Essential Amino Acids
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Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are compounds in which the hydrogen atoms on the carbon atoms of carboxylic acids are replaced by amino groups. They are the basic building blocks of proteins. The body's need for protein is actually its need for amino acids. Protein taken in from food every day is eventually broken down into amino acids in the gastrointestinal tract through the action of enzymes such as pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin and carboxypeptidase, and is then absorbed through the epithelial cells of the small intestinal mucosa. There are 20 kinds of amino acids required by the human body.

What are Essential Amino Acids?

Essential amino acids refer to amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the human body (or other vertebrates) or whose synthesis rate cannot meet the needs of the human body, but must be provided by food. They are important raw materials for protein synthesis in the body, providing a material basis for promoting growth, normal metabolism, and maintaining life. If the human body lacks any essential amino acid, it will lead to abnormal physiological functions, affect the normal progress of life metabolism, and ultimately lead to the occurrence of various diseases. The requirement of essential amino acids for adults is about 20% to 37% of the protein requirement. Although the human body can synthesize arginine and histidine, they usually cannot meet normal needs, so they are called semi-essential amino acids (essential amino acids during the growth period of young children). The human body can synthesize itself from simple precursors and does not need amino acids obtained from food, such as glycine, alanine, etc., which are called non-essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids in the human bodyFig. 1. Essential amino acids in the human body.

How Many Essential Amino Acids Are There?

There are 9 essential amino acids, including isoleucine, leucine, lysine, tryptophan, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine and histidine (essential for infants and young children). In addition, arginine, cystine, tyrosine, and taurine are necessary for premature infants. If the food you eat lacks any of the essential amino acids, protein synthesis will be limited, which will affect your health. Foods with an essential amino acid content close to 100 mainly include eggs, milk, soybeans, duck meat, chicken and lean meat, etc. These are all protein foods with high amino acid content.

Amino Acids Benefits

Amino Acid NameMain Functions
LysinePromote brain development and enable concentration; has a significant effect on children's development, weight and height increase, promotes fat metabolism, and prevents cell degeneration.
LeucinePromote sleep, reduce sensitivity to headaches, relieve migraines, and relieve anxiety and tension.
TryptophanPromote the production of gastric and pancreatic juices.
MethionineParticipates in the composition of hemoglobin and serum, and promotes the functions of spleen, pancreas and lymph.
ThreonineIt is an indispensable amino acid that helps proteins be absorbed and utilized by the body; prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver, promotes antibody production, and strengthens the immune system.
ValineActs on the corpus luteum, breast and ovaries, accelerates wound healing, treats liver failure; increases blood sugar levels and increases growth hormone.
IsoleucineIt participates in the regulation and metabolism of the thymus, spleen and subcerebral glands, regulates glucose tolerance, helps improve the body's immunity, and helps repair muscle tissue.
PhenylalanineParticipate in eliminating the loss of kidney and bladder function, improve memory and thinking agility, and eliminate depression.

Essential Amino Acids List

Amino acids play a vital role in human body function and are essential for overall health and well-being. They are the building blocks of proteins that are essential for muscle growth and repair, hormone and enzyme production, neurotransmitter synthesis, nutrient transport and storage, immune regulation, and maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails. In addition, amino acids are also crucial for detoxifying harmful substances in the body and protecting cells and tissues from oxidative damage.

  • Lysine

As the main raw material for protein synthesis, lysine is involved in the synthesis of important proteins in the human body. In addition, lysine participates in the regulation of metabolic balance, which can improve the secretion of gastric juice, increase appetite, and promote human growth and development. At the same time, lysine can also enhance human immune function, improve calcium absorption, and accelerate bone growth. L-lysine has physiological activity, D-lysine has no physiological activity. The lack of lysine will cause the lack of protein, affect the growth and development of the human body, and even lead to the occurrence of diseases. The main food sources of lysine: milk, eggs, meat, beans and other protein-rich foods.

