Amino acids are the basic substances of proteins and there are 20 different amino acids from which the body can form many different proteins among other substances. The 20 amino acids can be divided into two groups, the essential and the non-essential amino acids. There are eight essential amino acids, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Essential means that these amino acids cannot be produced by the body and should therefore be supplied in sufficient amounts through food. Essential amino acids are found in all plants and can therefore be absorbed through cereal products, vegetables and fruit. In addition to essential amino acids, there are twelve non-essential amino acids that can be produced by the body itself and do not necessarily have to be taken in through food.
The non-essential amino acids are alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, asparagine, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, proline, serine and tyrosine. The different amino acids have different properties and applications, which are presented below. Leucine is an important building block for some proteins and therefore participates in the liver and supports healing processes. It also plays a central role in the metabolism of muscle tissue, leading to its formation and maintenance. Leucine is used in weight training for muscle building and as a component of medical infusion solutions.
Like leucine, isoleucine is strongly involved in the energy supply of the muscles. Especially during high endurance loads, isoleucine serves as an energy source and is broken down during extremely long loads to produce energy. It is therefore particularly important for athletes. Isoleucine is also used for parenteral nutrition (“bypassing the intestine”, artificial nutrition).
Valine is not only used around the human body, it is also used in the industrial fermentation of alcoholic beverages. In humans, valine is a component of many enzymes, plays an important role in energy production and can also contribute to muscle growth. Valine is also used in solutions for artificial nutrition.
Lysine has its application elsewhere in the body. Lysine plays a role above all in the immune system and is also involved in protein formation. As lysine is also involved in the formation of collagen, a deficiency can lead to brittle skin, brittle nails and even hair loss. A permanent lysine deficiency can lead to growth disorders and problems of the immune system.
Methionine is a sulphur-containing amino acid and is involved in the structure of various protein molecules. Methionine is also used in the construction of another amino acid (cysteine). Methionine also plays a role in allergies, liver problems and other diseases.
Tryptophane is found increasingly in soybeans, peas, walnuts and oatmeal and is not soluble in water. Tryptophan has an important function in the system of messenger substances in the body. A lack of tryptophane can lead to mood swings and even depression. Tryptophan is also used as a component of solutions for artificial nutrition.