Introduction to Amino Acids

Amino acids are commonly referred to as the building blocks of proteins and they play many vital roles in our bodies.

They involve in many important processes such as the building of protein and the synthesis of hormones. They are 20 amino acids that make up the proteins found in the human body, which are then categorized as essential, conditionally essential and non-essential.[1]

There are 9 amino acids, which are classified as essential: [2]


These amino acids can't be made by the body and must be obtained from the diet.

It is important to ensure our body receives all the essential amino acids, by consuming complete protein food.

The best sources of essential amino acids are meat, eggs, poultry, pea protein, legume and grains.

The human body uses these amino acids to: [3]

  • Enzyme function- break down food
  • Protein synthesis- grow
  • Cell and tissue repair- recovery
  • Overall body function- hormone, immunity and neuron

Improving the essential amino acids requirement has been linked to several health benefits.

  • May help improve mood and sleep [4]
  • Can boost exercise performance [5]
  • Can prevent muscle loss [6]
  • May promote weight loss [7]


  1. Tessari, P., Lante, A., & Mosca, G. (2016). Essential amino acids: master regulators of nutrition and environmental footprint?. Scientific reports, 6, 26074.
  2. Rose A. J. (2019). Amino Acid Nutrition and Metabolism in Health and Disease. Nutrients, 11(11), 2623.
  3. Reddy, M. K. (2020, October 20). amino acid. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  4. Jenkins, T. A., Nguyen, J. C., Polglaze, K. E., & Bertrand, P. P. (2016). Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis. Nutrients, 8(1), 56.
  5. Waldron, M., Whelan, K., Jeffries, O., Burt, D., Howe, L., & Patterson, S. D. (2017). The effects of acute branched-chain amino acid supplementation on recovery from a single bout of hypertrophy exercise in resistance-trained athletes. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme, 42(6), 630–636.
  6. Ferrando, A. A., Paddon-Jones, D., Hays, N. P., Kortebein, P., Ronsen, O., Williams, R. H., McComb, A., Symons, T. B., Wolfe, R. R., & Evans, W. (2010). EAA supplementation to increase nitrogen intake improves muscle function during bed rest in the elderly. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland), 29(1), 18–23.
  7. Baum, J. I., Washington, T. A., Shouse, S. A., Bottje, W., Dridi, S., Davis, G., & Smith, D. (2016). Leucine supplementation at the onset of high-fat feeding does not prevent weight gain or improve glycemic regulation in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Journal of physiology and biochemistry, 72(4), 781–789.