Twenty types of amino acids build the proteins in our bodies. The human body uses amino acids in order to create proteins that would participate in food disintegration, cell growth, recovery of muscle, skin, hair, and bone tissues and many other critical bodily functions.
The body also may use amino acids as a source of energy and for the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. Therefore, you will often find amino acids marketed and tagged as “essential”, “conditionally essential” or “nonessential”.
Amino acids are organic compounds made of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and a variable side chain group.
Human bodies need twenty amino acids for growth and proper functioning. Only nine of these amino acids are classified as essential though all of them are important for our health and proper functioning.
People need to get essential amino acids from food sources, as their bodies can’t produce them naturally. However, in some cases, they opt for supplements concentrated with amino acids in order to naturally boost their physical performance and stamina or to improve mood.
Table of Contents
What Do Amino Acids Do?
The nine essential amino acids that must be obtained through the food in order for the body to function properly are valine, histidine, isoleucine, lysine, leucine, methionine, threonine and phenylalanine.
Essential amino acids are locked in animal proteins such as eggs, meat, and poultry, which are the best sources of protein and amino acids. It is recommended to consume these through your regular diet and be sure that you are getting the necessary amount of these nutrients.
When you eat protein, it slowly breaks down into amino acids that your body takes over and proceeds using them in various processes such as lean muscle growth, increased physical endurance, and reduced mental fatigue.
On the other hand, conditionally essential amino acids are considered as necessary only when you are ill or overly stressed. For example, although glutamine is nonessential, your body would feel the lack of it when fighting certain diseases.
Therefore, some conditionally essential amino acids have to be supplemented in certain life circumstances and situations through diet or dietary supplements.
Top 10 Amino Acids
1. Essential AMINO ENERGY
An easy-to-mix anytime energy powder with amino acids.
Fueled with 160 mg of caffeine per serving, it delivers focus and energy during the day.
Amino Energy is a perfect afternoon pick-me-up or a vigorous wake-up beverage in the morning.
2. KION Aminos
Kion Aminos are essential amino acid tablets and building blocks for muscle recovery, reduced cravings, better cognition and immunity.
They are one of the best amino acids for muscle growth. They also improve resistance to fatigue.
3. AMINOLEAN Vegan
AminoLean was designed to be the most comprehensive amino acid weight management supplement for men and women available.
We combined BCAAs & EAAs (essential amino acids) with a focus & energy blend and natural weight management ingredients to form the perfect amino energy supplement.
4. GEN- TEC Nutrition Essential
A precise blend of essential, branch chain and conditionally essential amino acids.
It increases muscle growth and improves immune function. Ideal for individuals engaging in intensive exercise
5. BSN AMINO X
A tasty refreshment among amino acid supplements.
A dietary supplement full of branched-chain amino acids that promises endurance and recovery.
Zero sugar with watermelon flavour.
6. Essential AMINO ENERGY
Energy powder with amino acids that is easy-to-mix anytime.
1 serving provides 160 mg of caffeine from natural sources.
Helps deliver focus and energy at any time of the day.
7. EVOGEN Amino K.E.M
Delivers more oxygen, more fuel, and other key nutrients.
A low dose blend of seven (7) plant-based ingredients that have been clinically shown to increase nitric oxide (NO) by 230%.
It contains 6 electrolytes, amino acids, and vitamins B6 and B12.
Electrolytes influence multiple aspects of bodily function and support.
Amino acids support cellular hydration by helping regulate fluid balance, glucose production for usable energy, endurance, and recovery.
9. NTel Acid9
ACID9 is the Amino Acid product of the future, it is composed of a unique, clinically-substantiated blend of the nine essential amino acids (Amino9).
This amino acid blend contains what the body needs to optimize muscle protein synthesis (MPS).
10. CUTLER 100% AMINO PUMP
Muscle building amino formula.
Clinically researched ingredients that may promote strength, recovery and athletic performance.
Fruit punch flavour.
Types of Amino Acids
In order to understand the role of the essential amino acids and their significance for building and maintaining healthy bodily functions, you primarily need to go through the functions performed by each of the nine powerful agents.
The threonine conducts the functioning of the immune system in total and the metabolism of fats. It is the basis of protein such as collagen and elastin that nurture the skin and connective tissue.
Next, the methionine is the amino acid responsible for proper metabolism and detox. Moreover, it enhances tissue growth and absorption of minerals such as selenium and zinc.
Each time you feel changes in your appetite, sleep, and mood, you may prescribe that to the level of tryptophan in your body. This amino acid regulates the levels of nitrogen, and it conditions the serotonin in your body.
