Amino acids - building blocks for life

Without amino acids no life. However, what sounds banal is profound. Because amino acids are the smallest basis of proteins and responsible for many processes in the body. Stress, nutritional imbalance and chronic illness can lead to a lack of amino acids in the body, causing a weak immune system and fatigue. Certain amino acids may also aid muscle growth, weight loss, and the structure of the skin and hair. What exactly are amino acids and what are their properties?

Amino acids and proteins

Proteins, also known as proteins, perform important functions for the human body. They are components of almost all organs and regulate the metabolism as enzymes. All proteins are in turn made up of vital amino acids. Each individual amino acid combines with other amino acids to form chains.

Depending on how each individual amino acid arranges, this results in different proteins with specific functions and properties. However, individual amino acids do not arrange themselves randomly, but are ordered by the appropriate gene in the series. Each three arranged amino acid pairs correspond to a specified code. This code specifies the construction of the individual amino acid structure in different sizes.

20 proteinogenic amino acids

There are more than 20 canonical (proteinogenic) amino acids known, as well as more than 250, which are called non-proteinogenic. These are not detectable in proteins, but in the organism. Most of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids can be produced by the body itself. Eight but not, these are called essential amino acids. They must be supplied to the body through nutrition in the form of food.

Essential amino acids include:

  • isoleucine
  • valine
  • methionine
  • leucine
  • tryptophan
  • lysine
  • Phenylalin
  • threonine

The body of infants can not initially produce two more amino acids: arginine and histidine. Although amino acids are the smallest building blocks of proteins, they are essential for the proper functioning of the body.

Small amino acids with great effects

Once an amino acid is missing in the body, the function of all proteins is impaired. A lack of amino acids can permanently bring negative consequences for the body and health. The most common consequences may be an increased susceptibility to infections, loss of performance, joint problems or deficits in muscle building.

Many of the health conditions that are considered diseases of civilization, such as obesity or diabetes, can also be attributed to a metabolic disorder and thus to a possible deficiency in amino acids. To test whether a deficiency is present, a physician can perform an amino acid analysis, which indicates the existing concentration in the body.

Incidentally, not only a deficiency of amino acids may be harmful to health, but also an overdose. Insofar as amino acids are supplied to the body in an excessively high concentration for a prolonged period of time, the liver or kidney, for example, may suffer as a result.

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