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Amino Acids: The Primary Constituents of Protein Building Blocks

Amino Acids have dual importance in our regular diets. They form protein building blocks essential for tissue building, replacement, and to act as intermediaries in the metabolic process. Amino acids found in protein content are diverse and determine the exact nature of a protein. Amino acids unlike starch or fat cannot be stored. It needs to be made a part of the daily diet. In absence of dietary sources, nutritional supplements in form of capsules, tablets, or liquids need to be taken regularly for proper intake of amino acids.

Genetic structure of a protein determines the presence of specific amino acid in its molecule. The biological activity of a protein is entirely dependent on the chemical properties of amino acid present in it. Proteins are not only responsible for catalyzing all living cell reactions but also control of all cellular functions. The human body needs twenty amino acids of which ten are produced by the body. The remaining are to be provided in form of food or in the form of dietary supplements. These ten amino acids derived from external sources are so vital that even the absence of one of them could lead to serious bodily damage or physiological disorder


Classification of Amino Acids


Amino acids are compounds of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur in different compositions. Amino acids could be classified into essential, non-essential, and conditional varieties. The essentials are the ones that cannot be produced by the body but are required to be consumed regularly as nutritional supplements for proper bodily functions.


Essential Amino Acids


The ten amino acids produced by our body include alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamatic acid, glycine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, serine, and proline. These belong to non-essential class as they are produced by human bodies themselves.


The other ten amino acids required to be taken from external sources include methionine, tryptophan, lysine, histidine, phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, and arginine. Arginine is not required for adults but only for children. Plants are capable of making their own amino acids, while humans need to have these sourced from outside because of lack of certain enzymes in our body. These ten amino acids fall in the essential list and must be part off your regular diet.


Properties of Amino Acids


Amino acids are crystalline by structure and are water soluble. Their dissolving capacities in organic solvents are sparing and dependent on the nature and size of their side chain. These acids have very high break down points ranging from 392 Fahrenheit to 572 Fahrenheit.


Importance of Amino Acids for Your Body


Amino acids play a vital role in enzyme and protein synthesis. Enzymes for digestion and proteins as building materials are mandatory requirements for normal bodily activities. Amino acids also play a significant part in hormone production, maintaining health of CNS (central nervous system) and body muscles. Proper cellular activity is another crucial function of amino acids. Inadequate intake of amino acids leads to irritation, depression, loss of concentration, and hormonal deficiency. 

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