What Do Amino Acids Do?

It seems everyone at some point has heard about amino acids. However, very few people actually know what they do. At first glance, amino acids seem to be a mysterious body of compounds that represent to most people something they had to study at one point in their life in a middle school science class. Nevertheless, amino acids are very important biological compounds that are prominent players in the human body's function and are necessary not only for the body to thrive, but to survive.

aminos at work

Converting Protein Into Vitamins and Nutrients

Amino acids are commonly called the “building blocks of protein.” They take the broken down protein out of the metabolism, then convert it into vitamins and nutrients that the body can use for not only its basic functions, but to optimize the health of all its internal systems. In fact, amino acids are so important that without a proper balance of all the amino acids in one's body, things like protein and nutrients from your diet can actually become poison to one's anatomy.

Difference Between Essential and Nonessential Amino Acids

While the scientific community disagrees on the exact amount, it is generally considered there are 20 "regular amino acids" and 9 “essential amino acids.” The basic difference between the two is that the body can produce regular amino acids, but essential amino acids need to be consumed in one's diet through food or supplements for their body to receive them.

Important Roles of Amino Acids

Besides helping with the conversion process or protein into nutrition for the body, they also help with protecting nerve function. For example: the essential amino acid, Histidine, is used to form protective rings around brain and spinal nerve endings in order to keep them from being damaged. It helps to do this through the process of creating red and white blood cells that help form good communicative signals to the brain and the rest of the body. Without these protections in place, the body’s nervous system is left vulnerable to a host of problems related to possible nerve damage.

Amino Acids and Muscle Movement

Different amino acids also help with muscle control in allowing them to relax and contract. It’s amino acids that are the biological component of the body that controls and regulates what state your muscles are at any give time.

Amino Acids Produce Growth Hormones

Amino acids are also able to increase production of growth hormones in the body like testosterone. It does this by helping one's body break down fats and sugars, and then in turn convert them to testosterone. It is also able to get rid of extra fat that is stored in the blood stream through extraction, which results in healthier arteries. Amino acids also stimulate certain parts of the nervous system that operate the human body's metabolism and energy production. This is why amino acids are often used by the body building community to help with the digestion of protein in order to get an extra “kick” when they workout, or when they need an energy boost. This and other benefits of the body are the result of having healthy blood in the body, which is another thing that amino acids provide. Amino acids are able to help regulate blood sugar levels in the body through nerve signals that make sure one's body is producing the proper amounts of insulin. Without amino acids, one's body is essentially ineffective to do much on its own. This is why it is always stressed by medical professionals that one consume foods in their diet that are rich in both essential and non-essential amino acids.

More Amino Acid Information