How many amino acids do we have in our bodies? It seems like a basic question, but the answer can differ. Here’s why. There’s a difference between how many total aminos are in the human body and the main types. That explains why you might read different totals on web pages or social media. The two main types of aminos are essential and non-essential, with roughly the same number of both.
Essential aminos must be obtained from food and supplements. Meanwhile, it’s a different story with non-essential aminos since the body already produces them naturally. So, there’s no need to get them from outside sources.
Amino acids are critical as the building blocks of protein. They can provide several health benefits for athletes and weightlifters. For example, they can help with the process of building muscle mass, repairing muscles, and workout recovery. These are all important features that can improve your workout results. You can also get cognitive benefits. They include improved mental focus and appetite control. These can improve your workouts’ effectiveness and help with weight/fat loss. The key is to get enough of all the amino acids in the human body. This helps to provide the best results in terms of the body’s different functions.
How Are Amino Acids Related to Proteins?
The main function of amino acids is as proteins’ building blocks. They’re also important in the function of metabolism, which turns food into energy. The 20 amino acids in proteins have a wide range of chemical compounds.
Different factors determine the structure of proteins. They include the different strings of amino acids in different proteins. This affects how the amino acid functions within the protein.
Proteins are important for many functions within living cells. They also affect nearly all processes in cells. There’s also important info in proteins that include different amino acid links. This is a complex process about the structure of different proteins. However, the main takeaway is that the amino acids are needed to build the proteins.
Proteins are very important in the human body. They’re critical for different functions like the health of the heart, brain, and hair. This is why it’s critical to make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet. How much protein do you need? It depends on various factors like your weight, physical activity, and fitness goals.
In terms of diet, it’s important to make sure you’re getting “good” protein. That includes options like:
The above-mentioned animal/plant-based foods are complete proteins. That means they contain all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). This differs from other protein sources that are “incomplete.” In other words, they don’t include enough of all the EAAs you should be getting from food.
You can turn incomplete proteins into complete proteins. There are different combos like rice and beans, whole wheat bread with peanut butter, and hummus with whole wheat pita.
These are all better options than other protein sources including processed meats like sausage, bacon, pepperoni, and Spam. Can you get health benefits from these options? You can but they’re not better sources of protein versus whole foods.
How Many Amino Acids Do We Have in Our Bodies?
It’s a tricky question. There’s technically a total of 22 aminos in the body. However, two of them are quite rare so in terms of aminos that appear most often in humans, there are 20 amino acids. The break down is 11 non-essential amino acids and 9 essential amino acids.
The term “essential” can be somewhat confusing also. This doesn’t somehow mean that people only really need 9 and don’t need the other 11. The EAAs must be obtained from outside sources like food and supplements. This is different from NEAAs that the body produces naturally.
In theory, the body produces enough NEAAs so it can function properly. However, there are situations like malnutrition and health conditions that prevent people from making enough NEAAs. Sometimes that happens and affects the body’s production.
If you think your body isn’t making enough of 1+ NEAAs you should contact your doctor. He/She can order tests to get it checked out. This can help to determine whether you should eat certain foods to boost your amino levels.
How about EAAs? You should be getting different amounts of different ones. The highest amount is Leucine. We need 39mg of this amino acid per day. It’s one of the “branched-chain” amino acids (BCAAs). These have been trending in recent years.
What’s the big deal with BCAAs? These are very important for the processes of building muscles and exercise recovery. If you want faster recovery after workouts then you should consider boosting your BCAAs. That said, these aminos aren’t more critical than the other EAAs. You should be getting enough of every amino including EAAs.
Still, if you’re getting enough of all EAAs then you could supplement your BCAAs with food or supplements. Remember that food is always the best source of nutrients. Don’t try to get 100% or even most of your aminos from supplements.
Top Ways to Boost Amino Acids
1. Protein Powders
These have been trending for quite a while. They’re available from different protein sources like milk (whey/casein), beef, egg, and soy. You can also find BCAA protein powders for the three EAAs.
A key benefit of protein powders is that they’re easy to use. You could add them to juices, smoothies, or shakes. You can also pour a scoop into your oatmeal, soups, or stews.
This is a convenient way to get more aminos. All you need is the supplements and a glass of water. This source isn’t as good as real food. However, it’s much more convenient since you won’t always have the resources to prepare a homecooked meal. When you can’t this is one of the best options. You can find different products like BCAA tablets.
3. Liquid Aminos
There are two main types: soy-sourced and coconut-sourced. The soy aminos are made from soybeans. They’re different from soy sauce since they’re not usually made from fermented soy and wheat. Soy-based liquid aminos have a milder taste and less sault.
The other main type of liquid aminos is from the coconut tree. More specifically it’s from the flower’s sap, which is fermented. You can find products like from Trader Joe’s. This is a low-carb source for aminos. The key is to use small portion sizes to keep the calories and carbs low. 1 TBSP provides about 5g of carbs.
4. Real Food
This is the best source of nutrients whether it’s protein, carbs, fat, or vitamins/minerals. Make sure you’re getting enough aminos from complete and incomplete proteins. Some of the basic options include meat, dairy, eggs, and soybeans.
You can even get combine incomplete proteins like brown rice and green beans to get the same nutritional value as meat in terms of protein. It’s also critical to focus on “good” protein sources after learning how many amino acids do we have in our bodies.