Almost everyone on this planet earth has heard about amino acids. Even some children have an idea of what amino acids are. So it’s not something strange. But most of us have very superficial knowledge as to what amino acids are. Yeah, we know that they are the building blocks or protein. And are very essential for so many processes in the body. But that’s just about it. Well, if you’re in a category then you’re not alone. There are many people just like you. So there are essential and non-essential amino acids. 12 amino acids out of 20 are non-essential while the remaining 8 are essential. So today we’ll be taking a look at the eight essential amino acids.
What Are Essential Amino Acids?
When you hear the word essential what comes to your mind? It’s very important, right? Well, that’s true but this does not mean that the non-essential ones are any less important. It’s just that the body can make some amino acids while it can’t make some. The ones the body can make are the non-essential ones. While the ones the body can’t make are the essential ones. So how would you get the essential amino acids? You can get them from foods or supplements.
So amino acids are organic compounds. They are made up of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. There are actually 20 different amino acids that your body needs. They are quite important for normal growth and development. But just 8 are essential. And they are lysine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, valine and tryptophan.
The Eight Essential Amino Acids You Must Remember
As mentioned before your body can’t make these amino acids. So they are gotten from your diet. The best sources of essential amino acids are eggs, meat, and poultry. When these foods are consumed, they are broken down into amino acids. And the amino acids released to go to different parts of the body to perform different functions. Let’s dive into the eight essential amino acids that we have.
This amino acid is very important when it comes to the synthesis of protein, enzymes, and hormones in the body. It is also very important for the absorption of calcium. It also plays a role in immune function and also the production of energy. One other great role of this amino acid is in the production of collagen and elastin. These are two proteins that are important for the health of the skin.
This is a branched-chain amino acid. It’s very important for the synthesis of protein and also for the repairing of muscle. Also, it helps in regulating the blood glucose level. And is also efficient for the production of growth hormones that are important for normal growth and development. This amino acid also helps stimulate the wound healing process in the body.
It’s also a branched-chain amino acid. This can be found in high concentrations in muscle tissue. It is also involved in normal muscle metabolism. Also, it’s important for the production of hemoglobin which is an important component of the blood. It helps with immune function and also regulates energy levels.
This amino acid happens to be a precursor to many neurotransmitters in the body. such as dopamine, tyrosine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. It is also important in the structure and function of enzymes and proteins in the body. And it is also involved in the production of some other amino acids in the body.
This one plays a great role in detoxification. It is also very important for metabolism. It’s important for the growth of tissues. And also for the absorption of certain minerals like selenium and zinc. And these minerals are very important in the body.
This happens to be a principal part of some structural proteins. Such as elastin and collagen. And they are both important for the skin and also connective tissue. This also plays a role in the metabolism of fat and also in the immune function.
This is the third branched-chain amino acid. It is important for muscle growth and muscle regeneration. It’s also important for the production of energy in the body.
This amino acid is needed for the proper balance of nitrogen in the body. Also, it’s a precursor to serotonin which helps regulate sleep and mood.
Benefits of Essential Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids are actually responsible for this. They help boost your athletic performance and also alleviate fatigue. At the same time, they help stimulate muscle recovery. That’s why many athletes opt for BCAA supplements. Because it provides them with the energy needed. And this helps boost their athletic performance.
May help prevent loss of muscle
With studies, we have found out the essential amino acids help prevent the breaking down of muscle. And also helps preserve lean muscle mass.
Improves mood and sleep
The amino acid largely responsible for this is tryptophan. It is the precursor for serotonin. And serotonin is the neurotransmitter that affects sleep, mood, and other emotional behaviors. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to cases of depression. And low levels of serotonin is as a result of low levels of tryptophan.
May help out with weight loss
There have been studies that have carried out to create the link between BCAAs and weight loss. And it has been found out that there might actually be an effect of BCAAs on weight loss. But the thing though is that more studies are needed to help confirm that it really helps out with weight loss.
It’s important to know the different essential amino acids and also their food sources. Most of the essential amino acids can be found in dairy products, seafood, meat, eggs, and poultry. So if you have enough of these in your diet you can be sure that you’re getting enough essential amino acids. And if you feel you’re not getting enough you can opt for supplements as a boost. But it wouldn’t be a good idea to replace the food with supplements. This is so that you would be getting enough of the eight essential amino acids.