Amino acids play very crucial roles in the body. Formation of proteins, which is their central role, is one of the most vital functions they play in the body, putting in mind, that proteins take up seventy percent of the body mass after withdrawing water.
Nature provides about one hundred amino acids, but the human body uses slightly above twenty amino acids. The interaction of amino acids, the sequence of combination as well as chemical composition leads to different proteins with different properties.
The proteins that form the human body fall into two major groups, essential amino acids on one hand and non-essential amino acids on the other side. The grouping of these amino acids is on their sources, not function, which could be a little deceptive in the first case.
Essential amino acids
Essential amino acids, which are known by another name as indispensable amino acids are that the body is unable to synthesize by its internal mechanism, meaning that one has to supply them through diet.
The body does not have a mechanism to store amino acids, which means that they will be used as they become available and the rest will have to be expelled from the system.
The body acquires these amino acids by breaking down the proteins supplied through diet, absorbing them into the blood stream before assimilating them into molecules it can readily process. Common essential amino acids include:
Lysine is one of the most important essential proteins, which works to enhance calcium absorption as well as encouraging the mobilization of energy and growth of lean muscle.
This amino acid further drives nitrogen into the cells for use as well as maintaining a nitrogen balance in the body.
The result of this is growth and maintenance of lean muscle, without which such muscle could easily wear off over time.
Many studies also point to the role of lysine in the production of antibodies and hormones, otherwise known as chemical messengers.
Histidine is essential in the repair of wounded body tissues and replacement of some specialized cells. This amino acid is used in the production and maintenance of specialized cells called glial nerve cells, which form a protective layer to shield the nerves.
Nerves are the sensor and communication devices of the body, so injury or miscommunication means the body will not respond to stimuli.
Histidine plays another crucial role by taking part in the formation of blood cells, namely the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to the different body parts and white blood cells that are responsible for the body immunity.
As if it has not done enough to the body, this amino acid cushion the body from harmful radiations, controls iron levels in the body and takes part in the digestion process by production of gastric juices on the stomach walls.
BCAAs, which means branched-chain amino acids, refer to a group of three amino acids leucine, valine and isoleucine, all of which have a unique characteristic in that their molecular structures are branch-like, giving them an ability to perform some of the tasks other amino acids cannot do.
These amino acids occupy the top seat when it comes to bodybuilding, given their role in the synthesis of muscle proteins and the maintenance of such muscle against rapture and breakdown.
They have also found their way to the medical corridors where they are used for the treatment of dizziness, irritability, depression, headaches and fatigue resulting from protein deficiencies.
These three further provide the fuel that keeps the muscle going during intensive workouts, and several studies link leaner bodies to a higher intake of them.
Phenylalanine plays a crucial role in the stimulation of mood and avoidance of stress. This amino acid excites the nerve system, which in turn keeps the moods elevated as well as aiding in memory.
They are also used as neurotransmitters capable of bypassing the blood-brain blockade to deliver messages to either side.
These amino acids further play a role in absorbing UV rays, upping the strength of the immune system and enhancing production of vitamin D in the body.
Methionine is crucial for the production of testosterone and breakdown of fats. This acid is also an antioxidant, helping the body with the supply of Sulphur and the inactivation of free radicals moving in the system. It also works in conjunction with phenylalanine to enhance recall capability of the brain.
Non-essential amino acids
Well, I started by specifying that the classification, here is by source and not usefulness, because if you rely on the meaning implied by the latter you may not bother reading to the end.
This group of Non-essential amino acids refers to those that are naturally available in the body in abundant levels and the body can synthesize them on need, so you do not have to supply them through the diet.
The human body can synthesize up to eleven non-essential amino acids. Common ones include the following:
- Aspartic acid
Glutamine is the most abundant of all amino acids. It forms more than sixty percent of all the available amino acids in the body. It is important for concentration as well as memory.
When this amino acid enters the brain cells, it turns to glutamic acid, which has been connected to the functioning of the brain cells.
Several studies indicate that it binds itself to nitrogen and ammonia to help in the detoxification of the brain cells, as well as playing a central role in the formation of gene and genetic information.
Asparagine is important for maintenance of the nervous system equilibrium. It also regulates the levels of body metabolism and neutralizes certain toxins in the body.
Threonine balances protein levels and takes part in the formation of the enamel of the teen. It has been indicated to aid in the maintenance of glucose levels in the body, along with acting against stress and boosting the working of the liver.
Arginine is a special amino acid because of its ability to retain nitrogen molecules. It keeps the immune system on alert, strengthens it against foreign bodies, and ignites the release of insulin by the pancreas. Other studies suggest that this amino acid may be the reason behind sexual excitement as well.