Complete Guide to Amino Acids

by | Nov 9, 2020

Amino acids are essential for development in all areas of the body. They are used in every cell and tissue for structural development. The translocation of nutrients and their storage in our bodies also rely heavily on amino acids. For this reason, there is a need to understand why amino acids are essential, how they are broken down by enzymes, their benefits, and side effects.

What are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are available in the body as organic compounds that act as protein building blocks or free amino acids. In their formula, they include an amine group, a carboxyl group, and a side chain. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are the main elements that make up amino acids, although the side chain may feature various other elements.

Peptide bonds further link these groups. Scientists argue that there are over 500 amino acid groups in your body, but only about 20 or so of them are visible on the code. Water is the main constituent of your muscles and tissue, while amino acids come in second. These organic nutrients are also essential in influencing neurotransmitters and biosynthesis.

When you want to classify amino acids, you have to consider their pH, polarity, form of side chain, location, and structure of the function group.

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What are the 21 Amino Acids?

There are 21 amino acids that may be referred to as proteinogenic. Proteinogenic amino acids “are incorporated into proteins during translation.”

These are further subdivided into nine essential amino acids, five nonessential amino acids and seven conditionally essential amino acids.

The amino acids include:

  • Histidine (His)
  • Isoleucine (Ile)
  • Leucine (Leu)
  • Lysine (Lys)
  • Methionine (Met)
  • Phenylalanine (Phe)
  • Threonine (Thr)
  • Tryptophan (Trp)
  • Valine (Val)
  • Arginine (Arg)
  • Cysteine (Cys)
  • Glutamine (Gln)
  • Glycine (Gly)
  • Proline (Pro)
  • Serine (Ser)
  • Tyrosine (Tyr)
  • Alanine (Ala)
  • Asparagine (Asn)
  • Aspartic acid (Asp)
  • Glutamic acid (Glu)
  • Selenocysteine (Sec)

Amino Acid Types

The 21 amino acids can be subdivided into four groups:

  • Glucogenic and Ketogenic Amino Acids
  • Sulfur-Containing Amino Acids
  • Acidic and Basic Amino Acids
  • Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Glucogenic and Ketogenic Amino Acids

Gluconeogenesis is the process through which amino acids are changed into glucose. This conversion happens to all glucogenic amino acids except lysine and leucine.

Other amino acids can be regenerated into ketones, which is essential to the brain if carbohydrates typically used for brain fuel are lacking in the diet.

These include isoleucine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and tyrosine. They also act as neurotransmitters.

Sulfur-Containing Amino Acids

Cysteine, homocysteine, methionine, and taurine contain sulfur. They can be found in various foods, while others can be synthesized naturally in the body. Homocysteine is synthesized in your body when proteins are being broken down.

Certain energy drinks and red meat are rich in taurine. This also applies to fish. Cysteine and methionine can be obtained from multiple animal and plant foods that include tuna, cheese, ham, pork, certain legumes, seeds, and nuts.

Acidic and Basic Amino Acids

Aspartic and glutamic acid are acidic amino acids, while arginine, histidine, and lysine are basic.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

These are essential amino acids that trigger the production of proteins in the muscles. They include leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

What Amino Acids are Essential?

The essential amino acids include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

They are critical to human health, but since they are not naturally produced in the body, you need to consume foods that are rich in them.

Significant Roles of Essential Amino Acids

Research has undercovered some of the roles amino acids play in the body, but there are still questions regarding exactly what each does.

Histidine: This amino acid is typically consumed in food. Histidine works with the development and repair of tissues and in the production of blood cells.

Isoleucine: We know isoleucine is an essential amino acid, but aside from that, we’re in the territory of speculation. We think it helps with hemoglobin production, which is the pigment that makes red blood cells red. There’s also some indication that it can help with blood sugar levels, energy, and endurance.

Leucine: This is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) – one of three. Skeletal muscles use BCAAs during exercise for energy. There’s also some evidence it can help with lean body mass and muscle growth.

Lysine: There’s not a lot of definitive research on lysine. We believe this amino acid could work with bone health, immune function, stress intolerance, and fatigue.

Methionine: We understand that methionine works as an antioxidant, which fights free radical and oxidative damage to cells. There are also some who believe it works to detox the body of harmful materials like heavy metals.

