If you took any biology class in high school or maybe have friends that are into muscle building, then you probably have heard about the compounds called amino acids. These amino acids are protein’s building blocks. They are the foundation upon which protein is built. Protein is a macronutrient along with carbohydrates and fats. It makes up the majority of our diet and bodybuilders specifically love amino acids because protein has a major part to play in muscle mass building. There are nine amino acids that are known as the essentials. In total, we have twenty-one amino acids but these nine have more functions and our body largely depends on them.
These nine essential amino acids are gotten from protein-rich foods and are vital to the numerous biological process that our body undergoes. It includes providing the structure of the cell, forming muscles and organs, producing energy, metabolism, and tissue repair.
The Nine Amino Acids
Whenever you hear or see “nine amino acids” know that it is referring to the nine essential. These are histidine, lysine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, threonine, and tryptophan. Each of these has its unique properties, there are some that are more effective and important in the development of muscle, there are some that have a vital role in the production of collagen or mood regulation. This means that there are situations or conditions whereby a particular amino acid has to be sought after based on individual needs. For example, doctors have recorded success in treating health conditions like anxiety and diabetes with amino acid therapy.
Our bodies do not produce essential amino acids. There are two other categories of amino acids, nonessential and conditionally essential. While our body may produce the latter two, we get the essential amino acids majorly from our diet. This is why people are encouraged to eat a protein-rich food. Our body takes this protein and breaks it into the nine essential amino acids. The food sources where we can get these are animal and plant-based foods, such as eggs, beef, poultry, dairy, and fish.
Specific Functions Of The Essential Amino Acids.
This essential amino acid is necessary for tissue repair and growth, especially in the maintenance of the protective covering of the nervous system known as the myelin sheath. This sheath is responsible for making sure that the nerve cells receive and sends messages to the brain. Histidine also prevents the tissue from getting damaged by radiation. Heavy metals are removed from the body by the chelating function of this amino acid.
It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has a part to play in the reduction of the symptoms that comes with rheumatoid arthritis. It acts as a precursor to histamine, histamine helps in immune function and in the production of white and red blood cells.
This is a three-branched amino acid along with valine and leucine. It functions in muscle growth and repair and is a large concentration of it can be found in muscle tissue. It also has a vital role to play in supplying fuel to the muscles and in muscle metabolism. Muscle spasms are a sign of isoleucine deficiency.
This amino acid also functions in the formation of blood clots and hemoglobin production. It also regulates energy and blood sugar levels by maximizing the glucose-burning ability of the body during exercise.
This essential amino is also three branches and the body uses it for muscle growth and repair. It is actually considered the most crucial amino acid in muscle mass building. This is partly because it seems like the major amino acid that is responsible for the activation of the signaling pathway known as the mTOR.
This pathway is responsible for triggering the synthesis of protein. Leucine also helps in synthesizing growth hormones and promoting the release of insulin which regulates the sugar level of the blood. It also helps in healing skin, bones, and muscle tissues after severe stress or trauma.
Lysine helps in producing various enzymes, antibodies, and hormones. It also plays a crucial role in immune function. Some research suggests that its antiviral properties are effective in protecting against herpes. this is because it prevents the virus from growing quickly by balancing our bodies nutrients. Lysine also helps in collagen production, mental health, reducing the level of stress hormone and reducing anxiety.
This amino acid contains sulfur which aids in various detoxifying processes like absorbing zinc and selenium, protecting the cells from pollutants, and slows down cell aging. It also improves your skin elasticity and tone and strengthens the nails and hair. Methionine also chelates mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. It helps in fat metabolism and helps to avoid fat deposition in your liver. However, a lot of this amino acid might result in atherosclerosis or fat deposition in your arteries.
This plays a vital role in creating other amino acids like tyrosine. This tyrosine then produces several molecules and substances that help in regulating emotion response and mood. And also regulates the flight and fight response.
This compound aids elastin and collagen production. It also helps in keeping the digestive tract and gut healthy. Threonine produces the protective layer of the digestive tract. Without this layer, we would be at risk of autoimmune conditions.
This amino acid is effective in relieving premenstrual symptoms. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates pain, sleep, and mood uses tryptophan as its precursor.
Valine is among the three branched-chain amino acids. It plays a role in muscle growth and repair. It also helps in blood sugar regulation and energy level maintenance. Valine is also said to maintain physical and mental stamina. It is known as a very useful therapy for liver disease.
These are all of the nine amino acids that are vital to our health. A deficiency of any will lead to a specific health condition. The best way to avoid this is to make sure our daily diet has a sufficient amount of proteins.