Why We Need Amino Acids
by: Chester Ku-Lea
AMINO ACIDS are the building blocks of the body. Besides building cells and repairing
tissue, they form antibodies to combat invading bacteria & viruses; they are part of the
enzyme & hormonal system; they build nucleoproteins (RNA & DNA); they carry
oxygen throughout the body and participate in muscle activity. When protein is broken
down by digestion the result is 22 known amino acids.

As the building blocks of protein, amino acids are vital to health. Next to water, amino
acids in the form of proteins make up the greatest portion of our body weight. They
comprise tendons, muscles and ligaments; organs and glands; hair and nails; important
bodily fluids, and are a necessary part of every cell in the body.

There are over 20 amino acids, separated into two categories - essential and non-
essential. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be manufactured by your body,
hence, it is essential that you obtain them from your diet. Non-essential amino acids can
be manufactured by your body, however, your body must have the right combination of
essential amino acids and supporting nutrients to optimize healthy protein maintenance,
so supplementation may be desirable. Twenty amino acids are needed to build the
various proteins used in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Eleven of
these amino acids can be made by the body itself, while the other nine (called essential
amino acids) must come from the diet. The essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine,
lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Another amino
acid, histidine, is considered semi-essential because the body does not always require
dietary sources of it. The nonessential amino acids are arginine, alanine, asparagine,
aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
Other amino acids, such as carnitine, are used by the body in ways other than protein-
building and are often used therapeutically.

Who is likely to be deficient?

Dieters, some strict vegetarian body builders, and anyone consuming an inadequate
number of calories may not be consuming adequate amounts of amino acids. In these
cases, the body will break down the protein in muscle tissue and use those amino acids
to meet the needs of more important organs or will simply not build more muscle mass
despite increasing exercise.

Amino acids are not only absolutely integral to life, but they can have a profound impact
upon how clearly we think and how well we feel.


• builds cells and repairs tissue
• assists with wound healing
• increases athletic performance

About The Author

Chester Ku-Lea is a health nutrition consultant and is the owner of .
com - a provider of premium health nutrition and sports supplements.


This article was posted on March 06, 2006

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