ℹ Amino acids are organic molecules that consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, and in specific cases also sulfur atoms. All amino acids are formed by one carboxylic group (COOH), one amine group (NH2), one hydrogen molecule (H) and one side-chain, connected via a central carbon atom. The side-chain varies according to the amino acid, therefore each of the 20 existing amino acids has its own unique side-chain.
Amino acids are categorized as follows:
• Essential amino acids – These cannot be synthesized by the human body and can therefore only be obtained from the diet. There are nine in total: Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Valine, Threonine, Lysine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Methionine and Histidine.
• Semi-essential amino acids – These are produced in the human body from essential amino acids. Glutamine, Proline, Arginine, Glycine, Tyrosine and Cysteine are considered semi-essential.
• Non-essential amino acids – This category entails the amino acids that are synthesized by the human body, such as Alanine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid or Aspartate, Glutamic Acid or Glutamate and Serine. LEARN MORE