Know your Amino's

Amino acids are the building blocks of the body. You need them for just about any function you perform. Here's your ultimate guide to all essential and non-essential amino acids, their functions and how to get them into your body.
BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE BODY Amino acids are the building blocks of protein; a substance that plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes. Next to water, amino acids in the form of proteins make up the greatest portion of our body weight, comprising muscles and ligaments; tendons and arteries; important bodily fluids; organs and glands; hair and nails, and are a necessary part of every cell in your body. When protein is broken down by digestion, the result is over 20 known amino acids. These are separated into two categories - essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured by your body, so the only way to intake these amino acids is through a healthy, well-balanced diet. Non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by your body; but the catch is your body must already have the right combination of essential amino acids and supporting nutrients to optimise healthy protein maintenance and the use of these amino acids. ALANINE TO VALINE; AMINO ACID GUIDE 1. Alanine: a non-essential amino acid especially known for increasing immunity and providing energy for brain and central nervous system. Alanine helps your body convert glucose into the energy you need, while eliminating excess toxins from your liver. To be healthy, the human body requires Alanine to process vitamin B. 2. Arginine: classified as a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid because it's typically needed for children's growth, but it is non-essential for healthy adults. Arginine helps to heal wounds, release hormones, and remove ammonia from your body. Foods high in arginine are turkey, chicken, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, peanuts, dairy products, spirulina, chickpeas and lentils. 3. Asparagine: a non-essential amino acid known to increase resistance to fatigue and improve smooth functioning of the liver. The human nervous system needs this amino acid to maintain equilibrium. It's also necessary for transformation of amino acids from one form to another. Foods high in asparagine include beef, chicken, dairy products, seafood, eggs, asparagus, soy, and whole grains. 4. Aspartic Acid: a non-essential amino acid proven to play a major role in the energy cycle of your body. It's believed to boost production of chemicals necessary for proper mental functioning and important for removing excess toxins from cells. You can find this amino acid in dairy, beef, poultry, sugar cane and molasses. 5. Cysteine: classified as a non-essential amino acid, it's responsible for building up white blood-cell activity and provides resistance against harmful effects to the body. You can find this amino acid in a lot of high-protein foods like pork, chicken, eggs, milk, and cottage cheese; as well as in garlic, granola and onions. 6. Glutamic Acid: a non-essential amino acid, glutamic acid is responsible for increasing the firing of neurons in the human central nervous system. In other words, it's the brain's primary 'food'. Also called a 'chemical messenger', glutamic acid has been shown to help improve intelligence; an ability to enhance clear thinking, mental alertness, and mood. Foods high in this amino acid include fish, chicken, eggs and cheese, particularly parmesan. 7. Glutamine: classified as non-essential, glutamine participates in maintaining normal blood glucose level and the proper pH range. To get this amino acid into your body, you can eat fish, beef, chicken, pork, turkey, beans, milk, yogurt, ricotta and cottage cheese, raw spinach, cabbage and parsley. 8. Glycine: considered a non-essential amino acid, glycine is essential for the development and quality of human skeletal muscles, tissues, and structural integrity. It's used by your body to help create muscle tissues and convert glucose into energy. You can find glycine in various high-protein foods like beans, fish, meat, milk, and cheese. 9. Histidine: referred to as a semi-essential amino acid, your body chiefly needs histidine to utilise and regulate essential trace elements like iron, copper, molybdenum, zinc, and manganese. Some common sources of this amino acid are apple, pomegranate, alfalfa, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dandelion, endive, garlic, radish, spinach and turnip greens. 10. Isoleucine: considered an essential amino acid, isoleucine must be obtained through your diet in adequate quantities to meet the body's needs. Isoleucine participates in the regulation of blood sugar and energy levels. The foods highest in isoleucine include soy products, meats and fish, dairy products and eggs, and legumes. 11. Leucine: an essential amino acid, leucine helps to regulate blood-sugar levels, promote growth and recovery of muscle and bone tissues, as well as the production of the growth hormone. This amino acid is not only a great muscle building tool, but is good for weight loss too. You can only obtain leucine from protein-rich animal food like fish, chicken, beef, also dairy and eggs. 12. Lysine: this essential amino acid plays a major role in calcium absorption, as well as helping to build muscle protein. As it's an essential amino acid, you can only get lysine through food such as lean beef or lamb, parmesan cheese, turkey and chicken, lean pork chops, soy products, fish, eggs, pumpkin seeds and pulses like lentils or split peas. 13. Methionine: one of the essential amino acids necessary for your health that helps to detox your liver. It's been used to treat conditions such as depression, inflammation, liver diseases, and some muscle pains. It's also particularly beneficial for people suffering from oestrogen dominance. You can get some of this amino acid from food like meat, fish, dairy products and whole grains. 14. Phenylalanine: An essential amino acid, phenylalanine can help treat chronic pain, strengthen the effect of UVA radiation for people with vitiligo, and even Parkinson's disease. It's also considered to be helpful in treating depression, because this amino acid stimulates the production of brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine. You can find phenylalanine in foods like milk, dairy products, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, and nuts. 15. Proline: a non-essential amino acid vital for proper functioning of joints and tendons. It's essential for maintaining the appropriate pressure levels throughout the body, as well as for the long-distance transportation of blood around the circulatory system. Proline can be found in foods like egg whites and wheat germ. 16. Serine: recognised as a non-essential amino acid, serine is essential for proper functioning of your brain and of your central nervous system. To create ideal conditions for serine to be produced in your body, you may need a sufficient amount of vitamin B and folic acid. Serine can be found in foods such as meat and soy foods, dairy products, wheat gluten, and peanuts. 17. Threonine: this essential amino acid makes up elastin, collagen, enamel protein, and even promotes the proper fat metabolism in the liver. Threonine can be found in most meats, liver, dairy, eggs, wheat germ, nuts, beans and lentils. 18. Tryptophan: an essential amino acid that can be obtained from plant or animal sources and is widely used in alternative medicine to help treat insomnia, anxiety, depression, and even PMS. It's also vital for the production process of serotonin. High tryptophan foods include nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs. 19. Tyrosine: considered a conditionally essential amino acid, tyrosine is known for supporting and assisting neurotransmitters in the brain. Tyrosine, if obtained in full, helps reduce stress, improves mental alertness and mood, and even acts as an appetite suppressant. You can find it in foods like cheese, soybeans, beef, lamb, pork, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, beans, and whole grains. 20. Valine: an essential amino acid, valine is important for everyday body functions, maintaining muscles, and for the regulation of your immune system. Get valine through kidney beans, leafy vegetables, poultry and milk. DID YOU KNOW? Apart from building cells and repairing tissue, amino acids form antibodies that combat invading bacteria and viruses; carry oxygen throughout the body and participate in muscle activity.

“Wellness Warehouse strives to help you live life well but because we are retailers and not medical practitioners we cannot offer medical advice. Please always consult your medical practitioner before taking any supplements, complementary medicines or have any health concerns and ensure that you always read labels, warnings and directions carefully, prior to consumption.”