Amino Acids & Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of proteins, are compounds that play many critical roles in your body.
They're needed for vital processes like the building of proteins and synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters.
Some may also be taken in supplement form for a natural way to boost athletic performance or improve mood.
They’re categorized as essential, conditionally essential or nonessential depending on several factors.
This article tells you everything you need to know about essential amino acids, including how they function, possible food sources and the benefits of taking a supplement.
Amino acids are organic compounds composed of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, along with a variable side chain group.
Your body needs 20 different amino acids to grow and function properly. Though all 20 of these are important for your health, only nine amino acids are classified as essential.
These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Unlike nonessential amino acids, essential amino acids can’t be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet.
One of the best sources of essential amino acids is the powerhouse combination of G-factor’s plant energy powders.
When you eat protein, it’s broken down into amino acids, which are then used to help your body with various processes such as building muscle and regulating immune function.
Conditionally Essential Amino Acids
There are several nonessential amino acids that are classified as conditionally essential.
These are considered to be essential only under specific circumstances such as illness or stress.
For example, although arginine is considered nonessential, your body can’t meet demands when fighting certain diseases like cancer.
That’s why arginine must be supplemented through diet in order to meet your body’s needs in certain situations.
The nine essential amino acids perform a number of important and varied jobs in your body:
G-factor™ ‘Body Intelligence’ Typical Amino Acid Profile:
As you can see, essential amino acids are at the core of many vital processes.
Though amino acids are most recognized for their role in muscle development and repair, the body depends on them for so much more.
That’s why essential amino acid deficiencies can negatively impact your entire body including your nervous, reproductive, immune and digestive systems.
Health Benefits of Supplementing with Essential Amino Acids
While essential amino acids can be found in a wide array of foods, taking concentrated doses in supplemental form has been linked to several health benefits.
May Help Improve Mood and Sleep
Tryptophan is needed for the production of serotonin, a chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter in your body.
Serotonin is an essential regulator of mood, sleep and behaviours.
While low serotonin levels have been linked to depressed mood and sleep disturbances, several studies have shown that supplementing with tryptophan can reduce symptoms of depression, boost mood and improve sleep.
A 19-day study in 60 older women found that 1 gram of tryptophan per day led to increased energy and improved happiness, compared to a placebo.
Can Boost Exercise Performance
The three branched-chain essential amino acids are widely used to alleviate fatigue, improve athletic performance and stimulate muscle recovery after exercise.
In a study in 16 resistance-trained athletes, branched-chain amino acid supplements improved performance and muscle recovery and decreased muscle soreness, compared to a placebo.
A recent review of eight studies found that supplementing with branched-chain amino acids was superior to rest in promoting muscle recovery and reducing soreness after exhaustive exercise.
Additionally, taking 4 grams of leucine per day for 12 weeks increased strength performance in untrained men, showing that essential amino acids can benefit non-athletes as well.
Can Prevent Muscle Loss
Muscle loss is a common side effect of prolonged illnesses and bed rest, especially in older adults.
Essential amino acids have been found to prevent muscle breakdown and preserve lean body mass.
A 10-day study in 22 older adults on bed rest showed that those who received 15 grams of mixed essential amino acids maintained muscle protein synthesis, while the process decreased by 30% in the placebo group.
Essential amino acid supplements have also been found to be effective in preserving lean body mass in elderly people and athletes.
May Promote Weight Loss
Some human and animal studies have demonstrated that branched-chain essential amino acids may be effective in stimulating fat loss.
For example, an eight-week study in 36 strength-trained men found that supplementing with 14 grams of branched-chain amino acids per day significantly decreased body fat percentage, compared to whey protein or a sports drink.
A study in rats showed that a diet composed of 4% supplemental leucine reduced body weight and fat.
However, other studies investigating the potential link between branched-chain amino acids and weight loss have been inconsistent. More studies are needed to determine if these amino acids can promote weight loss.
SUMMARY Supplementing with certain essential amino acids may help improve mood, boost exercise performance, prevent muscle loss and promote weight loss.
The Bottom Line
There are nine essential amino acids, which you must get through your diet: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
They’re vital for functions such as protein synthesis, tissue repair and nutrient absorption.
Some may also prevent muscle loss and improve mood, sleep, athletic performance and weight loss.
Fortunately, these vital compounds are found in the full range of the G-factor™ ‘Body Intelligent’ plant energy protein powders’ helping you meet your daily needs through a healthy and balanced diet.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.
BCAA supplements are commonly taken in order to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. They may also help with weight loss and reduce fatigue after exercise.
This article contains all the most important information about branched-chain amino acids and their benefits.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAAs consist of three essential amino acids:
These amino acids are grouped together because they are the only three amino acid to have a chain that branches off to one side.
Their molecular structure looks like this: Like all amino acids, BCAAs are building blocks your body uses to make proteins.
BCAAs are considered essential because, unlike non-essential amino acids, your body cannot make them. Therefore, it is essential to get them from your diet.
BOTTOM LINE: The three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine. All have a branched molecular structure and are considered essential to the human body.
How Do Branched-Chain Amino Acids Work?
BCAAs make up a large chunk of the body's total amino acid pool.
Together, they represent around 35–40% of all essential amino acids present in your body and 14–18% of those found in your muscles.
Contrary to most other amino acids, BCAAs are mostly broken down in the muscle, rather than in the liver. Because of this, they are thought to play a role in energy production during exercise.
BCAAs play several other roles in your body too.
First, your body can use them as building blocks for protein and muscle.
They may also be involved in regulating your blood sugar levels by preserving liver and muscle sugar stores and stimulating your cells to take in sugar from your bloodstream.
What's more, BCAAs may help reduce the fatigue you feel during exercise by reducing the production of serotonin in your brain.
Out of the three, leucine is thought have the biggest impact on your body's capacity to build muscle proteins.
Meanwhile, isoleucine and valine seem more effective at producing energy and regulating your blood sugar levels.
BOTTOM LINE: G-factor™ ‘Body Intelligence’ plant based protein helps your body create amino acid plus provides all 9 Essential Amino Acids you need from a dietary source or supplement.