Amino acids are primarily comprised of three main elements; oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. When you first look at amino acids and what makes an amino acid, at first glance it seems very simple but each amino acid plays a role that is uniquely important to the body and a role only amino acids can play. In the Human body amino acids serve the primary purpose as the building blocks of protein and if you understand the importance of protein then and only then can you begin to understand the importance of amino acids.
Proteins have many functions and responsibilities throughout the human body and without protein there is no muscle tissue. Proteins are responsible for building and binding muscle tissue together; but what are proteins? Proteins are comprised of amino acids and more than one amino acid. For a protein to exist it takes a chain of various amino acids that are connected together in order to form the protein; in short:
No Amino Acids-No Protein - No Protein-No Muscle
And it goes further than that:
A missing Amino Acid– Less needed functioning protein – Less Muscle Tissue
Try looking at each amino acid as part of a material list and protein as the end product. Put your materials together, in this case each amino acid and you have a product, in this case being protein.
The human body has twenty different amino acids it requires for proper function and if any one amino acid is missing the body will take what it needs from already existing muscle tissue. Luckily you do not have to concern yourself with ten of these amino acids; the body naturally provides ten of the twenty amino acids but the remaining ten must be found through food or supplementation; of these ten each amino acid is needed.
A diet rich in high protein foods will normally provide you with every amino acid needed, so it’s not a difficult task to ensure your amino acid total is filled, however, if you require more protein than an average individual you may find it necessary to supplement with an amino acid supplement. If you fail to reach your total amount needed and this goes for every amino acid, the proteins will experience what is known as degradation.
So how much amino acid supplementation do you need? When referring to amino acid supplementation one is referring to the ten amino acids not produced by the body known as essential amino acids or indispensable amino acids. There has never been an agreement on how much you need; over the years this has been a highly contested debate but an average as it stands today seems to fall in the following ranges:
|Essential Amino Acids||Daily Requirements|
|I Isoleucine||20mg per day per kg of body weight|
|L Leucine||39mg per day per kg of body weight|
|K Lysine||30mg per day per kg of body weight|
|M Methionine||10.4mg per day per kg of body weight|
|C Cysteine||4.1mg per day per kg of body weight|
|F Phenylalanine||12mg per day per kg of body weight|
|Y Tyrosine||12mg per day per kg of body weight|
|T Threonine||15mg per day per kg of body weight|
|W Tryptophan||4mg per day per kg of body weight|
|V Valine||26mg per day per kg of body weight|
An interesting note that is generally agreed upon, infants typically require 150%-200% more amino acids than adults during their first year of life. This is needed because during the first year infants experience growth at a faster rate than any other time in their life; so it goes without saying, if you are not an “average” individual, someone who requires more muscle tissue and mass than the average person, you too will require a higher amount of each amino acid in your diet.