that are used to fight off infections.

Essential Amino Acids

The nine essential amino acids listed above are absolutely crucial for your health. You absolutely cannot live without them. These amino acids must come from dietary sources in order to be absorbed by your body. For example, tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids. It is derived from eggs, poultry, peas, tofu, and other dairy products. Tryptophan helps produce serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is a mood-boosting chemical that helps improve your mood and sleep. Glycine is another essential amino acid. It is derived from beef, fish, and dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt. Glycine is essential for the proper functioning of organs and cells in your body. It is also crucial for the production of proteins.

Can Amino Acids be Harmful?

While amino acids are necessary for a healthy body, too many of them can be harmful. For example, excess levels of aspartic acid are known to cause dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Too many arginine amino acids can cause you to have loose bowels, increased thirst, and a bitter taste in the mouth.

Excessive levels of cystine can lead to neurological and psychiatric disorders. Excessive levels of glutamic acid can cause neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Excessive levels of glycine can lead to a stiff and swollen body. Excessive levels of histidine can cause anemia, cramps, and digestive disorders. Excessive levels of isoleucine can cause fatigue and insomnia.

Excessive levels of leucine can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Excessive levels of lysine can cause liver damage, mental disorders, and mood disorders. Excessive levels of phenylalanine can cause mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Excessive levels of tryptophan can cause an increase in serotonin, leading to anxiety and mood disorders.

These are just examples of how amino acids are harmful when ingested in excess amounts. It is important to keep in mind that the body is a delicate machine. If you put too much of one substance in it, it can throw the entire thing out of balance.

Conclusion: Importance of Amino Acids

Amino acids are essential nutrients that must be consumed in order to remain healthy. There are nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. These amino acids are responsible for regulating functions throughout the body.

Any healthy balanced diet will include this amino, but if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor about your amino acid intake. Drink water, eat a balanced diet, and get off your phone to stay fit and healthy!


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