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Essential Amino Acids: What are They and Why Does the body Need Them

Essential Amino Acids: What are They and Why Does the body Need Them

Posted by Sean Eagan on Jul 25th 2020

When it comes to a person's health, we are bombarded with things we "need."

Some of these things are scams. It is no wonder that dietary supplements are a $37 billion a year business. While not all of these supplements are healthy and legit, others are necessary for maintaining a healthy body.

Take essential amino acids, for example. What are they? Why exactly are they so essential and vital? Read on to find out all a person needs to know about amino acids and why we need them.

What Are Amino Acids?

First, let us look at what amino acids are. Amino acids are considered the building blocks of protein. They are necessary for our health and body functions. Amino acid structures are vital in encouraging healthy tissue throughout the body. They also aid in wound repair.

So, how many amino acids are there? Some will say there are twenty amino acids. There are twenty-three protein-building amino acids. Of these twenty-three amino acids, nine are essential, eleven are nonessential, and three are not found within the body.

As mentioned, there are nine essential amino acids. These are "essential" because our body needs them and cannot produce them on its own. These nine essential amino acids are:

  • histidine
  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • lycine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine

Our bodies need these essential amino acids for primary health function. These nine amino acids must be obtained via the food we eat. Some foods contain nine essential amino acids. Some of these foods include:

  • eggs
  • chia seeds
  • soy
  • beef
  • chicken
  • quinoa

Of the nine essential amino acids, three of them are branched-chain amino acids. These BCAAs are valine, isoleucine, and leucine.

Now let us look at some of the benefits of including essential amino acids in our daily diet.

Prevent Muscle Breakdown

Certain amino acids, like the BCAAs, can aid in the prevention of muscle breakdown. Muscle breakdown happens when muscle protein synthesis is exceeded by muscle wasting.

When there is no balance between muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown, BCAAs should be replaced. Essential amino acids can prevent protein breakdown.

Amino acids can also help in building muscles. Certain amino acids can increase the production of lean muscle mass.

Aid in Weight Loss

Studies have shown that people who eat high-protein foods may are less likely to overeat. These same people stay full longer. When people are overweight, they tend to have lower levels of somatotropin (STH), a fat-burning growth hormone.

Certain amino acids have been shown to stimulate the secretion of somatotropin. These amino acids are arginine, glutamine, and methionine.

Improve Sleep and Mood

We should know how unhealthy and potentially dangerous energy drinks are for a person's body. A Person does their health a great disservice using them. Instead, we should consider more natural routes with amino acids.

Certain amino acids help with mood and energy. Phenylalanine, for example, is an essential amino acid that can treat low moods and fatigue. Tyrosine can also be used to treat anxiety, low moods, and fatigue.

Trouble sleeping? Theanine can help. It can create feelings of relaxation to help us wind down at night. GABA is both an amino acid and a neurotransmitter. It can help relax the nervous system when we are feeling stressed.

Tryptophan is also an amino acid that helps with relaxation and aids in sleeping. Do not run for the turkey, however. In order to get an increase, tryptophan in the brain is through dietary supplements.

It is important to note that if a person suffers from depression or has suicidal thoughts, we should always seek professional medical assistance.

Decrease Exercise Fatigue

Amino acids can help keep tryptophan away by improving the body's processing abilities. They can also reduce mental fatigue that results from longer or harder workouts when BCAA levels drop as a result of a workout; tryptophan changes into serotonin, resulting in mental fatigue and feeling tired.

BCAA supplements can prevent this change from happening. They can also increase endurance. An avid exerciser that needs endurance and amino acid supplements can give that boost that is needed.

Amino acids can improve overall performance in workouts and sports activities.

Aid in Muscle Recovery

BCAAs, more specifically leucine, can aid in muscle recovery. Muscle recovery is the process where muscles begin healing and adjust to the act of exercising.

Specific exercises like intense running and weight lifting, create tiny, microscopic tears in the muscles. Satellite cells contain amino acids, travel to damaged muscle cells, and merge them; this is what causes muscle growth.

Taking amino acid supplements can reduce muscle damage, improve recovery, and limit soreness.

Promote Skin Health

While amino acids help muscles, they also promote skin health. Think of amino acids as the building blocks of the skin. Certain essential amino acids greatly benefit the skin.

Leucine can improve wrinkles when combined with proline and glycine. Lysine helps hydrate the skin. Methionine fights skin aging and neutralizes free radicals. Threonine is vital for skin to produce elastin and collagen.

Ensuring that the body is receiving enough amino acids can help keep the skin looking healthy and younger-looking.

Essential Amino Acids Can Improve Health

Whether a person is an athlete, an avid gym-goer, or an average joe looking to improve his health, essential amino acids can help. From improving the skin to improving a fitness regimen, amino acids offer many benefits.

Were you looking for more information about supplements? Be sure to check out our supplement blog for tips and advice regarding supplements and health.