You may have heard of essential amino acids, but wondered what makes them essential and where do you get them from?
Amino acids are compounds that play many vital roles in the body. They are often called the ‘building blocks’ of proteins, and are required for important processes in the body such as building proteins, hormones and neurotransmitters.
There are nine types of essential amino acids, all of which have an important role to play in the body’s natural process. In this article you will learn about the different essential amino acids, and the benefits they have.
Phenylalanine: This amino acid is turned into neurotransmitters called tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Phenylalanine also plays a vital role in the structure and function of proteins and enzymes and the production of other amino acids.
Valine: This amino acid helps stimulate muscle growth and regeneration and is involved in energy production. It is also one of three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), meaning it has a chain branching off from one side its molecular structure. Studies show that taking BCAAs can improve athletic performance and reduce muscle soreness.
Threonine: Playing an important role in the production of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, this amino acid supports skin health. It is also essential for fat metabolism and immune function.
Tryptophan: Essential for the production of serotonin, tryptophan is the amino acid that can help regulate mood and sleep. Studies suggest that taking tryptophan supplements may help reduce symptoms of depression and improve mood.
Methionine: Necessary for tissue growth and the absorption of zinc and selenium, methionine is important for metabolism and detoxification, as well as overall health.
Leucine: Another BCAA like valine, which is also vital for protein synthesis and muscle repair. Additionally, leucine also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, promotes wound healing and produces growth hormones.
Isoleucine: The third type of BCAAs, this amino acid is used in muscle metabolism. It also plays a role in immune function, haemoglobin production and energy regulation.
Lysine: This amino acid plays many different roles in the body, including protein synthesis, calcium absorption, and the production of hormones and enzymes. It’s also important for energy production, immune function, and the production of collagen and elastin.
Histidine: Vital for maintaining the protective barrier that surrounds the never cells – called the myelin sheath, the body also uses this amino acid to produce histamine, a neurotransmitter that is vital to immune response, digestion, sexual function, and sleep-wake cycles.
Many food sources contain all nine essential amino acids, which are referred to as complete proteins. These food sources include meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products. There are few complete protein sources that are plant-based, which is why many choose to supplement to ensure they are getting the amino acids they need. Our Broad Spectrum Fermented Aminos contains 18 amino acids, including 8 essential aminos and all three BCAAs.