Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. The human body requires 22 amino acids, 14 of which are taken in through a proper daily diet. The remaining 8 can be found through supplementation. They are essential for cell development, tissues repair, immunity, and optimal overall health.. Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life. When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. The human body uses amino acids to make proteins to help the body:
- Break down food
- Repair body tissue
- Perform many other body functions
Amino acid supplements are available in the L form and D form. The L form is the most common, more active form for most amino acids. Branched-chain amino acids are meant to be used during weight training and are highly bioavailable. They promote the development of muscle protein and may also help reduce muscle breakdown in athletes during intense exercise, while also improving performance. Amino acids can also be used as a source of energy by the body. Amino acids are classified into three groups;
- Essential amino acids
- Nonessential amino acids
- Conditional amino acids
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food.
The 9 essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
NONESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Nonessential means that our bodies produce an amino acid, even if we do not get it from the food we eat. Nonessential amino acids include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
CONDITIONAL AMINO ACIDS
Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress.
Conditional amino acids include: arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.
You do not need to eat essential and nonessential amino acids at every meal, but getting a balance of them over the whole day is important. A diet based on a single plant item will not be adequate, but we no longer worry about pairing proteins (such as beans with rice) at a single meal. Instead we look at the adequacy of the diet overall throughout the day.