You have heard people talk about amino acids. You have most likely heard also that they are very vital for your body. But what exactly are the effects of amino acids in your body? What do they do? Have you ever bothered to find out the full details of how amino acids benefit you? No doubt, your body needs amino acids for it to function at its best. The reason why protein is an essential nutrient is that it is a collection of amino acids. Protein foods supply your body with essential amino acids that your body needs to remain fully functional and highly effective in its functions.
Amino acids are necessary for proper growth and development. You know that is the major thing protein does in your body, right? That is because of amino acids. Proteins in your body are built up with amino acids. These amino acids and the proteins they make are crucial for enhancing tissue repair and wound healing. They also promote athletic performance and bodybuilding. This is because they encourage the growth of healthy tissue. Think about the tissues in your body. Your muscles, skin, bones, and hair all need amino acids. More so, they help in the elimination of metabolic waste deposits from your body.
A General Overview of Amino Acids
There are a total of 20 amino acids that your body needs. You can find all the 20 in protein foods. Each of these 20 amino acids has a very vital function in your body. But their central roles are two in number:
1. As the building blocks that your body uses to make proteins
2. As intermediates in metabolic processes in your body
All the functions of amino acids revolve around these two central functions. But each amino acid has its function. No doubt, amino acids convey a wide range of usefulness and health benefits.
Each amino acid has certain chemical properties. These properties are responsible for their usefulness in the body.
For instance, when amino acids are combined to make a protein, the chemical properties of each amino acid determines how they interact. These properties and interactions, in turn, dictate the biological activities of such protein in your body.
In simple terms, the activities of proteins are determined by the amino acids that make them up. This means that these activities are the activities of those amino acids. Experts try to understand proteins by studying the amino acids in them.
Proteins are very crucial in the body. It’s hard to imagine how we can survive without them. For instance, proteins in the form of enzymes speed up the rate of all reactions that occur in your body. They are in charge of all the biological processes in every cell of your body.
Amino acids are divided into two groups. Non-essential amino acids make up one group. Then the other group is called essential amino acids.
Non-essential amino acids are not called ‘non-essential’ because they are not important. They are called by that name because you usually don’t have to bother about them. Your body can make as much as you need daily.
Essential amino acids are the ones that your body cannot make. You would have to get them from your diet. You must make sure that you get enough of them daily. If you can’t get enough from your food, then you would have to take supplements.
Effects of Amino Acids in Your Body
Amino acids have so many effects on your body. We cannot possibly mention them all here. However, these three effects will interest you:
1. They give you a youthful skin
Amino acids are the VIPs when it comes to healthy tissue. Glutamine, arginine, as well as a few other amino acids, have a direct effect on healthy skin and hair.
These amino acids supply essential nutrients that help to strengthen the connective tissues that make your skin smooth, fresh, and elastic. These nutrients also strengthen your nails and hair.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. This means that your body can produce it. The only thing is that as you grow older, your body produces less and less glutamine. That is one of the reasons why older people tend to have saggy skin.
If you make up for your glutamine through diet or from supplements, your skin will thank you for it. Your skin would become smoother, firmer, and look more youthful.
The following summarizes the effects of amino acid on your skin:
- They replenish skin moisture
- Help to reduce fine lines
- Increase skin elasticity
- Enhance skin smoothness
2. They help in weight management
Protein-rich foods make you feel fuller than carbs. They also stay longer in your stomach. This can help to control overeating, and as such, has a positive effect on weight management.
Amino acids also contribute to lean muscle mass. This is very helpful for those who want to burn excess fat.
Furthermore, your body can convert glutamine to glucose. But this happens to be a health hack because it does not affect your body’s insulin and glucagon counts. This bypasses fat storage (the work of insulin) but still supplies energy to your body.
3. They promote muscle development
Your body needs amino acids to support the growth of muscle tissue. Methionine is an essential amino acid that helps in making creatine. Creatine, in turn, aids the growth of lean muscle mass.
Lysine, another essential amino acid, would help your muscles recover faster after a lot of physical activities. It is a branched-chain amino acid. Athletes and bodybuilders need a lot of it, more than what an average person would need.
Not only would amino acids increase your muscle development but they will also increase your bone mass as well as strength levels. They help your bones to absorb more calcium.
Which Foods Contain Amino Acids?
Of all the 20 amino acids, only 9 are essential. These 9 are the only ones you need to get from food. They are as follows:
Surprisingly, some foods contain all nine essential amino. They are therefore known as complete proteins. A few of such complete proteins are as follows:
- Chia seeds
Amino acids are vital to our overall well-being and state of health. The effects of amino acids in your body cannot be quantified. You must ensure to get all nine essential amino from your daily diet.