Phenylalanine: This amino acid may be used to alter mood, reduce pain, decrease appetite, and treat obesity, according to research and claims. There also appears to be a connection between phenylalanine and memory.

Threonine: Threonine is found in tooth enamel and we know it’s important for the health and function of the nervous system.

Tryptophan: The most significant role tryptophan plays involves the production of niacin, which is needed to create serotonin – a critical neurotransmitter.

Valine: Valine is a promoting amino acid. It promotes tissue repair and muscle growth. It also plays a role as a precursor for specific biosynthetic pathways.

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Conditionally Essential Amino Acids

Conditionally essential amino acids include:

  • Arginine
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine

This means that they are produced in the human body. However, you will need to consume specific foods to meet the required level of such amino acids when you are ill, working out or following a vegetarian or vegan diet since most complete proteins, which contain all amino acids, are animal-based.

Children may also need to supplement their levels of conditionally essential amino acids by increasing their intake of certain foods.

Significant Roles of Conditionally Essential Amino Acids

So, what role do conditionally essential amino acids play in the body? Let’s take a closer look.

Arginine: L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide in the human body. Nitric oxide is a powerful neurotransmitter and vasodilator. There’s also evidence that the amino acid works to promote wound healing, remove body waste, and support immune and hormone function.

Cysteine: Cysteine may play a variety of roles in the body, but it’s predominantly utilized in beta-keratin, the protein most commonly found in skin, hair and nails.

Glutamine: There are two forms of glutamine – L-glutamine and D-glutamine. Foods and supplements provide the L-glutamine form. This amino acid is a crucial fuel source of the immune system, including some intestinal cells and white blood cells.

Glycine: Studies show that glycine may improve cognition, especially in patients with schizophrenia. It’s also been shown to help with mild sleep disturbances or poor sleep quality.

Proline: Proline is a unique amino acid structure usually found at the end of a protein known as an alpha helix. In this manner, proline plays a significant role in providing strong structures for proteins, helping them resist the stresses of particular environments. Proline also plays a role in the synthesis of arginine, polyamines, and glutamate.

Serine: Serine plays a major role in cell development, signaling, and metabolism. In addition to acting as a building block of numerous proteins, Serine also works in the formation of phospholipids and sphingolipids, which works with the nervous system.

Tyrosine: Tyrosine is an essential component for a class of nervous system molecules called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are used to carry messages from cell to cell, triggering action potentials that help the nervous system communicate with cells throughout the body. Tyrosine can also play a role in moods and emotions.

What Amino Acids are Nonessential?

Alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and selenocysteine are the nonessential amino acids.

These are naturally produced by the body from fatty acids, glucose, or even amino acids themselves.

Since they are synthesized in the body in enough quantity, you need not consume any foods to get them.

Significant Roles of Nonessential Amino Acids

Some of the nonessential amino acids include:

Alanine: Alanine is a nonessential amino acid that helps the body make a variety of proteins. This amino acid is used to break down both vitamin B6 and tryptophan into its component parts. Then, alanine functions as a source of energy for muscles, the central nervous system, and the immune system.

Asparagine: Asparagine is a nonessential amino acid that has three primary functions. First, asparagine helps direct other amino acids into the right positions to build proteins. Second, asparagine is converted into aspartate, used to form DNA, RNA, and ATP. Finally, asparagine is also a substrate and cofactor for enzymes called transaminases.

Aspartic Acid: Aspartic acid plays two significant roles in the body in both hormone production and nervous system function. Aspartic acid helps the body’s cells produce and release hormones in a consistent manner to maintain safe levels. Aspartic acid also facilitates the transmission of signals throughout the nervous system.

Glutamic Acid: Glutamic acid is one of the building blocks of proteins in the brain. It helps the neurons send and receive motor and sensory signals from other cells. There is some research that indicates that glutamic acid might play a role in the body’s learning and memory processes.

Selenocysteine: Selenocysteine works to maintain the body’s homeostasis and the regulation of the body’s basal metabolic rate. This amino acid is also an important building block for selenoproteins such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

What are Amino Acids Good For?

