What do essential amino acids do to your body? You may have heard a lot about amino acids and their potential benefits. High-school biology says that they the foundation and building blocks of proteins. By the way, protein is a macro-nutrient. Together with carbs and fats, proteins make up most of what we eat. But there seems to be something special about amino acids and proteins. Of all three macros, you would only hear of protein powders and amino acid supplements. You are not likely to find any carb powder or supplements in a health store. Fats already got bad raps too, so you can’t find it in supplemental forms. So, what is so special about amino acids?
Bodybuilders believe that aminos would get them ripped and bulky. And even those who are not building their muscles take amino acids seriously too for many different reasons. The focus, however, is usually on a specific type of amino acid called essential amino acids. This is quite understandable because these are the amino acids that your body cannot produce by itself. If you can produce them by yourself, then there is no reason to get them from food or in supplemental forms. There are a total of nine aminos termed “essential” amino acids. 11 others are termed non-essential because our bodies can make them. Altogether, there are 20 aminos that our bodies need for proper and efficient function.
An Overview of Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)
The 9 EAAs are as follows:
Each of them has its peculiar and unique properties and functions. But one thing common to all of them is that your body uses them to make proteins. However, since proteins are diverse in the body, the proteins that each EAA makes are where its uniqueness is.
For instance, certain EAAs are very vital for the building up of muscle tissues. Some others, on the other hand, are more important in the regulation of mood. Still, some are needed more for making structural proteins like collagen.
Meanwhile, doctors have been able to successfully treat certain health conditions with ease. Such conditions include anxiety and diabetes. Not all amino acids would take care of these conditions, but only those whose functions are related to those areas.
This implies that what EAAs will do in your body depends on the particular EAA we are talking about. So then, if you are seeking a particular health benefit, you should seek the specific EAAs that would meet those needs.
Sometimes, it is as simple and as straightforward as we have presented it. But at other times, it is not. This is because all of these EAAs work together to keep us in good health and to carry out certain functions.
For instance, if 6 EAAs are parts of a given protein, your body would not be able to make that protein if only one of the EAAs is absent. It doesn’t matter if the other 5 are in surplus.
So then, it is not sometimes as simple as looking for a particular amino acid to meet a particular need. The important thing is to get an adequate supply of all the EAAs. You do get them on your plate or buy supplements to make up for their supply.
What Do Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) Do?
Three functions stand out from all the benefits of EAAs. These are the common reasons why people take EAAs very seriously:
Experts have found that the EAA, lysine has a great role in the production and synthesis of collagen. As such, it contributes significantly to healthy skin, hair, and nails. It does this by strengthening the connective tissue in these parts of the body.
As such, lysine is very vital for maintaining youthful looks. You would age faster if there is not enough supply of lysine to your body.
Lysine supports skin firmness as well as other natural functions of the skin. More so, collagen (made with lysine) protects your connective tissues. It also contributes significantly to strong cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
What’s more, collagen helps to replenish the moisture of your skin. This, in turn, increases skin elasticity, decreases fine lines, and increases smoothness.
Some are found in the muscle tissues to boost oxygen supply to your muscles. These include the branched-chain aminos, isoleucine, valine, and leucine. They support exercise recovery, boost performance during workouts, and improve endurance.
When your workouts become better, you would lose weight faster and be able to stay fit. More so, EAAs help you to build muscles rather than accumulate fats. They generally increase fat metabolism in your body, helping you to shed off excess weight.
We have talked a little bit about this already. But this is worth considering separately. Amino acids are generally vital when it comes to the development and growth of muscles.
Methionine is an EAA. It promotes creatine production in your body. Creatine is a compound that boosts the growth of muscle mass. Lysine, another EAA, also helps your muscles to recover faster from the effects of extensive movement.
Two things are sure to happen when you take EAAs the right way. Your muscle mass would increase and your bone mass would increase too. These together would increase your power and strength. These happen because EAAs increase the absorption of calcium within your bones.
Your Daily Need of EAAs
The recommended consumption of EAAs daily depends on your body weight. An average-sized adult would need the following amounts of EAAs daily:
- 14mg Histidine
- 24mg Valine
- 19mg Isoleucine
- 20mg Threonine
- 38mg Lysine
- 5mg Tryptophan
- 42mg Leucine
- 33mg Phenylalanine
- 19mg Methionine
You could get these supplied from protein-rich meals from foods like meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. But if you cannot meet up through your diet, you can make it up by taking supplements.
What do essential amino acids do? They do a lot. Their importance cannot be overemphasized. We must, therefore, make sure to get an adequate supply of the EAAs daily.