What are Amino Acids and What Do They Do?

What are Amino Acids and What Do They Do?

Twenty different kinds of amino acids make up your body. They are the key to living a healthy and active lifestyle and play an important role in your overall health and wellness. From workout recovery to building muscle, improving collagen production, and more, amino acids are necessary.  

So let’s deep dive more into what are amino acids, and what do they do? Keep reading to find out. 

What Are Amino Acids?

Experts refer to amino acids as the building blocks of life. More accurately, they're the monomers (compounds) that make up proteins. This means that they're essential to our overall health and our lives.

Amino acids occur naturally in the body. However, you can also take in more amino acids by ingesting them through nutritious foods and/or supplements.

Once our body breaks down proteins in our foods, the amino acids are left. Remember, they make up proteins. So, when a protein is broken down, it splits into a bunch of smaller amino acids.

What Amino Acids Do

Amino acids do a lot in our bodies. They construct enzymes that help chemical reactions in the body occur faster. They compose hormones throughout the body. They even build neurotransmitters in our brains.

The most demanding job that an amino acid has is related to your metabolism. Amino acids progress and run the metabolic pathways that take place all over your body.

And, after your body has taken in amino acids from breaking down proteins, they carry out other jobs such as: 

  • Break down food in the body
  • Grow and repair different kinds of tissue throughout the body
  • Give the body an extra source of energy

They're working inside of your body right now. In fact, you may be using them to break down the meal you just had.

What Are Essential Amino Acids?

There are three kinds of amino acids which are: 

Nonessential Amino Acids

The most important group to think about is the nonessential amino acids group. These are the amino acids that your body cannot produce by itself. In other words, you have to ingest these amino acids if you want your body to work to its fullest potential.

Conditional Amino Acids

Conditional amino acids are those that your body doesn't require for everyday functioning. However, these amino acids are helpful during stressful times. If you're sick, tired, injured, you should consider taking in some extra amino acids. 

Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids are those that your body can produce.

Here is a list of these kinds of amino acids:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

If you're eating a well-balanced diet, it's likely that you're getting enough of all of these amino acids. However, if you're not doing so, you may want to think about changing your diet and/or investing in supplements.

Amino Acids in Food

Amino acids don't have to be packed into every meal that you eat. However, it is important to get healthy amounts of amino acids throughout the day to make sure that your body is getting what it needs.

Both animal-based and plant-based foods have amino acids in them. Here are some popular examples of amino acid sources:

  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Grains

Amino Acids and Immune Function

The immune system uses amino acids to make "antibodies" to help your body fight off viruses and infections. The antibody molecule is made up of different lengths of amino acid chains that fold into three-dimensional structures that give them their unique properties. 

To make specific antibodies to attack infectious agents, your immune system needs to have a 'library' of different antibodies in its memory. The reason they are called memory cells is that when they come into contact with the same invading organism, later on, they immediately recognize the invader and mobilize to attack it. 

Is It Good to Take Amino Acids? 

Good Idea drinks contain five essential amino acids including the 3 BCAA's and chromium. This blend is highly specific to improve blood sugar balance after a meal and has been tested in 9 clinical trials. The trials not only proved effective but also perfected the blend for the most optimal results.

The results of drinking a can of Good Idea are a more rapidly mobilized metabolism, quicker uptake of energy from food to the cells, and a more stable blood sugar value, and as we know when blood sugar is stable, our energy is better conserved.

Some additional benefits of the amino acids included in Good Idea are:

L-Leucine is an essential amino acid for protein synthesis. Leucine can also regulate several cellular processes such as protein synthesis, tissue regeneration, and metabolism.

L-Threonine is an amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Our bodies cannot create Threonine itself, it must be obtained from the diet.

L-Lysine is an amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Lysine may help slow or stop the growth of viruses. Dietary supplementation with an essential amino acid L-lysine has been shown to reduce chronic anxiety in humans with low dietary intake of L-lysine. 

L-isoleucine: is an amino acid that has a role in the detoxification of nitrogenous waste like ammonia, which is then excreted from the body by the kidneys. Isoleucine is also essential for the production and formation of hemoglobin and the production of red blood cells. It can increase glucose uptake into a muscle cell and is seen as a glucose uptake mediator (into a cell) and breakdown (into energy) and may serve a role as a hypoglycemic.

L-valine: is an amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Our bodies cannot create Valine itself, it must be obtained from the diet.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter if you are a workout enthusiast or just getting started on your fitness journey, amino acids support your body’s ability to recover faster, break down food more efficiently, and help your body carry out daily activities. 

As always, if you are considering amino acid supplementation, consult your doctor to ensure there are no potential interactions, especially if you take other medications. Read more about the science of Good Idea and how you can harness your natural energy.