Your Introduction to Amino Acids

What are amino acids? If you’re a chemistry major you’ll probably begin to discuss their carboxylic acid and amino groups. If you’re a biochemistry major you’ll start to talk about their primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. Today though, we are going to start at the basics. What are amino acids and what do they do in your body?

Amino acids are essential to nearly every single function within your body from DNA replication to muscle growth to neurotransmitter response to metabolism. Amino acids are responsible for them all. There are 20 different amino acids in your body and each one has its own responsibility. Of those 20, 9 are called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids (EAAs) are ones that you must consume because your body cannot make them. These include Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine and Histidine.

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) must also be consumed. BCAAs, specifically, stimulate muscle growth and reduced muscle breakdown. This means that if you want to gain muscle mass you should make sure to get enough BCAAs in your diet. BCAAs are Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine.

Some foods, like our water lentils, contain all of your EAAs and BCAAs and are called a complete protein!

Many alternative protein sources, like brown rice proteins, are incomplete proteins so you must combine multiple protein sources together to make sure that you receive all of these essential amino acids. If you are worried about consuming enough essential amino acids and branched chain amino acids then a supplement like our All-In-One Nutrition can provide you with a complete protein source. All-In-One Nutrition contains protein that consists of 50% EAAs and 20% BCAAs to help repair, rebuild and revitalize your muscles!