Leucine is a so-called branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) responsible for the synthesis of protein and the repair of muscles. The leucine regulates blood sugar and stimulates growth hormones and cell repair.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The BCAAs are usually taken as supplements that enhance the growth of muscles and boost the level of exercise performance.
Like leucine, valine and isoleucine are BCAAs related to growth and regeneration of muscles and cells. These BCAAs regulate the metabolism of muscles and muscle tissues. They are responsible for the regulation of hemoglobin production, immunity, and energy.
The phenylalanine regulates the structure and production of other amino acids, proteins, and enzymes while the lysine is involved in the synthesis of proteins and the absorption of calcium.
One of the most important stimulators of our immunity response is the histidine, an amino acid that produces histamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in our sleep cycles, libido, and digestion.
Our daily diet should be our primary provider of essential amino acids. However, if you need additional doses of regular or chain amino acids, you may opt for amino dietary supplements that contain a number of health benefits.
Amino acids will positively affect your sleeping cycle and, therefore, your general psycho-physical mood. The tryptophan regulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in our bodies and the chemical which is responsible for the feelings of happiness, joy, and contentment.
Low levels of serotonin refer to depression and disrupted sleeping-wake cycles. Research has shown that tryptophan supplements may reduce insomnia and depression, increase energy and improve mood .
The BCAA trinity is the leading agent when it comes to physical performance and stamina. The branched-chain essential amino acids boost the athletic performance, reduce fatigue, increase muscle recovery and soothe the sore muscles after hard workouts.
Nevertheless, these are not only supplements for the gym as studies have shown that the daily intake of branched-chain amino acids stimulated the stamina and physical performance in people who didn’t do regular sports training.
Another benefit of the regular consumption of essential and branched-chain amino acids is the prevention of muscle loss. Muscle loss often occurs after a long period of health deterioration, especially in older adults.
The essential amino acids keep our lean body mass and muscles healthy and toned. Studies have shown that patients who have gone through recovery after surgery or long periods of bed rest have shown better results due to regular intake of amino acid supplementation during the process of recovery .
Research has shown that BCAA may also boost and manage fat loss and excess body weight. Reportedly, a BCAA drink may affect body fat more effectively than a protein or sports shake.
Other studies have also shown that supplemental leucine can reduce fat and promote weight loss.
Although amino acids are considered mainly safe, their use is primarily for the improvement of physiological functions. Currently, there are no studies or research that may confirm the nutritional purpose of amino acids.
In addition, excessive intake of amino acids may disrupt your health condition. Some of the side effects that may occur are abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, increased storage of uric acid in the body and consequential joint inflammation .
Other harmful conditions as a result of consuming too much amino acids are changes in eating patterns, a sudden drop in blood pressure and kidney obstructions.
Most diets provide safe amounts of amino acids, however, make sure you consult your physician or health care specialist if you opt for protein, keto or Atkins diet or a diet that includes amino acid supplements or supplements that enhance exhaustive athletic performance.
How to Use Amino Acids
You already learned that your body cannot produce essential amino acids naturally, meaning, you must provide them through your diet or as supplements.
Foods that contain all the essential amino acids is meat, dairy products, eggs, poultry, and seafood. If you follow a vegan or a vegetarian diet, the best choice of plant-based products with a high concentration of amino acids and a source of protein are soy, quinoa, and buckwheat.
If you decide to take dietary supplements with concentrated amino acids, make sure you stick to the recommended daily allowances per 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight: histidine: 14 mg, isoleucine: 19 mg, leucine: 42 mg, lysine: 38 mg, methionine (+ the nonessential amino acid cysteine): 19 mg, phenylalanine (+ the nonessential amino acid tyrosine): 33 mg, threonine: 20 mg, tryptophan: 5 mg, valine: 24 mg
Finally, dietary experts recommend a balanced diet of animal products ( or plant-based substitutes), nuts, seeds, vegetables, and whole grains that may provide you with nutrients that will meet your needs for essential amino acids.
The Bottom Line
Essential amino acids are at the centre of numerous bodily functions. Our bodies depend on amino acids and proteins for maintaining and optimizing the immune, digestive, nervous and reproductive systems.
Although amino acids are best known for active repair and recovery of muscles, they are among the crucial agents when it comes to health and balance.
It is very important to follow a diet rich in amino acids and BCAA or, if needed, to use supplements that will provide the essential amount of BCAA.
Nevertheless, if you decide to begin following a low-carb, high-protein, or keto diet that includes intense consumption of amino acids, make sure you consult your doctor or dietitians and keep track of their recommendations regarding your diet choice.