When you consume proteins, they are broken down in the body into amino acids. The amino acids in protein are then used in the body to facilitate functions such as muscle building. This is partly why people looking to workout take protein supplements.

Besides gaining more energy for motivating physical fitness, people looking to lose extra fat and build leaner bodies, consuming foods, or other items high in proteins is crucial. The roles that proteins play in your body will help you understand why amino acids are important.

Since amino acids are crucial in so many body processes, what exact benefits come with these little building blocks? We took a look at research in the areas of things like exercise, recovery, inflammation, immunity, fat loss, and more.

Exercise and Recovery

A study reported in Oxford Journals found that amino acid supplements in combination with an aerobic training program increased muscle strength and protein synthesis but did not increase muscle mass.

The Hong Kong Physiotherapy Journal reports that branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs) improved hip abductors’ strength on the opposite side for women with osteoarthritis who were scheduled for hip replacement.

A study cited by the Nutrients found that BCAAs reduced perceived muscle soreness in men after exercise, though the effect may be reduced for those with appropriate daily protein consumption.

Another International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research study reviewed eight previous studies and found that a BCAA supplement decreases delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after exercise.

Inflammation Reduction

If you have inflammation issues, especially for the people with injuries to the joints tissues or muscles, you should consume foods high in proteins. To be specific, the branched-chain amino acids help your body to synthesize more proteins in such parts. This brings an anti-inflammatory effect on the affected area.

According to the journal Nutrients, animal studies suggest that amino acid supplementation may promote improvements in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) but may not be enough to replace conventional therapy.

A Mediators of Inflammation study stated that amino acids play a role in IBD amelioration and summarized potential protective effects of amino acids in treating IBDs such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

According to BioMed Research International, amino acids combat intestinal inflammation by improving the function of the intestinal barrier, inhibiting pro-inflammatories, suppressing oxidative stress and mitigating injury.

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Immune Function

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reports that BCAAs in conjunction with other immuno-nutrients help support immune function during recovery from vigorous exercise.

According to the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, specific dietary amino acids are required to maximize the immune function of the intestine in domestic animals and humans.

The Pathology Oncology Research states that promising work has investigated how amino acids affect the proliferation of T-cells and their ability to clear tumors, but better understanding is needed for cancer treatment.

Fat Reduction and Weight Loss

According to scientists, amino acids are essential in decreasing abdominal fat deposits. They also help in weight reduction since they regulate metabolic processes for fat burning.

According to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), amino acids may promote weight loss by boosting workout performance, promoting muscle building, and increasing fat burn.

A Nutrition and Diabetes study enrolled Japanese adults in a diet and exercise program. It found a lower baseline level of most amino acids in those who lost the most weight with supplementation.

An International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research study found that BCAAs plus vitamin B6 did not significantly affect weight reduction in obese women but could possibly improve waist to hip measurement ratio.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that weight-loss diets in obese people reduced their concentration of BCAAs and aromatic amino acids (AAAs). The effect was less pronounced in high protein diets.

Muscle Damage and Recovery

A Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition study administered three amino acids – leucine, arginine, and glutamine – to healthy young women and found an increase in muscle mass and skin texture improvement.

The Nutrients reviewed the literature and concluded that BCAAs can mitigate low-to-moderate exercise-induced muscle damage, particularly if taken before exercise.

According to the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, leucine-enriched essential amino acids, which are known to increase protein synthesis in muscles, may also mitigate muscle damage from exercise and aid in muscle recovery.

A National Library of Science literature review concluded that BCAAs ameliorate muscle soreness and loss of muscle function after exercise when compared to rest and passive recovery.

Mental and Cognitive Function

Sometimes you may notice that your mental performance is low, a condition that can be attributable to the increased production of tryptophan. This is a precursor to serotonin, and it causes your brain to relax, thus slowing down the neurotransmitters. To boost your mental abilities, you need to increase your intake of BCAAs, which will prevent the excessive production of tryptophan.

A review in Endocrinology and Metabolism discussed studies concerning the correlation of BCAAs in cancers, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Some studies suggest the possibility that they are linked.

A review of studies in Nutrients found little evidence to date linking amino acids to cognitive decline but recommended further research to develop recommendations concerning supplementary amino acid intake for seniors.

