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What are Amino Acids?

Amino Acids are the building blocks of life

Proteins control almost every biochemical reaction in the body.  Protein is broken down to amino acids which are basically ‘the building blocks of life’.1200px-AminoAcidball_svg

There are over 20 amino acids, essential and non-essential.  Essential amino acids cannot be synthesised in the body, therefore, must be obtained from the diet.  Non-essential amino acids can be synthesised in the body.  A problem with the production of these non-essential amino acids can have detrimental metabolic effects.

Nutritionally essential amino acids

Isoleucine Phenylalanine
Leucine Threonine
Lysine Tryptophan
Methionine Valine


Arginine – is in short supply in children so may be considered essential

Histidine – is an essential amino acid for infants and also needed by adults


Non-essential amino acids

Proline Taurine
Carnitine Tyrosine
Glutamine & Glutamic acid Cysteine & cystine
Glycine Alanine
b-Alanine Gamma Aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Asparagine and Aspartic acid Citrulline
Ornithine Serine
Glutathione (Cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine)


Most diets are abundant in protein, therefore we should be getting all the amino acids we need.  Unfortunately, we are not living in a perfect world.  Many factors prevent our bodies from using what we eat, i.e. pollution, hormones in the food chain, fertilisers, smoking, alcohol, food processing etc.

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