In your body, there are as many as 100,000 types of proteins that make up your body. What makes up these proteins are organic compounds known as amino acids and our body needs 20 of them. In this article, we will discuss the importance of each individually, along with more information on why these peptide bonds are so special….but first…
What is an “Amino Acid”?
The definition of an amino acid describes it as an organic compound that contains an amino group, a carboxyl, group, alpha carbon and a side chain known as an R-group. Once a certain amount of amino acid is created in the
ribosome through protein synthesis, the amino acid is linked together through a peptide bond. Through a process of dehydration synthesis, the amino acids lose a water molecule to link together.
(In this case, this is the amino acid Alanine)
There are 2 types of peptide bonds, a dipeptide, and a polypeptide. A dipeptide is a bond with only 2 amino acid monomers, hence the prefix “di-” while a polypeptide has to consist of more than two amino acids. Without going into too much scientific detail concerning potential folding/misfolding structures or possible effects a single missing amino acid in the sequence may have on the protein, we’ll leave you with the basics.
In total, there are 20 amino acids, but the compounds can combine in thousands of ways, making over hundreds of thousands of proteins for your body. Each amino acid has the same components (amino/carboxyl group, alpha carbon) except for its R-group, the decider of which amino acid the compound will turn out to be. Here’s a list of all 20 amino acids…
BCAAs, branch-chain amino acids, are a group of 3 amino acid that is responsible for boosting muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. The 3 essential amino acids, amino acids we need to consume since our bodies cannot produce them, BCAA’s include:
Valine: A hydrophobic, a substance that has no affinity to water, amino acid that contains properties of preserving muscle by reducing muscle breakdown. Along with keeping muscle mass, Valine also helps regulate the immune system.
Leucine: Another essential amino acid that is not only good with helping build muscle, but also a great booster in burning fat. Leuince helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes the growth and recovery of muscle and bone tissue and the production of growth hormones. Taking Leucine is also a great amino acid to consume to prevent stress or even injury.
Isoleucine: The essential amino acid Isoleucine is the most widely recognized organic compound to take when training. Taken by professional athletes and bodybuilders, Isoleucine increases your endurance and helps your muscle tissue heal, it helps your body recover from a strenuous activity like weight training or sports.
Branch-chain amino acids are taken by plenty of athletes that are looking to take their game to the next level, whether it’s with their sport or in the weight room. There is a large assortment of supplements that contain BCAA’s, and amino acids in general, but they could be found in the foods you eat every day…
Essential vs. Non-Essential
When referring to amino acids that are either essential or non-essential, they pretty much have one difference. A non-essential amino acid is an organic compound that is body can produce on its own without the need of consuming anything. An essential amino acid is, as mentioned before, an amino acid that our bodies cannot produce on its own.
Therefore, we must consume foods that contain amino acids to get them into our bodies. The BCAA’s mentioned above are essential, but here’s a list of both essential and non-essential amino acids…
You may be asking…
What foods contain essential amino acids?
Several foods may contain some essential amino acids, but foods that contain all 9 of them are considered complete proteins since proteins are formed from amino acids monomers. Foods like eggs, beef, soy, fish, milk are all great examples of complete proteins. For a quicker an more convenient source of a complete protein, people consume protein powders to save time and avoid cooking.
My website is dedicated to protein powders, helping consumers find the perfect protein supplement for their everyday lifestyle. Solid protein powders will be a complete one, suitable just for you, whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant or allergic to a certain substance.
Why Know About Amino Acids?
To the final and crucial question of this entire article…
Why should I even care about amino acids?
To answer this question, you must see amino acids as what they are the composers of; proteins. A protein has to be created from amino acids, without them, not only will your muscles suffer, but the other structural and regulatory parts of your body will too.
From my perspective, your knowledge of the essential amino acids should be prioritized over the non-essential amino acids mainly because you don’t have to consciously worry about those since your body already takes care of that for you. Eyeing foods that are complete proteins, such as the ones listed above, should be on your plate every day if you’re thinking about packing on some muscle.
After that quick biology lecture on amino acids, it should be clearer, even if it’s only slightly, on why knowledge of your everyday amino acids is important. Your muscles go hand in hand with the consumption of the right amino acids, the essential ones. Knowing the information is one thing, however, taking action with knowledge is a whole other journey that requires your effort and concentration.
Got any questions on the beloved team of amino acids? Feel free to leave them below along with any comment you may about the protein building blocks. Also, leave a comment below if you would like an in-depth analysis of all the amino acids on each of their functions and properties!