An HHS Public Access author manuscript found a correlation between the presence of 3 BCAAs – isoleucine, leucine, and valine – and lowered dementia risk but made no conclusions about causality.

According to studies reviewed by Nutrients, supplementation or depletion of the amino acid tryptophan affects serotonin levels and has improved understanding of how serotonin affects mood and cognition.

Fatigue

Amid multiple tasks or exercises, your body may convert all the stored glycogen into energy. With the glycogen depleted, you will feel more tired than usual, especially in the afternoon when you may crave a siesta. Consuming amino acids in protein is a great method of improving your glycogen levels in the body, but that doesn’t mean reduced fatigue in all cases.

An Interventional Medicine & Applied Science study concluded that BCAA supplements had no effect on reduction in fatigue.

According to Nutrients, the amino acid glutamine given to athletes increased glycogen synthesis and reduced ammonia accumulation but did not improve physical performance.

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the BCAAs arginine and citrulline alleviated fatigue after three simulated matches in taekwondo athletes.

Amino Acid Disorders

According to Merck Manuals, the four primary amino acid disorders are:

  • Phenylketonuria
  • Homocystinuria
  • Maple Syrup Urine Disease
  • Tyrosinemia

Let’s take a closer look.

Amino acids play a significant role in the daily operations of numerous cells, organs, and tissues throughout the body. Commonly referred to as the building blocks of the body’s proteins, the human body would break down without amino acids.

Phenylketonuria (PKU)

Phenylketonuria, commonly shortened to PKU, is an inherited, rare disorder that causes a specific amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body. There is a defect in the gene that helps the body create the enzyme that is needed to break down phenylalanine.

Some of the most common symptoms of PKU include a musty odor that develops on the breath, skin, and in the urine when there is too much phenylalanine in the body. Some people might also develop neurological problems, including seizures.

The treatment of PKU it’s usually dietary modification. People with this condition are taught to recognize types of foods that have lots of phenylalanine in them so they can avoid them. By avoiding phenylalanine, people with PKU have a chance to live a relatively normal life.

Homocystinuria

Homocystinuria is an inherited condition that impacts the body’s ability to metabolize an amino acid called methionine. Usually, this disorder presents in the first few months to years of life. The most common ways that this disorder impacts the body includes dislocating the lenses of the eyes, abnormal blood clots, the development of osteoporosis, and developmental delay. This disorder is usually diagnosed by using an amino acid screen, a liver biopsy, and a genetic test.

Even though there is no cure for this disorder, the treatment is usually high doses of vitamin B6 while also taking a medication called betaine that removes homocysteine from the blood. It is also essential to eat a diet low in methionine.

Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)

MSUD is a disorder that impacts the body’s ability to metabolize branched-chain amino acids. The disease gets its name from the distinctive sweet smell that parents often notice when their babies produce urine. Some of the other ways this disorder might present include poor feeding, lack of energy, vomiting, and developmental delay. If this disorder is not treated correctly, this could lead to seizures, coma, and death.

This disorder is usually treated in two ways. First, people with this condition are taught to avoid amino acids that exacerbate the condition. Second, doctors will use medications to treat acute flares in symptoms.

Tyrosinemia

Tyrosinemia is a specific genetic disorder that prohibits the body from breaking down an amino acid called tyrosine. As a result, tyrosine starts to build up and break down other ways, leading to damage to the body’s tissues and organs. Some of the most common symptoms of this condition include bloody stools, diarrhea, poor weight gain, vomiting, and an odor that resembles cabbage.

Those who have this disorder are treated with dietary restrictions. People with this condition are taught to avoid both tyrosine and phenylalanine, as phenylalanine can also make this condition worse. Furthermore, individuals with his condition are also treated with a medication called nitisinone.

Food Sources of Amino Acids

Foods like meats, fish, seeds, nuts, poultry, and grains contain a wide range of amino acids, so we will focus on more specific food details rather than food groups. All information is pulled from data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. 

