9 Essential Amino Acids and Their Importance to Your Health

Hot Health
By Hot Health September 5, 2016 14:47
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9 Essential Amino Acids and Their Importance to Your Health

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Amino Acids

The human body requires over 12 amino acids to function properly. Apart from being the building blocks of proteins, amino acids (as 3-dimensional structures of proteins) are responsible for many important functions from gene reproduction to digestion. Amino acids are often classified as essential and non-essential amino acids. Out of the 20 essential amino acids, there are almost 9 which must be included in your diet because the human body cells are incapable of producing them. Essential or non-essential, amino acids are very important to keep a body fit and running. The regular intake of these amino acids is necessary because they are not stored in the body for prolonged time.

In an average diet, fish, poultry, meat, and dairy products can be rich sources of amino acids. Vegetarian counterparts of these foods include plant foods and beans. In fact, plant foods have shown to be richer in amino acid lysine as compared to meat.

Let’s take a look at the nine essential amino acids which are imperative for a healthy body.

  • Lysine

Integrated into a number of proteins, Lysine is essential for maintaining the nitrogen balance in the body. It appears throughout the body and aids in absorbing and conserving calcium. The deficiency of Lysine can potentially lead to the absence of Vitamin B or Niacin which can become a cause of a disease names Pellagra. Lysine can also help as a nutritional supplement in a fight against conditions like herpes. Fish, cereal grains and legumes are some rich sources of Lysine.

  • Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine acts as the building block for a number of proteins and can be converted into L-tryosine. From L-tryosine, it can further be converted to epinephrine, L-dopa and norepinephrine. The lack of phenylalanine can potentially cause conditions in children which are accompanied by symptoms such as inability to walk or converse, mental retardation and seizures. It may also hamper the growth in some children. Pulses, legumes, milk, nuts, avocados and seafood are some sources of Phenylalanine.

  • Histidine

This amino acid is present in the hemoglobin in high concentrations and hence aids in the maintenance of blood pH. Histidine has been used to treat anemia and rheumatoid arthritis. Histidine is the amino predecessor of histamine which is responsible for the body’s reaction to inflammatory or allergic reactions. Histidine thus has a significant role in treating allergies. Apples, celery, garlic, spinach, cucumber and turnip greens are foods rich in Histidine.

  • Tryptophan

Tryptophan is also known as the natural relaxant in that it helps insomniac patients by inducing normal sleep. This amino acid has been found helpful in curtailing conditions such as depression and anxiety, cure headaches caused by migraine and lower the risk of heart and artery spasms. Tryptophan also works with Lysine to bring down the cholesterol levels and helps the immune system of the body. This amino acid also assists in antibodies’ production. Red meat, sunflower seeds, milk, fish, poultry and peanuts are rich in Tryptophan.

  • Methionine

A supplier of sulphur and other important compounds, Methionine takes care that the body’s metabolism does not go off-track. This amino acids belongs to the lipotropics group of compounds which assist the liver in processing fat. Beef, fish, soy, turkey, cheese, beans and nuts are rich sources of Methionine.

  • Threonine

This amino acid is responsible for preventing the buildup of fatty acids in the liver. Threonine acts as a potential detoxifier and is therefore required in the gastrointestinal tract of the body. Like Tryptophan, Threonine also aids in the production of antibodies and gets converted to Glycine in the central nervous system. Meat, fish, lentils and cheese are good sources of Threonine.

  • Valine

Valine amino acid is vigorously absorbed and used by the muscles as a source of energy. Valine is one of the three branched-chain amino acids that works with the other two in repairing tissues, provide the body with energy, regulate blood sugar levels and promote normal growth. Beef, soyabean, pork, nuts, mushrooms, beans and whole grains are rich sources of Valine.

  • Isoleucine and Leucine

These are the other two branched-chain amino acids that are responsible for muscle strength, endurance and stamina. Isoleucine is primarily used as an energy source by the cells and is also required in the formation of hemoglobin. This amino acid can potentially help in healing the bones and also stimulates insulin. Other than that, it assists in the release of natural pain-reducers and promotes skin healing. Pork, mutton, chicken, eggs, beans and pulses are foods rich in Isoleucine and Leucine.


What happens if I do not consume amino acids regularly?

Since most amino acids are neither produced nor stored by the human body, their absence can create some considerable problems. Due to the lack of essential amino acids, muscle and nerve tissues begin to degrade. Body processes involving enzymes slow down and eventually come to a halt. The absence of any of the essential amino acids can lead to various diseases in the body.

Hot Health
By Hot Health September 5, 2016 14:47
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