Amino Acid Basics: Here’s what you should know

Understanding Amino Acid (protein) basics, and how it impacts your health. Your body needs proteins for proper functioning and to look good, and in order to build proteins, your body needs amino acids

There are 20 major amino acids and hundreds of minor amino acids that keep us energetic and healthy. A deficiency in even a single amino acid causes problems in the human body, and should ideally be supplemented (through diet or supplements).

What are Amino Acids?

In simple terms, these are proteins, and play an important role in building muscles, repairing tissues, and are responsible for the production of enzymes.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes (essential for all metabolic processes).

Once proteins are broken down into amino acids, the amino acids combine with nitrogen and other chemicals, to produce various protein forms that the body can use.

Proteins are broken down into essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids.

Essential & non-essential amino acids

Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body; these amino acids have to be supplied in our food.

All amino acids (essential as well as non-essential) are important for proper protein synthesis.

Effective protein synthesize

In order to achieve optimum protein synthesis, all of the required amino acids must be present in the body at the same time and in the right quantity.

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Any essential amino acid in short supply (also known as the limiting amino acid) restricts the quantity of protein that can be synthesized, regardless of the quantity of other amino acids in the body.

Complete Protein and Incomplete Protein

Protein can be classified as complete and incomplete.

  • Complete protein: Available from animal sources such as meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, and eggs.It contains all the essential amino acids the body needs. However, these contain large amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Incomplete protein: Available from fruits and vegetables. These foods are low in one or more of the essential amino acids. Nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains all vary in their protein content and vegetarians will needs to combine these foods in the right way to get complete protein.

Soybeans are one of the few vegetable sources that can supply complete protein.

More Amino Acid Information

Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C are needed for amino acid metabolism and to help absorption of amino acids. So you will need to take these vitamins supplements along with your amino acid supplements.

Make sure your amino acid supplement contains all the essential amino acids in the right proportions.

Remember, amino acids work best when all of essential and non-essential ones are provided to the body. Therefore, it’s a good idea to add a complete amino acid supplement to your diet.

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