  • Histidine: pork chops, chicken breast, tuna, navy beans, milk, and seeds.
  • Isoleucine: skirt steak, pork chops, tuna, tofu, lentils, kamut, and seeds.
  • Leucine: chicken leg, pork chops, skirt steak, milk, ricotta cheese, and eggs.
  • Lysine: chicken breast, tuna, salmon, king crab, soybeans, and green peas. 
  • Methionine: ground turkey, tuna, pork chops, Brazil nuts, white beans, kidney beans, and quinoa.
  • Phenylalanine: chuck roast, chicken leg, ground turkey, tempeh, tilapia, and pinto beans. 
  • Threonine: roast beef, soybeans, bacon, ground turkey, liver, and hard cheeses.
  • Tryptophan: pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, soybeans, ground pork, chicken breast, and shellfish. 
  • Valine: veal roast, sirloin steak, chicken leg, ham roast, grouper, tofu, and low-fat yogurt. 
  • Arginine: turkey breast, chicken breast, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts.
  • Cysteine: pork chops, lamb roast, chicken leg, clams, lentils, and oatmeal. 
  • Glutamine: turkey breast, sirloin steak, soybeans, ground turkey, egg whites, and pigeon peas. 
  • Glycine: turkey breast, ground turkey, whitefish, soybeans, chicken leg, egg whites, and amaranth. 
  • Proline: cottage cheese, cream cheese, soy protein, cabbage, chicken breast, and hard cheeses.
  • Serine: egg whites, soy protein, seaweed, wild meats like elk, light meat turkey, and cottage cheese.
  • Tyrosine: lamb roast, beef stew meat, pork tenderloin, salmon, tuna, chicken leg, and tofu.
  • Alanine: seaweed, watercress, mushrooms, egg whites, light meat turkey, beef organ meats, and tuna.
  • Asparagine: whey, eggs, asparagus, potatoes, soy, and nuts.
  • Aspartic acid: cabbage, soy protein, halibut, asparagus, tilapia, bamboo shoots, and tuna.
  • Glutamic acid: soy protein, seeds, egg whites, parmesan cheese, soy flour, tofu, whitefish, and seeds.
  • Selenocysteine: same foods as listed for cysteine.

Every one of these food sources are allowed on the Noom diet plan? You know how we know that? Because ALL foods are allowed on Noom. We don’t ask you to stop eating anything you love.

Getting Amino Acids on a Vegetarian and Vegan Diet

As you may have noticed from the list of high-amino acids foods above, most amino acids are found in meat and dairy products. That doesn’t work well for some vegetarians and all vegans, so where do you get a well-rounded amino acid profile when you aren’t eating animal-based products?

According to MyFoodData, based off USDA Nutrition Data, the top 10 foods with all essential amino acids are:

  • “Firm Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Low-Fat Yogurt (some vegetarians)
  • Non-Fat Cheddar (some vegetarians)
  • Green Peas
  • Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Peanut Butter
  • Eggs (some vegetarians)
  • Mushrooms”

Just how much of your daily value of protein (the source of amino acids) do these foods provide? Firm tofu packs 87% per cup. Lentils come in at a far second with just 36% of the daily value per cup, and low-fat yogurt or milk rounds out the top three with about 30% of the daily value per cup.

When it comes to adopting or following a vegetarian or vegan diet and wanting to ensure you’re getting all the amino acids you need, it pays to eat a wide range of protein-rich foods. What’s most important is variety. You can’t get all the amino acids you need to eat from the same few foods every day. You have to think of everything you eat throughout the day or week as an ingredient in a recipe designed to create a complete protein in the total grams you need for overall health.

Complete Proteins for Vegetarians and Vegans

One of the major concerns that people have when they decide to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet is that they will not get enough protein in their diet. While many people get their protein from animal products, the reality is that there are plenty of plant-based sources of protein available that vegetarians and vegans can consume. At the same time, it is vital to make sure they are complete proteins.

When it comes to complete proteins, everyone needs to understand what they are and why they are important.

What Are Complete Proteins?

Proteins are made up of amino acids. The body needs amino acids to construct its tissues. Foods are called “complete proteins” if they contain adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Remember, essential amino acids are amino acids that the body cannot make from other molecules in its system. As a result, these amino acids are labeled “essential.”

If a food contains all of these amino acids in adequate amounts, then the protein source is labeled complete.

What Are They Important to Someone’s Health?

Everyone needs to make sure they eat enough complete proteins because these amino acids are important to just about all of the body’s functions. These amino acids are the building blocks of the body’s most important organs and tissues. Because the body cannot make these essential proteins on its own, it will not support these critical structures and functions unless people eat enough complete proteins.

