What is Amino Acid Used For?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. It’s important to know what is an amino acid used for. There are different benefits for the body and brain. Aminos can help to build/repair muscles. It can also increase mental focus.

two individuals exercising outdoors

Are you considering amino acid supplements? These are the building blocks of protein so they have a key role in helping the body and brain to function properly. Today 22 amino acids have been discovered in the human body. However, since two of them are rare the figure is usually reported to be 20. That includes essential and non-essential amino acids. You might wonder what amino acid used for. Protein is best known for building lean muscle mass. However, that’s not the only function of aminos. They’re also used for muscle soreness and many other functions that include the body and brain.   

Fun Fact: The first amino acid discovered was asparagine in 1806.

The two main types of amino acids are “essential” and “non-essential.” These are related to the aminos’ sources. For example, NEAAs are produced by the body so you won’t have to consume foods to get them. Meanwhile, EAAs must be derived from food/supplements. In some cases, you’ll need to boost NEAAs through food/supplements. This is based on factors like old age, bad diet, and health conditions. The bottom line is that both types of amino acids are important for a person’s physical and mental health to function properly.

What Exactly Are Amino Acids?

Proteins are one of the three macronutrients that humans get from food. The other ones are carbohydrates and fat. Each of these “macros” provides energy. However, they each have different functions.

Amino acids have a chain structure. They are strung together to make peptides. Then those peptides are grouped together to make proteins. The human body contains 20 amino acids. That includes 11 non-essential and 9 essential aminos.

There are actually 300+ amino acids in the world. This is 15x more than the ones found in the human body. The world’s aminos are found in various living organisms like microbes. Scientists continue to study aminos to better understand their form and function in the natural world.

The main difference is the aminos’ source. Non-essential aminos are produced by the body. However, essential aminos must be consumed through food/supplements. This is a key difference.

Leucine is the most common EAA. The human body needs about 40mg of this EAA. However, it also needs enough of the other EAAs. This helps to make sure you’re getting all the protein/nutrients you need.

Aminos aren’t just important but also makeup three-quarters of human bodies. They’re critical for every key body function. All chemical reactions also require protein in order to help the body function properly.

It’s also critical to consume EAAs daily. That’s because the body uses them on a daily basis. So you have to replenish the aminos. One key difference with other nutrients is it doesn’t store protein to use later.

There are different sources of amino acids. The best source is always real food. In fact, “complete proteins” contain all 9 EAAs and enough for the whole day.

Meanwhile, you can also get aminos from supplements. There are various options like amino powders, tablets, and liquids. This makes it easier to boost your EAAs/NEAAs.

What Is Amino Acid Used for?

There are various uses of amino acids. That includes both essential and non-essential aminos. Here are some of the main uses:

1. Protein

This is the main function of amino acids. They’re the “building blocks” of protein. The aminos form peptides, then those peptides form proteins. It’s a very complex process that starts with amino acids.

This makes it important to make sure you’re getting enough of all the EAAs. In recent years branched-chain aminos have been trending. However, they only make up one-third of BCAA so it’s critical to make sure you’re getting enough of the others as well.

2. Muscle-building

If you want to build lean muscle mass then it’s important to have enough of all 20 amino acids. This is critical. It’s not enough to take BCAAs, for example. You’ll need to have the right amount of all the EAAs. If your body isn’t making enough NEAAs you should also get more of them from food/supplements.

3. Muscle-repairing

This is another important function of aminos. They can help with workout recovery. After you have a tough workout this causes your body’s muscles to be sore. That’s due to small tears in the muscle tissues. As they repair this helps to build lean muscle mass.

4. Appetite Control

If you want to lose weight then it’s one of the most important functions of aminos. If you feel full after eating a meal, then there’s a lower chance you’ll snack between meals. However, if that’s not the case then you might binge on comfort foods during the day, which can lead to weight/fat gain.

5. Brain Function

This might be a surprising one. Aminos can help with the brain/body link. That’s through chemical signals in the brain known as “neurotransmitters.” They’re related to different functions like focus. So if you’re getting enough aminos this can benefit neurotransmitters.

What Are the Best Sources of Amino Acids?

1. Tablets

This is another way you can boost your amino intake. There’s less flexibility versus consuming protein powders. However, it’s still very easy to take tablets/capsules. All you need is a glass of water in order to boost your amino acid intake.

One factor to consider is the number of aminos found in a tablet. This can help to make sure you’re getting enough of the 9 EAAs during the day. The best source of nutrients is always food. So if you’re taking amino supplements it should only add to real food you consume instead of replacing it.

2. Liquids

Here’s another way you can add more aminos to your diet. Liquid aminos have been trending in recent years. It’s an easy way you can season your food while adding aminos/protein. It’s just a matter of sprinkling some liquid aminos on your food.

These products can be made from different sources. Some are soy-based while others are coconut-based. Liquid aminos have a similar flavor as soy sauce but are known to be milder.

3. Powders

Protein powders are one of the most popular dietary supplements on the market. They’re made from different sources like beef, egg, soybeans, and dairy. You can also find these powders in different flavors like Chocolate Vanilla, Berry, and others.

One of the benefits of protein powders is convenience. For example, you can add a scoop to water, or add some to shakes/smoothies. You can also add them to soft foods like oatmeal, soups/stews, and others.

4. Food

This is always the best source for different nutrients like aminos. You can get different aminos through high-protein foods including:

  • Meat/Fish
  • Eggs
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Beans/Peas
  • Dairy

It’s important to eat a wide range of food to get enough of the 9 EAAs you need daily. You can also boost your NEAAs, which is another benefit after learning what is an amino acid used for.

What is Amino Acid Used For

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