Amino acids are considered the building blocks that comprise protein. They make up 75% of the human body and are essential to nearly every bodily function. Every chemical reaction that takes place in your body depends on amino acids and the proteins that they build.
In the body, adequate protein intake is vital for virtually everything from healthy muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails, hair, nervous system function and most body fluids. Besides water, protein comprises the largest portion of our body weight, and as such, the body’s requirement for protein is directly related to good health.
Essential and Nonessential Amino Acids
Nonessential amino acids are those that the body can synthesize for itself, provided there is enough nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen available. Essential amino acids are those supplied by the diet, since the human body either cannot make them at all or cannot make them in sufficient quantity to meet its needs. Under normal conditions, eleven of the amino acids are nonessential and nine are essential.
Essential amino acids
Nonessential amino acids
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
Humans can produce 11 of the 20 amino acids. The others must be supplied in the food. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the essential amino acids, those that we cannot make, results in degradation of the body’s proteins—muscle and so forth—to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. Unlike fat and starch, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use—the amino acids must be in the food every day.
Food Sources of Amino Acids
Humans consume many foods that contain proteins or amino acids. Foods from animal sources are typically rich in essential amino acids. These include chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, beef, and pork. With the increasing emphasis on vegetarian diets, plant sources of protein are gaining in popularity. Plant sources include dried beans (black, kidney, northern, red, and white beans), peas, soy, nuts, and seeds. Although plant sources generally lack one or more of the essential amino acids, when combined with whole grains such as rice, or by eating nuts or seeds with legumes, all the amino acids can be obtained.
The Acai Berry is also an excellent source of amino acids. Our Healthy Choice Naturals 1200 mg Pure Acai Extract has one of the most complete array of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids of any single supplement. Acai contains Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin C, Vitamin E (tocopherol), iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. It also contains the essential fatty acids Omega 6 and Omega 9, plus all the essential amino acids your body needs for optimum health.