What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 amino acids responsible for building proteins. A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissues are made up of amino acids. In fact, 20% of the human body is made up of amino acids, which also give cells their structure.
Proteins are responsible for growth, healing of wounds, repairing of body tissue especially muscles, bones, skin and hair. They also help the body break down food because the enzymes responsible for digestion are proteins and they also influence the function of organs, glands, tendons and blood vessels.
Amino acids are classified into three groups: essential, non-essential and conditional.
Essential Amino Acids
These are the ones that cannot be synthesized by the human body and therefore they must come from food. The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, theonine, tryptophan and valine.
Animal products like Beef, contain all the essential amino acids.
Most plant foods do not have all the essential amino acids but Quinoa and soy products provide all the essential amino acids.
Non-essential Amino Acids
These are the amino acids that the human the body can synthesize and therefore we don’t need to get them from an external food source. They are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid and serine
Conditional Amino Acids:
These are the six amino acids essential in times of illness or stress and include: arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, proline.