D-Lysine hydrochloride7274-88-6BAT-003500Inquiry
L-Lysine hydrochloride657-27-2BAT-004002Inquiry
DL-Lysine hydrochloride70-53-1BAT-003592Inquiry
  • Tryptophan

Tryptophan can participate in the renewal of plasma proteins, promote the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, and promote sleep. Clinically, tryptophan can be used to treat bronchial asthma. Tryptophan can also be anti-allergic, and has a good effect on seasonal rhinitis, acute and chronic allergic conjunctivitis, allergic eczema and intestinal allergic reactions caused by food. Tryptophan can be converted into many physiologically important active substances in the body, such as 5-hydroxytryptophan and the precursor of niacin. 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an important neurotransmitter in the human body. The main food sources of tryptophan: milk, meat, brown rice, etc.

  • Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is an aromatic amino acid. In the body, most of them are oxidized to tyrosine by phenylalanine hydroxylase catalysis, and together with tyrosine to synthesize important neurotransmitters and hormones, which are involved in glucose metabolism and fat metabolism. Phenylalanine participates in the body's sugar metabolism and fat metabolism, which can reduce hunger, eliminate depression, improve memory, and increase thinking agility. Therefore, it is suitable for regular supplementation by patients suffering from sexual dysfunction, memory loss, postpartum depression, menopausal syndrome, depression and other diseases. The main food sources of phenylalanine are peanuts, almonds, bread, etc.

  • Methionine

Methionine is the only sulfur-containing amino acid among the essential amino acids. Methionine is involved in the composition of hemoglobin, tissue and serum, and has the function of promoting metabolism. Methionine can protect liver and heart muscle, adjust blood pressure, prevent fatty liver, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. The methyl group carried by methionine can detoxify toxic substances or drugs by methylation. The main food sources of methionine: yogurt, meat, beans, onions, garlic, etc.

  • Threonine

Threonine is the most utilized amino acid in intestinal tissue and is mainly used to synthesize mucosal proteins in the intestine, especially mucin. Mucins are components of the mucosal layer and play an important role in the immune response of the intestine. During an inflammatory reaction, the amount of threonine available will become a limiting condition for mucin synthesis in the small intestine, and threonine deficiency weakens the intestinal barrier function. Increasing the supply of threonine in the small intestine can promote mucin synthesis and promote the recovery of intestinal mucosal function. Since the secretory protein amino acid cycle in the intestine regulates dietary amino acid utilization, mucin secretion, recycling, and ileal loss may affect the body's dietary threonine utilization. At the same time, it is also an important nutritional fortifier that can fortify cereals, pastries, and dairy products. Like tryptophan, it can relieve human fatigue and promote growth and development. The main food sources of threonine: animal liver, meat, etc.

  • Isoleucine

Isoleucine is an amino acid necessary for the formation of hemoglobin, which can regulate the level of sugar and energy metabolism. In addition, isoleucine can help improve physical performance and repair muscle tissue. Leucine, isoleucine and valine, these three amino acids have the same branched side chain in structure, so they are called branched chain amino acids. Main food sources of isoleucine: milk, eggs, meat, wheat, corn, soybeans, various kernels, etc.

  • Leucine

Leucine's functions include working with isoleucine and valine to repair muscles, control blood sugar, and provide energy to body tissues. Leucine also has the effects of promoting sleep, reducing the body's sensitivity to pain, relieving tension and anxiety, preventing body dysfunction and preventing poisoning. It is suitable for supplementation by patients suffering from insomnia, migraine, neuralgia and other diseases. Leucine acts to balance isoleucine, which regulates blood sugar levels, promotes muscle recovery, reduces sensitivity to pain, and promotes sleep. The main food sources of leucine: milk, eggs, meat, wheat, corn, soybeans, various kernels, etc.

  • Valine

Valine acts on the corpus luteum, mammary gland and ovary to repair tissue, speed up wound healing, treat liver failure, increase blood sugar levels and increase growth hormone. The main food sources of valine: milk, sesame, soybean, almond, etc.

  • Histidine

Histidine is an essential amino acid during the growth and development of infants and young children, which can promote normal body development, body growth and tissue repair. The main food sources of histidine: bananas, grapes, meat, poultry, milk and dairy products.

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