Amino acids are molecules that combine to form proteins. Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life.
When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. The human body uses amino acids to make proteins to help the body:
Break down food
Repair body tissue
Perform many other body functions
Amino acids can also be used as a source of energy by the body.
Amino acids are classified into three groups:
Essential amino acids
Nonessential amino acids
Conditional amino acids
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food.
The 9 essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
NONESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Nonessential means that our bodies can produce the amino acid, even if we do not get it from the food we eat. Nonessential amino acids include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
CONDITIONAL AMINO ACIDS
Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress.