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Continue to learn more about Amino Acids: Fitness Articles Home


By:Alex Borja

Here is a complete list of the essential, conditionally essential, and non-essential amino acids. Each amino acid is listed under type along with descriptions of its important actions in the body.

Essential Amino Acids:

Amino acids not synthesized by the body and therefore you need to aquire from your diet.

• A branched chain amino acid used as a source of energy
• Helps reduce muscle protein breakdown
• Promotes healing of skin and broken bones

• A branched chain amino acid readily taken up and used for energy by muscle tissue.
• Used to prevent muscle wasting
• Takes part in formation of hemoglobin

• Absorbs ultraviolet light in skin
• Important in the production of red and white blood cells. Can be used with anemia patients
• Used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, allergic diseases, and digestive

• A branched chain amino acid
• Not processed by the liver
• Assist brain uptake of other neurotransmitter precursors (trptophan, phenylalanine and tryosine).

• Low levels can slow protein synthesis, affecting muscle and connective tissue
• Inhibits viruses and can be used in the treatment of herpes simplex
• Lysine and Vitamin C together form L-carnitine, a biochemical that enables muscle tissue to use oxygen more efficiently, delaying fatigue
•Aids in growth of bone by helping to form collagen, cartilage, and other connective tissues

• Precursor of creatine
• May increase antioxidant levels (glutathione) and reduce blood cholesterol levels.
• Helps remove toxic wastes from the liver and assists in the regeneration of liver and kidney tissue

• The major precursor of tyrosine
• Enhances learning, memory, mood and alertness
• Used in the treatment of some types of depression
• Is a major element in the production of collagen
• Suppresses appetite

• One of the amino detoxifers
• Helps prevent fatty buildup in the liver
• Important component of collagen
• Generally low in vegetarians

• Precursor of key neurotransmitter serotonin, which exerts a calming effect
• Stimulates the release of growth hormones
• Free form of this amino acid is unavailable in the U.S.
• It is only available in natural food sources

Conditionally Essential Amino Acids:

Some are considered essential as infants and some as adults (essential at different times in development)

• Can increase secretion of insulin, glucagon, growth hormones
• Aids in injury rehabilitation, formation of collagen and immune system stimulation.
• Precursor of creatine, gamma amino butric acid (GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain)
• May increase sperm count and T-lymphocyte response

• Detoxifies harmful chemicals in combination with L-aspartic acid and L-citruline
• Helps prevent damage from alcohol and tobacco use
• Stimulates white blood cell activity

• Precursor of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, as well as thyroid and growth hormones and melanin (the pigment responsible for skin and hair color).
• Elevates mood

Non-Essential Amino Acids:

Your body can synthesize these. During strenous exercise, these become needed from your diet.

• Major component of connective tissue
• Key intermediate in the glucose alanine cycle, which allows muscles and other tissues to derive energy from amino acids
• Helps build up the immune system

Aspartic Acid
• Helps convert carbohydrates into muscle energy
• Builds immune system immunoglobulins and antibodies
• Reduces ammonia levels after exercises

Glutamic Acid
• A major precursor of glutamine, proline, ornothine, arginine, glutathione, and GABA
• A potential source of energy
• Important in brain metabolism and metabolism of other amino acids.

• Contributes to strong connective4e tissue and tissue antioxidant actions
• Aids in healing processes, stimulates white blood cell activity and helps diminish pain from
• Essential for the formation of skin and hair

• Most abundant amino acid
• Plays a key role in immune system functions
• An important source of energy, especially for kidneys and intestines during caloric restrictions.
• A brain fuel that is an aid to memory and a stimulant to intelligence and concentration

• Aids in the manufacture of other amino acids and is a part of the structure of hemoglobin and
  (enzymes involved in energy production)
• Has a calming effect and is sometimes used to treat manic depressive and aggressive individuals
• Produces glucagon, which mobilizes glycogen
• Can inhibit sugar cravings

• May help increase growth hormone secretion in high doses
• Aids in immune and liver function
• Promotes healing

• Energy production
• Aids memory and nervous system function
• Helps builds up immune system by producing immuno-globulins and antibodies

• A major component in the formation of connective tissue and heart muscle
• Readily mobilized for muscular energy
• Major constituent of collagen

• Aids in the absorption and elimination of fats
• May act as a neurotransmitter in some areas of the brain and retina


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