The 20 Standard Amino Acids

Amino acids are what help keep one’s body in check. An individual cannot survive for long if the body didn’t produce or consume them on a regular basis. Still, many people don’t realize the importance of these elements and the crucial role they play in the body. It’s important not to put them all in the same grouping, as they all have very distinct functions.

There’s 20 amino acids altogether. Half of them are essential amino acids that can’t be made internally and must be found in amino acid supplements or foods rich in protein. The other half are non-essential amino acids that our bodies inherently produce. Conditional and semi-essential amino acids are also part of the non-essential amino acid family.

Amino Acids and Their Functions

Essential Amino Acids

20 amino acids

  • L-Arginine – improves heart function
  • L-Isoleucine – responsible for the formation of hemoglobin
  • L-Histidine – used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, kidney failure and ulcers
  • L-Leucine – required to lower and regulate blood sugar levels, as well as increasing the production of hormones
  • L-Lysine – good for calcium absorption, repairing muscles and tissues after injuries, and producing a wide range of hormones in the body
  • L-Methionine – plays a vital role in the detoxification process
  • L-Phenylalanine – treats depression, ADHD, vitiligo and chronic pain from other ailments. People with Parkinson’s disease, however, are warned not to take this amino acid supplement
  • L-Threonine – ensures fat buildup doesn’t occur in the liver and restores assimilation and body metabolism. Also, it forms elastin, collagen, and tooth enamel
  • L-Tryptophan – used to treat obesity since it’s responsible for body weight control through the reduction of appetite
  • L-Valine – helps build muscle metabolism activity, maintains appropriate nitrogen balance, and works with Aspartic Acid to repair damaged tissues

Non-essential Amino Acids

  • L-Alanine – vital component in glucose that enhances glycogen storage
  • L-Asparagine – helps develop and conserve brain activity
  • Aspartic Acid – rejuvenates cell formation and cellular activity
  • L-Cysteine – promotes muscle buildup and protects the liver
  • Glutamic Acid – fuels brain activity and assists with transport of potassium into the body’s spinal fluid
  • L-Glutamine – helps preserve a healthy digestive tract by maintaining the right acidic flow and alkaline balance. Also, it increase mental capacity
  • L-Glycine – produces antibodies that strengthens the body’s immune system
  • L-Proline – responsible for tissue restoration, collagen formation and blood pressure regulation
  • L-Serine – strengthens heart muscles, as well as tendons and joints, collaborating with vitamin C to ensure the presence of healthy connective tissues
  • L-Tyrosine – ensures the adequate function of the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands. It also contributes to hair pigmentation

Additional Information

  • Amounts of each essential amino acid that should be taken highly depend on each individual’s distinct body system. It’s imperative to consult with a professional before ingesting any amino acid supplements.
  • The top protein sources that contain non-essential amino acids include, but aren’t limited to, walnuts, fish, chicken, whole oats, lamb, beef, and pork.
  • The study of amino acids are commonly linked to the field of orthomolecular medicine, which is known for treating illnesses and maximizing body function. 

More Amino Acid Information