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Essential Amino Acids: Meaning, Types, And Benefits

amino acids

Amino acids represent the building blocks of proteins. Simply put, they are used by living organisms to build up proteins. They play a very crucial role in the body, including hormone synthesis and cell building. The body needs 20 different amino acids to promote proper function. Nine of them are considered to be essential.

The body cannot synthesize these essential amino acids but are received through the food we consume. You can find essential amino acids in a wide range of foods, including eggs and beef. To provide a deeper insight into what amino acids are, this comprehensive guide will look into the types of amino acids and the benefits they offer to the body. Keep on reading to learn more!

Types of Amino Acids

Proteins are long chains of amino acids. There are thousands of different amino acids in the body that perform different functions. The amino acids form sequences, which take different shapes and perform different functions in the body. The nine amino acids that the body cannot synthesize are introduced as follows:

Methionine: This helps in detoxification, metabolism, and tissue growth. Methionine can also help in absorbing some essential nutrients such as selenium and zinc.

Histidine: Histamine, which is a neurotransmitter, is produced by histidine. This also helps in digestion, immune, and sleep functions.

Leucine: Leucine ensures that your body can make protein and grow hormones. Besides this, it also helps in repairing muscle tissues.

Isoleucine: This plays an important role in muscle metabolism, as well as immune function. It can also help the body produce hemoglobin.

Lysine: Lysine helps in producing energy and hormones.

Phenylalanine: This is needed to ensure the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. It is also essential for the production of other amino acids.

Tryptophan: This amino acid is involved in maintaining the nitrogen balance of the body. They also produce serotonin, which helps in the regulation of mood, sleep, and appetite.

Threonine: Threonine helps in providing structure to the skin and connective tissues. They are also involved in the formation of blood clots. Threonine is also essential for fat metabolism and immune function.

Valine: Valine helps in the growth of muscle, energy formation, and tissue regeneration.

The remaining non-essential amino acids that the body needs are produced in the body. Some of these include arginine, aspartic acid, alanine, asparagine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

Your diet must contain the right amount of amino acids and other nutrients. In reality, most people are careless with what they eat. With the high consumption of saturated fats, obesity becomes a problem. While some resort to weight loss pills, including Shark Tank Diet pill Dr Oz, others try to engage in regular exercise. However, the best way to promote your health functions is to consume the right food, containing the right amount of amino acids.

Importance of Amino Acids

Amino acids are used in the body to produce proteins. The sequence of these amino acids – and their types – determine the function and characteristics of each protein. There are various roles that amino acids play in the body. Some of these include:

  • Growth and repair of body tissues
  • Break down of food
  • Serves as an energy source
  • Improve the immune system
  • Produce hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Helps in sustaining a functional digestive system

Where to get amino acids

You can find essential amino acids in a wide variety of foods. However, animal proteins represent the best sources of amino acids. These include poultry, eggs, and beef. These animal proteins can be easily absorbed and used up in the body.

Complete proteins are foods that contain all the aforementioned nine essential proteins. These foods can be very beneficial to the body. They include fish, poultry, eggs, beef, soy, dairy, and buckwheat.


Amino acids are often regarded as the “basic building blocks of life”. They come in different types and arrangements, which determine the functions of the protein they form. The various functions they perform in the body cannot be neglected. For this reason, you must consume foods that provide the essential amino acids that your body cannot produce.

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