Amino Acids Functions And Uses: Why Your Body Needs Them
Amino acids are organic compounds that function as the building blocks of protein.
Amino acids are simple organic compounds that combine to form proteins. Amino Acids are fundamental in a number of body functions, including muscle repair, tissue growth, energy regulation, and more.
The human body is 20 percent protein in the form of hair, nails, muscles, skin, and bones to name a few. And as these body parts perform important life functions, they are undeniably exposed to wear and tear that requires restoration everyday. This repair job is facilitated by a long chain of amino acids called proteins.
There are 22 basic amino acids; eight (8) are considered to be essential. Meaning, they come only from the diet. The other 14 are deemed as non-essential because they are synthesized by the body from the essential ones.
What Are The Functions Of Essential Amino Acids?
Each essential amino acid has various roles. Lysine is involved in the production of collagen and elastin while Tryptophan plays a role in sleep, appetite, and mood. Then there’s Leucine for blood sugar level, wound healing and growth hormone; Phenylalanine for the production of neurotransmitters; Histidine for sexual function; Valine for muscle growth and energy and Threonine for fat metabolism.
A deficiency in amino acids is commonly associated with symptoms of fatigue, interrupted or lack of sleep, osteoporosis, delayed wound healing, weak nails and bones, loss of hair, muscle atrophy, weak immune system, depression, and anxiety.
What Causes Low Amino Acids?
Limited protein intake is probably the most common cause of an amino acid deficiency. One must take note that the essential amino acids are not produced by the body so must be taken from protein-rich foods such as eggs, dairy, milk, cheese, yogurt, shrimp, lean meat, and legumes. Daily meals must be balanced with rich amino acid sources as the body is not able to store an excess of them.
But it is worth noting that despite a healthy consumption of protein-rich meals, some individuals still present symptoms of amino acid deficiency. In some cases, tests would show a lack of digestive enzymes important in the breakdown of proteins into amino acids.
Most enzymes are proteins. Therefore, low protein intake may influence enzyme levels in the body, which could also lead to amino acid deficiency. This is a vicious cycle that can be broken only by supplementation of amino acids.
Effective amino acid supplements are fully utilized by the body within minutes to make enzymes in order to digest protein. When this happens, the body is able to function better in generating muscle growth, bone strength, an increased immunity, enhanced energy and physical endurance, a better quality of sleep, a healthy mental focus, and shiny hair.
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