Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Biological Functions of Amino Acids

General Overview of Amino Acids

The most common purpose of protein we know of is for its purpose to help repair damaged muscle tissue after a workout. Protein has other functions, such as: aid in the transport of oxygen to tissues; play a role in immune function, so we don’t get sick; help control our mood. All of these doings are possible by the basic building blocks of protein, amino acids.

There are over twenty different amino acids, each one with a specific function in a physiological system. There are many ways of categorizing them. The most common way of sorting them is into categories: essential, conditionally essential and non-essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot synthesize, or it cannot create enough of. So it must be consumed via diet.

Conditionally essential amino acids are amino acids that are not always needed, but in certain individuals they are. Such as: a young and growing individual, or during illness.

Non-essential amino acids are just that. The body can synthesize enough of it to maintain normal function, so it does not need to be consumed through diet.

Essential Amino Acids Functions

  • A precursor of histamine, a compound released by the immune system when an allergic reaction occurs.
  • Needed for the repair and growth of tissues. As well as the maintenance of the myelin sheath that is found in the neuronal cells.
  • Needed for the creation of red and white blood cells. Helps produce gastric juice in the stomach, aiding in digestion.

  • Helps aid in the recovery of muscle tissue after physical stress (i.e. working out).
  • Used in for formation of blood clots.
  • Synthesis of hemoglobin.
  • Has a stimulating effect for muscle metabolism, repair and growth of tissue.
  • It is a BCAA, can be used as energy source in muscle tissue, and doing so prevents the use of muscle glucose.

  • A BCAA that prevents the breakdown of muscle tissue.
  • Maintains and regulates the blood-sugar tissues.
  • Aids in the growth and repair of muscle tissue and bones.

  • Required for the bone development in children.
  • Needed to produce antibodies, hormones, enzymes, and the repair of tissues.
  • Assists in calcium absorption.
  • Maintains a correct nitrogen balance, and maintains a lean body mass.

  • Aids in the breakdown of fats.
  • Acts as an antioxidant.
  • Used in the formation of creatine in the body.

  • Helps elevating mood.
  • Aids in memory and learning.
  • Has been used as an appetite suppressant.

  • Required to maintain a proper balance of protein in the body.
  • Assists in the formation of collagen and elastin in the skin.
  • When combined with aspartic acid it has lipotropic functions.
  • With the aid of methionine assists in immune function by producing antibodies.

  • Required for the biosynthesis of niacin (vitamin B3).
  • Used to produce serotonin, an important neurotransmitter, which is important in sleep.

Kurt Kuhn -


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