Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They play a critical role in a lot of biological processes because proteins are used for cellular and tissue repair, muscle growth, and more. Amino acids are used in maintaining the healthy function of our glands, organs, arteries, tendons and other parts of the body. They are used to repair wounds in the skin, and even to help with the removal of waste products.
It is only recently that we have started to appreciate the importance of amino acids for our wellbeing. Doctors know that amino acids can be useful for general health, but they are usually overlooked in terms of nutrition. We eat too many processed foods, which have had the amino acids broken down or damaged. We drink beverages that prevent the absorption of nutrients, and we eat foods that have been treated with preservatives to the extent that they do not have a good nutritional profile.
What is an Amino Acid and Complete Protein Profile?
Ideally, we should have a pool of around 130g of free amino acids in our body. These are amino acids that can be freely used to create complete proteins using a process called biosynthesis. If you eat a balanced diet, then you will find that you get a good profile of amino acids. Even vegetarians and vegans can get the complete profile of amino acids if they are attentive when it comes to eating balanced diet.
What is an Amino Acid Made From?
Amino acids are a form of organic compound which contains one or more amino group s(-NH2) and one Carboxy group (-COOH). There are 20 amino acids in the human genome, which are used to build proteins. There are around 250 other amino acids which are not used to form proteins, but that make sugars or other substances. The amino acids that are most important for humans are the eight that the human body cannot produce by itself. These are isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, valine, methionine and threonine. These are amino acids that the body needs but that must be taken from external sources. There are two others – arginine and histidine, which are semi-essential in that the body can make them but in certain circumstances it is better to get them from your diet. The ten non-essential amino acids are alanine, aspartic acid, glutamine, glutamic acid, cysteine, glycine, serin, proline and tyrosine. The body can make these, so we can survive without supplementing them but there may be occasions when it makes sense to supplement, because the body may not be making enough for the demands that you are putting on them.
Should You Supplement Amino Acids?
Supplementing amino acids can be useful if you are an athlete, or if you are conscious of the fact that you are not following a perfect diet. To get the full effect of those amino acids, you may need to take more B vitamins as well. Good nutrition is not about supplementing just one thing.