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What are the 9 essential amino acids and what are they for?

9 essential amino acids and what they are for. Image by serhii_bobyk on Freepik » ProSalud

The question often arises as to what the essential amino acids are and what they are for. Here we bring you the answer! Amino acids are often called the protein building blocks of the body since amino acids are compounds formed naturally of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. 

The human body uses amino acids to make proteins that help break down food, grow, repair body tissues, build muscle, and facilitate many other important bodily functions. The body needs about 20 different amino acids to function properly. Of the 20 amino acids important to your health, only nine are considered “essential.”

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Surely you have consumed them for years, however, most people only focus on or know 3 of these, which are the BCAA (branched chain amino acids). The BCAAs are made up of leucine, isoleucine and valine, however, if you want to have a better idea about the essential amino acids you have to focus on the 9 EAAs (essential amino acids) which are composed in addition to the BCAAs with histidine, lysine, methionine , phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophan.

Amino acids are the basis of muscle tissue as well as other tissues and organs.

Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot manufacture from other organic compounds (carbohydrates), but must be introduced through the diet. Man produces a certain amount of proteins inside himself but he cannot produce them if some additional amount does not enter his body through daily food consumption, therefore it is concluded that these substances must be included in the human diet to guarantee their correct global biological function.

Why are EAA amino acids considered essential?

EAAs are considered “essential” because our body is not capable of producing them on its own. Therefore, we must obtain them through our daily nutrition or quality supplements.

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If you want to add some additional EAAs through a nutritional plan you should focus on complete protein sources such as meat, eggs, seafood, poultry and dairy products. If you are vegan or vegetarian and choose not to consume those particular foods, you can find complete plant-based proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids by consuming things like chia seeds, soybeans, and quinoa.

On the other hand, if you want to add these essential amino acids through supplementation you should focus on products rich in BCAA or EAA, as the main component.

Amino acids serve to combat stress, increase muscle mass and help us lose weight.

List of the 9 essential amino acids.

Each essential amino acid helps the body in a specific way. Here is a list of the 9 essential amino acids and what they are for:

  1. Phenylalanine

    It is a precursor to tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters. Helps proteins, enzymes and the production of other amino acids.
  2. Valine

    One of the three branched chain amino acids. Helps stimulate muscle growth, regeneration and energy production.
  3. Threonine

    It is part of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, which are important components of skin and connective tissue. Contributes to fat metabolism and immune function.
  4. Tryptophan

    It is often associated with drowsiness, but is necessary to maintain proper nitrogen balance and to help regulate appetite, sleep, and mood.
  5. Methionine

    It plays a vital role in maintaining health. It helps your metabolism, detoxification, tissue growth and helps absorb selenium.
  6. Leucine

    Branched chain amino acid vital for protein synthesis and muscle repair. It helps regulate blood sugar levels, promote wound healing, and produces growth hormones.
  7. Isoleucina

    This branched-chain amino acid is important for metabolism and muscle tissue, proper immune function, hemoglobin production, and energy regulation.
  8. Lysine

    It plays an important role in protein synthesis, hormone, enzyme and energy production, immune function, and collagen and elastin production.
  9. Histidine

    It produces histamine, which is vital for immune response, digestion, sexual function, and sleep-wake cycles. Maintains a protective barrier that surrounds nerve cells.
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In general, EAAs help increase lean muscle mass, burn fat, prevent muscle breakdown, increase endurance, improve the quality of recovery, and have less muscle soreness. EAAs also improve the functionality of hormones and neurotransmitters. They build vital body proteins used to create tissues, organs and muscles. They also play a vital role in optimizing liver function and neurotransmitters in the brain.

In addition, essential amino acids are necessary to combat stress and free radicals that cause many degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

It is important to clarify that not any supplement available on the market is the right one for us.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that not all supplements you can get on the market are right for you.

It is important to consult a professional before starting any type of treatment, especially when it comes to something as sensitive as your body. A specialist will help you determine if the product is suitable for your needs and the dosage you should take.

It should also be mentioned how crucial the high quality of the ingredients is for them to work properly.

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In conclusion

If you want to keep your body healthy and strong, you must take into account essential amino acids and how to include them in your diet. Remember that not all supplements are good for us, if you want to take them you need to consult with a nutritionist or doctor.

At Prosalud we have a wide catalog of gym supplements that can help you achieve your goals.

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Jorge Camargo
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