why do we need amino acids in our body

AMINO ACIDS are the building blocks of the body. Besides building cells and repairing tissue, they form antibodies to combat invading bacteria viruses; they are part of the enzyme hormonal system; they build nucleoproteins (RNA DNA); they carry oxygen throughout the body and participate in muscle activity. When protein is broken down by digestion the result is 22 known amino acids. As the building blocks of protein, amino acids are vital to health. Next to water, amino acids in the form of proteins make up the greatest portion of our body weight. They comprise tendons, muscles and ligaments; organs and glands; hair and nails; important bodily fluids, and are a necessary part of every cell in the body. There are over 20 amino acids, separated into two categories - essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be manufactured by your body, hence, it is essential that you obtain them from your diet.


Non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by your body, however, your body must have the right combination of essential amino acids and supporting nutrients to optimize healthy protein maintenance, so supplementation may be desirable. Twenty amino acids are needed to build the various proteins used in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Eleven of these amino acids can be made by the body itself, while the other nine (called essential amino acids) must come from the diet. The essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Another amino acid, histidine, is considered semi-essential because the body does not always require dietary sources of it.


The nonessential amino acids are arginine, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. Other amino acids, such as carnitine, are used by the body in ways other than protein-building and are often used therapeutically. Who is likely to be deficient? Dieters, some strict vegetarian body builders, and anyone consuming an inadequate number of calories may not be consuming adequate amounts of amino acids. In these cases, the body will break down the protein in muscle tissue and use those amino acids to meet the needs of more important organs or will simply not build more muscle mass despite increasing exercise. Amino acids are not only absolutely integral to life, but they can have a profound impact upon how clearly we think and how well we feel.
You probably associate protein with building strong muscles, but in fact, this macronutrient is present in every cell in your body.


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein is made of 20 different amino acids, but your body is capable of synthesizing half of these on its own. The other half you must consume through dietary sources. These 10 amino acids are referred to as essential amino acids. There are 10 amino acids identified as essential, although one of them, arginine, is really only essential for the young, according to Michael Davidson of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University. The 10 essential amino acids are arginine, histadine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. In addition to providing the structural backbone of protein, amino acids also function as a component of enzymes, chemicals your body uses to speed up the biological processes needed to sustain life.


The amino acid content of a particular protein or enzyme determines its unique properties and functions. Histadine, for example, is important for the creation of histamine, an important part of your body s immune response. Threonine is necessary for creating porphyrin, which creates the pigment in red blood cells that binds iron. Valine is an amino acid that helps bind proteins together. Foods such as meat, fish and poultry are considered complete proteins, because they contain all the essential amino acids. Other animal-based foods, such as dairy products and eggs, are also considered complete proteins. Plant-based foods contain a variety of amino acids, but with the exception of soybeans and quinoa, do not contain all 10 amino acids at once.


Such foods are considered incomplete proteins. Plant-based sources of amino acids include corn, beans, rice, legumes and nuts. Vegetarians can obtain adequate daily intake of amino acids by consuming a variety of these plant-based protein sources. It is important for vegans to consume a variety of foods rich in amino acids in order to avoid protein deficiency, but protein deficiencies are more commonly a result of poverty than of vegetarianism. Cornell University notes that protein-energy-malnutrition, or PEM, occurs in parts of the world where food supply limits the opportunity to obtain all of the essential amino acids. Severe PEM, also known as kwashiorkor can cause liver deterioration, anemia and skin inflammation.