functions of amino acids in the body

The functions of amino acids in the body are enormous, Amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of proteins, are compounds that play many critical roles in the body.

They’re needed for vital processes like the building of proteins and the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters.

When a person eats foods that contain protein, their digestive system breaks the protein down into amino acids. The body then combines the amino acids in various ways to carry out bodily functions.

What Are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are carboxylic acids having amino groups, the most important types of amino acids are the α-amino acids, Amino acids are mostly formed with carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen along with other naturally occurring elements.

About 500 amino acids are known to us of which 20 are the most important and common in use.

They are present as the second-largest component in the human body in making muscles and tissues along with water.

Lack Of Amino acids In The Body:

Amino acid deficiency can result in decreased immunity, digestive problems, depression, fertility issues, lower mental alertness, slowed growth in children, and many other health issues.

Types Of Amino Acids:

functions of amino acids in the body

 

They are three types of amino acids which includes… 

  • Essential Amino acids
  • Non-essential Amino acids
  • Conditional Amino acids…

Essential Amino Acids:

There are nine essentials amino acids and your body cannot produce these essential amino acids. These must be obtained by an external source, usually through food or supplementation. Most people can get enough essential amino acids through their diets. The essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Functions Of The Nine Essential Amino Acids In The Body:

Phenylalanine: Phenylalanine is a precursor for the neurotransmitters tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It plays an integral role in the structure and function of proteins and enzymes and the production of other amino acids (1).

Valine: Valine is one of three branched-chain amino acids, meaning it has a chain branching off to one side of its molecular structure. Valine helps stimulate muscle growth and regeneration and is involved in energy production (2).

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Threonine: Threonine is necessary for healthy skin and teeth, as it is a component in tooth enamel, collagen, and elastin. It helps aid fat metabolism and may be beneficial for people with indigestion, anxiety, and mild depression.

2018 study found that threonine deficiency in fish led to these animals having a lowered resistance to disease.

Methionine: Methionine and the non-essential amino acid cysteine play a role in the health and flexibility of skin and hair. Methionine also helps keep nails strong. It aids the proper absorption of selenium and zinc and the removal of heavy metals, such as lead and mercury.

Leucine: Like valine, leucine is a branched-chain amino acid that is critical for protein synthesis and muscle repair. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, stimulates wound healing and produces growth hormones (3).

Isoleucine: The last of the three branched-chain amino acids, isoleucine is involved in muscle metabolism and is heavily concentrated in muscle tissue. It’s also important for immune function, haemoglobin production and energy regulation (4).

Lysine: Lysine plays major roles in protein synthesis, hormone and enzyme production and the absorption of calcium. It’s also important for energy production, immune function and the production of collagen and elastin (5).

Tryptophan: Tryptophan is necessary for proper growth in infants and is a precursor of serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep, mood, and pain. Melatonin also regulates sleep.(6)

Tryptophan is a sedative, and it is an ingredient in some sleep aids. One study indicates that tryptophan supplementation can improve mental energy and emotional processing in healthy women.(7)

Tryptophan deficiency can cause a condition called pellagra, which can lead to dementia, skin rashes, and digestive issues.

Histidine: Histidine facilitates growth, the creation of blood cells, and tissue repair. It also helps maintain the special protective covering over nerve cells, which is called the myelin sheath.(8)

The body metabolizes histidine into histamine, which is crucial for immunity, reproductive health, and digestion. The results of a study that recruited women with obesity and metabolic syndrome suggest that histidine supplements may lower BMI and insulin resistance.(9)

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Deficiency can cause anaemia, and low blood levels appear to be more common among people with arthritis and kidney disease.(10)

Non-essential amino acids:

Non-essential amino acids are those that your body naturally produces throughout the day whether you eat food that contains them or not.

The non-essential amino acids are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid, etc.

Functions Of The Non-Essential Amino Acids In The Body:

Alanine: During exercise, muscle tissue breaks down and toxins are released. Alanine works to remove these toxins so that the liver is able to metabolize them and eliminate them from the body. Alanine may also help to keep cholesterol levels in check.

Serine: Serine builds muscle and plays an important role in DNA and RNA synthesis and protein. It also protects the immune system by producing antibodies when foreign substances attack.

Asparagine: A requirement in amino acid transformation, asparagine helps the nervous system maintain its equilibrium. It also acts as a detoxifier in the system and regulates metabolism.

Aspartic Acid: Similar to asparagine, aspartic acid helps to elevate metabolic levels. Due to its effect on cellular energy, it is sometimes used to combat fatigue and depression. Aspartic acid also acts as a synthesizer for other amino acids.

Cysteine: Like alanine, cysteine works as a detoxifier in the body, but also performs as an antioxidant, combating free-radicals. It also strengthens stomach lining and is essential to healthy hair, skin and nails.

Cystine: Created from the formation of two cysteine molecules, and therefore regarded as a more stable amino acid, cystine also works as a powerful antioxidant and helps to form strong connective tissues.

Cystine is one of the amino acids responsible for the creation of glutathione, a vital liver detoxifier, and has been used in topical treatments to maintain youthful-looking skin.

Arginine: Arginine is vital to cell division, immune system functioning, healing wounds, and releasing hormones. It also helps activate the growth hormone in the brain and helps maintain a high sperm count.

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Glutamine: Glutamine helps the brain stay healthy and contributes to the formation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Made up of cystine, glutamine and glycine, glutathione is an amino acid that is found within all cells and affects virtually every system in the body.

It has anti-ageing properties, improves brain function and protects cells from oxidative stress. Glutathione may also lower blood pressure, improve sperm count in males and help in the treatment of certain types of cancer.

Glycine: Glycine creates nucleic acids and helps the body build proteins, A glucogenic amino acid, glycine supplies beneficial glucose the body needs for energy.

It is essential for proper cell growth and function, and is also crucial to digestive health. Glycine makes up a large portion of collagen which helps skin retain its elasticity and healing properties.

Taurine: Like glutamine, Taurine is a free amino acid that travels through the bloodstream and is also a detoxifier and digestion aid. It has also been shown to improve brain function and athletic performance.

Threonine: A protein balancer in the body, threonine helps to form tooth enamel, stabilize blood sugar levels and assists in healthy liver function. It also acts as a stress reducer and skin rebuilder.

Conditional amino acids:

What are referred to as conditional amino acids are also of great importance to our body since no human is immune to illness.

These amino acids are produced only under specific circumstances, typically when your body is fighting off an illness or dealing with stress. The conditional amino acids are arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.

Note: The best way to make sure your amino acid needs are met? A balanced, protein-rich diet with an essential amino acid supplement to shore up any gaps in protein nutrition.

If you feel ill, please consult your doctor immediately.

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