Why Are Amino Acids Important For Our Health?

9 key amino acids for our overall health

All the proteins in our body are made from different amino acids. These amino acids are the basic units of proteins just as the brick is the basic unit of any building.

There are hundreds of amino acids in nature but the human body needs only 20 of these.

Out of these 20 amino acids, 09 amino acids are called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those which our body cannot make from scratch and must be obtained from the diet.

06 amino acid sequence is are known as conditionally essential amino acids.  The Synthesis of these amino acids is limited under specific pathological conditions.

The remaining group is considered non-essential amino acids, meaning these are synthesized in sufficient quantities in our body.

Our topic of interest is essential amino acids. The names of these 9 amino acids are given below:

  1. Histidine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Leucine
  4. Lysine
  5. Methionine
  6. Phenylalanine
  7. Threonine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Valine

Out of these 9, the three amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are known as BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids.

These have special importance in the body and we will briefly discuss BCAAs.

This article contains all the necessary information you need to know about these amino acids.
After reading this article, you will be having enough knowledge about essential amino acids.

You will be able to know about different food resources of these amino acids, how they function in the body, and the benefits of supplementing these in the diet.


Roles of 9 essential Amino Acids in your body:


1. Histidine:

Histamine is a neurotransmitter in our body, made of essential amino acid histidine.
Histamine is important for maintaining sexual desire, proper functioning of the immune system, and secretion of Hydrochloride Acid in our stomach which aids in the digestion of food and kills different germs we ingested with food.

It also helps in protecting the myelin sheath around nerve cells. This sheath increases the speed of conduction of nerve signals.


2. Lysine

It is important for lowering cholesterol in our body and burning fatty acids to generate energy. Lysine performs this function by producing carnitine, an important nutrient.
It also playsan important role in the absorption of calcium and the production of some enzymes and hormones.


3. Methionine

 It is important for detoxification and minimizing liver damage after acetaminophen(paracetamol) poisoning. It also helps in wound healing. Its common sources are dairy products, meat, and fish.


4. Phenylalanine

D-phenylalanine, L-phenylalanine, and DL-phenylalanine are three forms of this amino acid. Out of these three forms, only L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid.

It is helpful in certain painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It also has a role in the treatment of depression and the management of Parkinson’s disease.

It is obtained from dairy products, eggs, and cheese.


5. Threonine

Its main use is in nervous system disorders. But the evidence is insufficient for its use in multiple sclerosis and spinal spasticity.

It is converted into glycine which acts in the brain to reduce spasticity(unwanted muscle contractions).


6. Tryptophan

This essential amino acid is used for treating sleep disorders especially insomnia. It is also used for stabilization of mood and decreasing anxiety. This essential amino acid helps in the production of serotonin, which has benefits of promoting sleep and relieving anxiety.


The other three amino acids are branched-chain amino acids and will be discussed as a group.

Branched-chain amino acids(BCAAs)

Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the three amino acids included in the category of BCCA.

These are called branched because they have branched aliphatic side chains.

These are sold in powder form as dietary supplements to increase muscle mass, decreasing muscle soreness, and decreasing post-workout muscle fatigue.

Common sources are dairy products and eggs.


All of the above-mentioned amino acids are essential amino acids, which means they cannot be produced in the body and must be obtained through diet. Different amino acids have different roles in the body. The main source of these amino acids is dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are very important for improving muscle mass and are sold in powder form as dietary supplements. But if you are taking a natural diet containing these, BCAAs supplement will be of no additional benefit.

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