Amino acids sound familiar to many people, but often they do not know exactly what they are and what they do for the body. And that while amino acids are the basis of all life processes in the human body, since they are absolutely essential for any metabolic process. In this article you will find more information about the effectiveness of amino acids and the types of amino acids.
Our body consists of twenty percent proteins. You can see amino acids as the building blocks of the proteins in body cells. They are chemical molecules that occur in all living things. Amino acids provide for the storage of nutrients such as carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and water. They are also used for the production of enzymes, antibodies, hormones and signaling substances.
What do amino acids do for the body
Amino acids are mainly absorbed through the proteins in our diet. They are then broken down into amino acids via the digestive system. Since a large part of our cells, muscles and tissue consists of amino acids, they perform many important functions in our body. The sulfur-containing amino acids also have an anti-oxidative effect.
Amino acids play an important role in:
- Transport and storage of nutrients
- The creation of new cells
- Energy production
- The transfer of incentives
- Building and maintaining your muscles
- The production of strong connective tissue and the growth of healthy bones
- Wound healing and repair of tissue (especially muscles, bones, skin and hair)
- Counteracting the negative consequences associated with metabolic disorders
Due to an optimal balance of amino acids, conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis diabetes, insomnia, erection and cholesterol problems are less likely. In addition, the right amino acids also have positive effects on the skin, wrinkle formation, hair loss, fat burning, mood, performance, libido and menopause.
Amino acids and sports
Amino acids play an important role in the nutrition and supplementation of (top) athletes and bodybuilders. This is because all physiological processes related to sports: energy, recovery, muscle and strength gain, fat loss, mood and brain function are closely linked to amino acids and especially the BCAAs.
BCAAs or Branched-Chain Amino Acids are three essential amino acids (L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine) with a branched chain that humans cannot produce themselves. BCAAs mainly concentrate in the muscles, where they are necessary for building and repairing muscle tissue and can also be broken down for the production of energy. BCAAs also ensure less rapid acidification of the muscles. A good intake of BCAAs is beneficial for muscle mass, muscle strength, muscle coordination, endurance and vitality.
Types of amino acids
There are hundreds of amino acids, but we’re talking about the 22 “standard” amino acids that make up proteins. These amino acids can be divided into three groups: essential, semi-essential and non-essential amino acids. Despite the naming, the three groups are equally important to the human body.
The body can make 13 of the 22 amino acids. These are the non-essential amino acids. The other nine you have to get through food or supplementation, these are the essential amino acids. In addition, six are semi-essential. That is, the body can normally make them itself. Only under certain circumstances, for example with diseases and conditions, the body cannot make enough of it. Then supplementation via food or supplements is necessary.
|Essential amino acids||Non-essential amino acids||Semi-essential amino acids|
Examples of protein-rich foods that the body converts into amino acids are nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, rice, bread, fish, shellfish, dairy, egg, poultry and meat. It is important to ensure that the essential amino acids are maintained. Unfortunately, the quality of our food is becoming less and less, but you can also supplement amino acids through supplementation in the form of capsules or protein shakes.
Essential amino acids
As mentioned above, there are nine essential amino acids that we must get through food. Read below how these amino acids work.
- Histidine: contributes to a faster recovery of various body tissues, improves gastric acid secretion and stimulates the auditory nerves, is involved in many metabolic processes in the body and plays an important role in the production of red and white blood cells
- Isoleucine: helps promote muscle recovery.
- Leucine: helps regulate blood sugar, tissue growth / repair, growth hormone production.
- Lysine: helps to maintain the nitrogen balance in the body.
- Methionine: Helps to break down fats and prevents fat build-up in the arteries, while also helping to remove heavy metals from the body.
- Phenylalanine: building block for the different proteins that are produced by the body.
- Threonine: aids in the formation of collagen which serves the elasticity of the skin. Supports proper functioning of the liver and immune system.
- Tryptophan: helps against insomnia and reduces anxiety and depression. Supports the immune system and helps cure migraines.
- Valine: Helps repair / grow tissue and maintains a good nitrogen balance in the body.
In short, amino acids that form proteins are essential for the body and overall health. Amino acids are indispensable for everyone, and not only for (top) athletes. Therefore, ensure a varied diet with sufficient protein or supplementation.