Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life as well as a source of energy by the body. 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
Amino acids are classified into three groups:
Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food.
The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
"Non-essential" means that our bodies produce an amino acid, even if we don't get it from the food we eat. They include: alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid.
Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress. They include: arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.