The 8 Essential Amino Acids: Which Foods That Contains the Most Of It?

AminoAcidProducts | May 21, 2021 | Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The coming together of amino acids would give you protein. And the breaking down of protein would give you amin0 acids. Isn’t that interesting? Well, there are about 20 common amino acids. Some of these are produced in the body. While some, on the other hand, are gotten from foods. Well, the ones that are produced in the body are known as non-essential amino acids. While the one that isn’t produced in the body are known as essential amino acids. Today is for essential amino acids. That’s why we’ll be looking at which foods can contain the eight essential amino acids.

Well, there are about 8 essential amino acids. There has been some controversy as to whether it’s 8 or 9. But we’ll stick with 8 essential amino acids for now. These essential amino acids have different functions in the body. The benefits each of these amino acids offer are quite different even though they work together to achieve the same goal. The deficiency of the different essential amino acids as well isn’t the same. That’s why we’ll be taking a closer look at the eight essential amino acids. And what they have to offer in the body. Keep reading to get the full list.

The Eight Essential Amino Acids

They are known as essential amino acids because of the inability of the body to produce them. They are usually gotten from external sources such as foods and supplements. All the amino acids in the body work together to give a properly functioning body. That’s why no amino acid is useless in the body.

Essential amino acids especially are important for many biological processes in the body. And they also important components in tissues of the body. Also, they are very important for the transport and storage of nutrients in the body. they are also very important for repairing and healing tissues in the body.

The 8 essential amino acids are phenylalanine, leucine, valine, lysine, isoleucine, tryptophan, threonine, and methionine. Histidine is considered by some to be essential as well. But it’s essential for only infants and not adults.

The eight essential amino acids

Let’s take a look at each essential amino acid and what they have to offer.

1. Phenylalanine

This is one amino acid that is converted to another amino acid known as tyrosine in the body. It is also very important for the formation of certain brain chemicals.

These chemicals are hormones and neurotransmitters. And they include adrenaline, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and L-dopa. And all these are very important for normal metabolism in the body.

A deficiency in this hormone would lead to conditions like appetite loss, depression and cognitive dysfunction. The recommended daily intake is about 33mg per kg of phenylalanine.

2. Leucine

This amino acid is a branched-chain amino acid. Among other amino acids in the muscle tissue, this is actually the fourth most concentrated. It helps supply energy to the body. And at the same time, helps maintain nitrogen balance in the body.

If you’re quite familiar with BCAAs you would know that this is a component of many BCAA supplements. It’s quite helpful with building muscle.

The recommended daily intake of leucine is about 43mg per kg.

3. Valine

This is also one of the branched-chain amino acids. It helps promote the repairing of tissues. It helps regulate growth and development. Also, it helps regulate your blood glucose level. Another good thing is that it helps stimulate the central nervous system to keep functioning. It is also known to help with building muscle mass.

Daily it’s recommended you take 24mg per kg of valine.

4. Lysine

This is one amino acid that’s very important for the immune system. It has some antiviral properties. And also helps the body produce antibodies that can help fight against infections. With studies, it was known that lysine is particularly effective in protecting against the herpes virus.

The daily recommended requirement is about 38mg per kg of lysine in a day.

5. Isoleucine

This is another branch-chain amino acid. It’s also involved in the development of muscle and also tissue repair. When it gets into the body it’s broken down. And this is to help provide energy to muscle tissue. Also, it helps the body recover a lot faster from doing strenuous activities.

When enough isoleucine is not present in the body it leads to certain symptoms. And these symptoms are quite similar to symptoms experienced by people that have hypoglycemia. The daily recommended intake for isoleucine is 19mg for every kg.

6. Tryptophan

This essential amino acid is essential for the production of serotonin. This is actually an important neurotransmitter in the body. That’s because it affects a person’s mood and emotions. When you don’t have enough of this amino acid in the body it can lead to certain conditions like depression and insomnia. Daily all you need to consume is just 5mg per kg of tryptophan to have enough in the body.

7. Threonine

This is one amino acid that’s very important for balancing the amount of protein in the body. It helps support growth and development in the body. Also, it supports many systems in the body like the cardiovascular system, nervous system, and immune system. It also plays a role in improving the function of the liver. All you need a day is 20mg per kg of threonine to have enough in your body.

8. Methionine

It helps out with processing and getting rid of fat. This amino acid is needed for the production of cysteine, taurine, and glutathione. And they all very important in the body. The daily requirement for methionine is 19mg per kg.

Which foods contain the eight essential amino acids?

These are foods that are believed to contain a lot of essential amino acids if not all. Let’s take a look at them.

  • Animal proteins: Protein sources gotten from animals contain essential amino acids. That’s why a lot of them are referred to as a complete proteins. Foods to opt for are turkey, beef, pork, eggs, and chicken. These are all great sources of essential amino acids. Dairy products as well are great sources of essential amino acids.
  • Seafood: This is another food that’s rich in essential amino acids. This is also referred to as the complete protein. Because it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs for proper functioning. You can opt for tuna, salmon, crab, and shrimp. All these are great sources of proteins and essential amino acids.
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes: For vegetarians, this is a good option. The thing though is that these are incomplete proteins. That means that you wouldn’t be able to get all the essential amino acids in one. But when you combine a variety of these you would be able to get all the essential amino acids needed.
  • Whole grains: This also provides a small number of essential amino acids needed. And is also a great choice for vegetarians. Focus more on taking whole grain foods than taking processed grains. That’s because you would be able to get more essential amino acids with whole-grain foods.

So there you have it. A list that answers your question which is, which foods contain the eight essential amino acids?

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