Essential Amino Acids and Why You Need Them

Essential amino acids are those not produced in the body and must therefore be obtained from the diets we consume. There are basically nine essential amino acids, and each have unique properties and play an important role in the working of the overall body systems. Here is a look at all of them and their respective functions:

  1. Leucine

Leucine is mainly used to stimulate the growth and strength of the muscles. It helps in the retention of lean muscles during a dieting process. It also helps in regulating blood sugar levels through the moderation of the production of insulin during and after exercises.

  1. Isoleucine

This is an isolated form of leucine and its primary function is to produce hemoglobin responsible for carrying iron in the blood, as well as regulating the blood sugar used to provide the energy needed during exercises.

  1. Lysine

Lysine is primarily for muscle growth and repair, and it is also known to boost the immune system. It also plays a crucial role in the absorption of other minerals necessary for the synthesis of collagen into the body.

  1. Methionine

Methionine is the amino acid responsible for the growth of new blood vessels, as well as the growth of new muscles. It contains Sulphur necessary for muscle and tissue health.

  1. Phenylalanine

This is the amino acid that is usually converted into tyrosine, that is used to make brain chemicals such as thyroid hormones, L-dopa, and epinephrine. It is thus directly responsible for mental health and the overall mood.

  1. Threonine

Threonine offers support to the healthy functioning of the heart, liver, immune system and the CNS. It is also a vital component in the creation of serine and glycine needed for the production of collagen, elastin and muscle tissues.

  1. Tryptophan

Tryptophan is converted into serotonin upon absorption into the body, and serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for lowering depression and stress, and making us happy.

  1. Valine

This is necessary for optimal muscle growth and repair. It is mainly used for supplying glucose to the muscles, necessary for energy production during physical activities.

  1. Histidine

Histidine supports neurotransmitters and the brain’s health. It also helps in the detoxification process by producing white and red blood cells needed for overall body health and immunity.

 

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