You may have heard the term amino acids before, and thought it was just another boring biology term or acid that you can use in chemistry class. In reality, did you know that they’re the actual building blocks of life? Moreover, no, when we say this, we do not mean the building blocks from your old toy box from years past.
These building blocks throughout your body regularly form chains that make up proteins in your body. Protein is crucial to keeping you healthy and energized, so it’s pretty simple to draw the line between the importance of proteins, and the importance of amino acids.
Moreover, while you can clump all of these substances into an ‘amine’ group, there are many variations of these amino acids, that all serve different purposes and functions within the body – a whopping 20 of them for proteins, to be precise.
Even though you may put them all in one group in your mind, there are three groupings of these amino acids; essential , conditional and non-essential.
What Are Amino Acids?
Protein plays a central role in nearly all biological processes, and amino acids are the building blocks of it. About 20% of the human body is made up of protein.
A large proportion of our tissue, muscles, and cells is made up of amino acids, indicating they carry out numerous critical bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure. Amino acids also play a vital role in the transport and the storage of nutrients. They influence the function of organs, tendons, glands, and arteries. They are furthermore essential for repairing tissue and healing wounds, especially in the bones, hair, muscles, and skin, as well as for the elimination of all sorts of waste deposits generated in connection with the metabolism.
According to Meirion Jones, a renowned BBC journalist, antithetical to years ago, many doctors and medical professionals have now reinforced the idea that the proper amount of amino acids (obtained either from foods or supplementation) can have many beneficial effects.
Robert Erdmann and Meirion Jones explain in their book “The Amino Revolution” the changes in medical opinion in the following way: “Unfortunately, in the real world, countless factors are working to prevent our bodies from receiving a full and balanced supply of these all-important substances. Among these factors are the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, the hormones fed to cattle, the intensive use of fertilizers in agriculture, and even habits such as smoking and drinking, all of which can prevent our bodies from fully using what we eat. Worse still is the amount of nutrition that is lost from our food through processing before we get to eat it. By providing the body with optimal nutrition, amino acids help to replace what is lost and, in doing so, promote well-being and vitality.”
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Amino Acids Classification
According to experts, amino acids can be classified based on a variety of characteristics, including whether people can acquire them through diet. Therefore, scientists have identified three amino acid types: