One fifth of our body consists of proteins. Muscles, bones and skin in particular include large amounts of protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Amino acids are therefore essential for growth and the constant repair of these tissues.
The importance of amino acids as the precursors of enzymes and neurotransmitters is often underestimated. As such, amino acids regulate almost all of the metabolic processes in the human body, and they are essential for a healthy body.
Most hormones consist of amino acids, they are utilized to make enzymes that support biochemical reactions, and produce hormones that influence the body’s metabolism. Moreover, some amino acids act as neurotransmitters, chemicals that play a crucial role in transmitting messages within the neurons of the brain, while others are involved in detoxification reactions and metabolic functions.
Amino acids also enable vitamins and minerals to carry out their jobs properly and efficiently. They are also utilized to make hemoglobin that carries oxygen through the body, they transport nutrients. Amino acids even have a role in repairing muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails, and hair.
Adequate amounts of dietary protein are needed to form all 22 amino acid, if you don’t get enough protein your body won’t have the 9 essential amino acids it needs to make up the other 13 nonessential amino acids. The term “complete” refers to foods that have all nine essential amino acids present in the correct proportion for our bodies to build protein within. Nine of these are called essential amino acids. These nine essential amino acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from food or supplements.
L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-lysine, L-methionine, L-phenylalanine, L-threonine, L-tryptophan, L-valine
L-arginine, L-cysteine, L-histidine, L-tyrosine
L-alanine, L-asparagine, Asparagine acid, L-glutamine, L-glutamic acid, L-glycine, L-proline, L-serine
Amino acids occur in very different concentrations within different foods. Protein rich foods offer the best sources of amino acids foods, these foods are generally meat, dairy products and seafood. However, plant derived food can also provide a good source of protein and amino acids. An increasing number of people choose to eat plant-based proteins over animal proteins for ethical and health reasons. For example Quinoa and Amaranth boast a complete amino acid profile.