What are Amino Acids?

by admin on September 28, 2011

There are different types of Amino acids; but this article refers to the Amino acids needed for protein synthesis in the human body. Amino acids are the building blocks of polypeptide chains which are the building blocks of protein. The human body uses 20 different amino acids in our genetic code. In most cases, our bodies can manufacture 11 of the 20 amino acids used to build protein molecules, but we need to derive the other 9 amino acids from our diet. These 9 that cannot be synthesized without nutrients in our food are called Essential Amino acids. They include the following list with a selection of foods they can be found in. The list of foods is in no way to be considered comprehensive or exhaustive (as I am not a medical professional), but rather a sampling of the foods that these amino acids can be found in.

Isoleucine – found in eggs, soy protein, seaweed, turkey, chicken, lamb and cheese

Leucine – found in soy protein concentrate, peanuts, wheat germ, almonds, lentils, chick peas, corn and brown rice

Lysine – found in soy, red meat, lamb, poultry, cheese, certain fish and eggs

Methionone – sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, fish and cereal grains

Phenylalanine – dried egg white powder, dried whole egg powder, peanut flour, seeds, soy flour, soy meal, some fish, frozen tofu, and cheese. An important non-food source is Aspartame.

Threonine – cottage cheese, poultry, fish, meat and lentils

Tryptophan – chocolate, oats, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, and poultry

Valine – cottage cheese, fish, poultry, peanuts, sesame seeds and lentils

Histidine – soy protein isolate,dried egg white, parmesean cheese, sesame flour, peanut flower, dried frozen tofu, defatted soy flour.

There are two provisionally needed amino acids that some people cannot manufacture without dietary sources. Tyrosine can be manufactured from Phenylalanine, but in individuals suffering from PKU – an inability to digest Phenylalanine, Tyrosine may be deficient. Secondly, Selenocysteine, is an unclassified Amino acid that may be deficient in some populations.

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