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WHAT IS AMINO ACID

AMINO ACID | WHAT IS IT? WHEN TO TAKE? BENEFITS?

WHAT IS AMINO ACID

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.

HOW IT WORKS

Amino acids play important roles in all of the body’s organs and tissues. Connected in peptide chains, they are the basic units that comprise peptides and proteins, essential for tissue growth, repair and maintenance. In order for the cells to be able to produce the proteins they need for their respective activities, a constant supply of amino acids is needed, whether these are ingested with food or synthesized by the body itself.

Beside their essential function as constituents of proteins, amino acids also fulfill other biologically important roles. They are involved in the synthesis of enzymes and hormones, the transport of substances, the production of antibodies and immunoglobulins – important components in the immune system – the regulation of the body’s acidity levels, and can also be used as an energy source when the glycogen reserves in the body are depleted.

Certain amino acids are commonly used in the form of dietary supplements, depending on their specific actions, uses and/or benefits.

NEED TO KNOW

There is insufficient evidence to guarantee that use of this supplement is safe while pregnant or breastfeeding. As a precaution measure, its use is not recommended.