Supplementation with Amino Acids
Supplementation with Amino Acids

Twenty percent of the human body is made up of protein, and proteins play an important part in building and maintaining  our body tissue, as well as providing energy. Because of these facts, protein must be a major part of any healthy diet. They are the building blocks of a healthy body, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. A diet low in protein will lead to protein-energy malnutrition. And the most important characteristic of protein, when viewed from a nutritional standpoint, is its amino acid composition.

There are a large number of amino acids, but nine of these are considered as essential amino acids, meaning that our bodies cannot synthesize on their own. These are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine,lysine, and histidine. There are an additional six amino acids which, under certain adverse conditions, such as premature birth or catabolic distress, meaning that the body is breaking down body tissue in an abnormal fashion, cannot be synthesized. These so called non-essential amino acids are arginine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, proline, and tyrosine. There is also a third group, called dispensable amino acids because they are synthesized in the human body, consisting of alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid, and serine. All of the amino acids are needed to ensure our continued good health, with children over the age of three years needing 10 to 20 percent more than adults.

There are a variety of readily available sources for these amino acids. The primary sources for most of us will be in animal products such as meat, fish, dairy product, and eggs. Vegetarians and vegans can obtain a sufficient of the essential amino acids from various grains, legumes, and nuts. It is a commonly held belief that athletes, in order to maintain peak physical performance levels, require a higher intake of amino acids.

But the way protein is used in our bodies is a complex operation. When we consume protein, this is broken down in our gastrointestinal tract into the various amino acids. These substances are then transformed into new protein material and amino acids, as needed, by a process known as biosynthesis. But if you do not consume enough protein, or the proper type of protein, this process cannot be effective. Sometimes, our intake of protein, and amino acids, can be compromised. Pollution due to fossil fuels, hormones used in cattle, fertilizers in farming, and the vast amounts of processing our food undergoes in the modern world can adversely affect the quality and quantity of amino acids found in our diet. Nutritional supplements have proven effective in supplying the correct amount and type of amino acids which our body requires.

While the elderly may be at particular risk, young, healthy individuals may also be affected by an amino acid deficiency. Symptoms include everything from diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, hair loss, weight gain, and arthritis to erectile problem, menopausal complaints, sleep disorders, and mood swings.

Amino Acids: What are they? What do they do?

Originally posted 2016-04-20 17:22:59.

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I’m Nick Wilkinson. I writer and radio personality who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
With over 14 years of experience in the Behavioral Health Field, I’ve been working in close contact with kids from all walks of life.
Specializing in teenagers and young adults, I’ve been a career long supporter of “verbal de-escalation” and non-violent crisis intervention. I believe that what you say, and how you say it, are the keys to successful communication. I currently write about men's health topics, parenting and child abuse topics, and other social issues. You can visit my blog at

Tagged on: alanine    amino acids    arginine    asparagine    aspartic acid    cysteine    glutamic acid    glutamine    glycine    histidine    isoleucine    leucine    lysine    methionine    muscle    phenylalanine    proline    protein    serine    threonine    tryptophan    tyrosine    valine

4 thoughts on “Amino Acids: The Basics

  • 9 May 2016 at 4:17 PM

    Do you think this is something that older folks need to consult a doctor for? The reason I ask, is because any time that I bring up supplements, it seems that my doctor refuses to listen.

  • 28 April 2016 at 11:27 AM

    There are a lot of foods that contain these as well, so it is a good idea to look up what you eat to see how much you are gaining from the foods you already eat 🙂

  • 28 April 2016 at 11:13 AM

    It makes sense, what you are saying. The problem with most people is that they are not aware of the benefits or when to take things like Amino Acids.

  • 23 April 2016 at 8:05 AM

    Both the article and the video were so interesting!! I really love how this blog provides the best info about what matters. Awesome!


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