Why Should Vegans and Vegetarians Eat Complete Protein Foods?

It is important to note that complete proteins are critical for everyone; however, they are even more important for vegans and vegetarians. As stated, most people get their complete proteins from animal products such as beef, chicken, pork, turkey and eggs, but this is not an option for those sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, those following these diets have to look a little bit harder to make sure they find solid sources of complete proteins that will allow them to meet their diets’ restrictions.

Examples of Complete Protein Food Options

There are several popular sources of complete proteins for vegetarians and vegans. These include:

  • Quinoa: Quinoa is a gluten-free grain. It contains about eight grams of protein for every one cooked cup. Furthermore, quinoa is also a great source of minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron.
  • Tofu: One of the most popular meat substitutes in the world, tofu comes from soybeans. This is an excellent complete protein source that everyone can enjoy. A three-ounce serving has eight grams of protein.
  • Amaranth: Amaranth is a cereal that is also gluten-free. For every cup, amaranth delivers nine grams of protein. Furthermore, it also provides plenty of the mineral manganese.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat is a grain that is also free from any gluten. As a complete protein, a single cup provides six grams of protein.
  • Spirulina: One of the most common bases for health supplements; this is an algae with a blue-green color. It is also a complete protein that provides four grams of protein per tablespoon. It also offers substantial amounts of B vitamins, copper, and iron.

These are just a few of the top complete protein options for vegetarians and vegans. By eating enough complete proteins regularly, everyone can make sure that they take care of their overall health.

The Final Take on Amino Acids

Amino acids are the constituents of proteins and come with varying benefits to the body. They feature an amine group, a carboxyl group, and a side-chain that varies from one amino acid to the next.

In every meal you take, be sure to include foods rich in amino acids because they play some of the most important roles in development and recovery in all muscles and tissues.

Whether you’re eating a more traditional diet, vegetarian, vegan, or some other plan, Noom will work with your goals to help you lose weight and stick with your new lifestyle for good.

Questions and Answers on Amino Acids

What are the 21 amino acids?

The 21 amino acids are:

  • Histidine (His)
  • Isoleucine (Ile)
  • Leucine (Leu)
  • Lysine (Lys)
  • Methionine (Met)
  • Phenylalanine (Phe)
  • Threonine (Thr)
  • Tryptophan (Trp)
  • Valine (Val)
  • Arginine (Arg)
  • Cysteine (Cys)
  • Glutamine (Gln)
  • Glycine (Gly)
  • Proline (Pro)
  • Serine (Ser)
  • Tyrosine (Tyr)
  • Alanine (Ala)
  • Asparagine (Asn)
  • Aspartic acid (Asp)
  • Glutamic acid (Glu)
  • Selenocysteine (Sec)

What foods have all nine essential amino acids?

Some foods that contain all nine essential amino acids include quinoa, buckwheat, soy, mycoprotein, rice & beans, lean meats, fish, dairy, and eggs.

Do I really need to take amino acids?

The most common reasons for taking amino acid supplements are eating a diet lacking in complete proteins (vegetarian and vegan diets) or if you’re using the aminos to promote muscle growth and recovery after working out. Typically, branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are used in fitness.

What are the three types of amino acids?

The three types of amino acids are essential, nonessential, and conditional.

What happens if a diet lacks an amino acid?

There’s evidence that amino acid deficiency can cause health issues like reduced mental acuity, gastrointestinal problems, reduced immunity, fertility problems, and more. Specific deficiencies would result in varying health problems, based on where the lacking amino acids are most commonly used in the body.

What causes amino acid deficiency?

The most common causes of amino acid deficiency include inherited health problems, like maple syrup urine disease, or dietary issues. Problems with the digestive system and stress can also play a role.

What are the symptoms of amino acid deficiency?

Some amino acid deficiency symptoms include difficulty focusing, fatigue, loss of memory, slow recovery from illness, loss of muscle, food cravings, depression, and weakness.

Is it safe to take amino acids everyday?

Amino acid supplements are generally considered safe for daily use. Still, if you have any questions about a supplement’s safety, it’s best to seek advice from a healthcare professional.