Essential Amino Acids and Their Functions

There are eight essential amino acids that are considered necessary for your body: leucine, lysine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, and valine. Furthermore, a essential amino acid is defined as an amino acid that cannot be made within your body, so it must be obtained from foods that contain these substances.

As for their functions, the following is a summary of some their important benefits.

Leucine Leucine helps to slow the the deterioration of muscle tissue by increasing the combining of muscle proteins. Leucine is also important in helping to lower blood sugar.

Lysine Lysine plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. It also helps the body absorb and conserve calcium, and plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage.

Isoleucine Isoleucine helps to stabilize and regulate blood sugar and energy levels. For athletes, it plays an additional important role by aiding in the healing and repair of muscle tissue, skin cells and bones.

Phenylalanine Phenylalanine is helpful in the production of chemicals used by the brain to transmits signals between nerve cells. The amino acid also elevates mood and alertness, decreases pain, and aids in memory and learning.

Threonine Threonine helps to maintain the proper protein balance in the body. It is also important in helping in the formation of collagen and elastin in the skin, and in the formation of tooth enamel.

Tryptophan Tryptophan helps relieve insomnia by bringing about normal sleep by the production of serotonin. It is also beneficial in reducing anxiety, depression, and helps to stabilize moods. In addition, it helps in the treatment of migraine headaches and in the proper functioning of the immune system. For dieters, it aids in weight control by reducing appetite.

Methionine Methionine is the body’s primary source of sulfur, which is used to promote healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. The sulfur it supplies also acts as an antioxidant. Methionine also assists the breakdown of fats.

Valine Valine is needed for muscle metabolism and coordination, and used as an energy source by muscle tissue to promote muscle growth, and tissue repair. It also assists in the prevention of the breakdown of muscle fibers by supplying the muscles with extra glucose for energy production during intense physical activity.