Last Updated on 17 September 2022 by Ray Plumlee

If you think of your body as a machine, then it only makes sense that your machine must have the right combination of parts to function at optimal levels. A huge part of that equation is essential amino acids and supporting nutrients. With a proper diet, and supplementation as needed, men over 60, can help support healthy tissue growth and make vital substances like insulin and antibodies.

What are Amino Acids?

Amino Acids are essentially the building blocks of protein. Separated into two categories – essential and non-essential amino acids, these protein making structures can be found within the body, and absorbed via a healthy diet.

The human body uses twenty amino acids in order to build the various proteins used in the body for growth, repair, and maintain healthy body tissue. Eleven of these amino acids can be made by the human body itself (non-essential), while the other nine (essential) come from the foods that we consume.

The 20 Amino Acids are:

9 Essential:

  1. Histidine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Leucine
  4. Lysine
  5. Methionine
  6. Phenylalanine
  7. Threonine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Valine

11 Non-Essential Amino Acids:

  1. Arginine
  2. Glutamine,
  3. Tyrosine
  4. Cysteine
  5. Glycine
  6. Proline
  7. Serine
  8. Ornithine
  9. Alanine
  10. Asparagine
  11. Aspartate

What are the Benefits of Amino Acids?

Amino acids are used in the body to build protein and produce energy. While other amino acids fill non-have other roles, such as creating neurotransmitters and hormones. Sometimes the name “non-essential” can be confusing, because the acids are still essential to your body, but since your body produces these acids naturally they are not essential to your overall diet. Having the right amount of Amino Acids in the body can help strengthen muscles, prevent fatigue, strengthen the immune system, boost brain function, and even fight depression and digestive ills.

How to Take Amino Acids?

Amino Acids can be found in the foods we eat when consuming a healthy and balanced diet. However, at times it may be necessary to use supplements to increase the amount of amino acids in the body. As men get older the body’s capacity for absorption decreases, and the possibility of becoming nutritionally deficient increases due to factors such as: immobility, depression, lack of a proper diet, and digestive issues. Many patients find that a broad spectrum multi-vitamin is the best answer for supplementing Amino Acids that may be missing, and many foods are high in Amino Acids as well. Fortified breakfast cereals, red meat, Brazil nuts, fish, and dairy products, all contain essential vitamins and minerals.

A trip to the closest nutrition center, or even talking to your primary care provider, can provide you with many supplemental options. There are pills and gel caps, powders and drinks, and even protein bars and snacks, all that continue various Amino Acids and vitamins. Check with your doctor, and see what’s best for your specific needs, just don’t overdo it.

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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 acid benefits    amino acid products    amino acid supplements    amino acids    and valine    arginine    asparagine    aspartic acid    carnitine    cysteine    essential amino acids    glutamic acid    glutamine    glycine    histidine    isoleucine    leucine    lysine    methionine    nonessential amino acids    phenylalanine    proline    semi-essential    serine    threonine    tryptophan    tyrosine
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I appreciate that this article lists the essential and non-essential amino acids separately. Any thoughts on which ones are the most effective for mood and energy support?

Ray Plumlee

Amino acids for energy naturally fuel your body throughout the day while also boosting your mood, and these six can be especially helpful!: L-Tyrosine: A precursor of adrenaline, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are important for maintaining a sense of well-being and energy which also promotes a healthy metabolism and nervous system. L-Phenylalanine: An essential amino acid which cannot be manufactured by the body. L-Phenylalanine produces tyrosine, one of the best amino acids for energy and better moods. GABA: An amino acid and a neurotransmitter. Works at relaxing the nervous system even in small doses. GABA is best taken as a… Read more »

Timmy Jones

Good article that ended with great advice. I was doing the research myself but I think I will ask my doctor for his input on my supplement plan. I have no health issues, but I am 65.

Greg Smith

Thanks for the bit of clarification about nonessential amino acids. I had heard the term and until now really did not understand the difference, between essential and nonessential amino acids, nor why there even was a difference.


Hey Ray, thank you for this article! After you first posted this article, I went to the store to grab some amino acid supplements and I feel so much better now. Just wanted to drop by and recommend everyone to take them!

Steve Pierce

Great article. I am going to concentrate on amino acids and mostly because my energy level has diminished over the years. Maybe that is part of it.


The lady in the health store always recommends me amino acids, so I buy them. I never really understood them until I read this article, thank you for the explanation!


Excellent information. I take Amino Acids but to be honest I really knew nothing more about them than they were necessary. I did not even know there were non-essential Amino Acids.


This article helped me (and my father) a lot. Are there any benefits to taking amino acids in multi vitamins even when one does have a healthy diet?

Ray Plumlee

As you know I am not an expert. In my experience you can’t readily get multivitamins with amino acids. They are readily available as individual aminos or in combinations for helping with specific issues. For example taking 6 grams of L-Arginine and 4 grams L-Glutamine at bedtime helps stimulate the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) while you sleep.



I take some protein food when I have to work more physically. As I have it planned I already prepare/buy some protein drinks. I feel better and it doesn’t let my body eat me out from inside.

Paul B

Thank you very much for this information. I found it very helpful, thank you once again.


Thanks for the good article. I agree, they are super important for several reasons, just as you say. If an essential amino acid is low or missing, the effectiveness of all the others will be proportionally reduced.


Short, sweet and to the point. I knew that they are building blocks of muscles but I had no idea there are essential and non essential and if we work out and not take in the right amount the muscles won’t grow… thanks!

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