Amino acids

When you have already occupied yourself with the whole topic of healthy nutrition, muscle building, fat reduction or dietary supplements you will know that there is no way around amino acids.
What what exactly are amino acids?

close up of natural protein food and additive

What are amino acids?

Proteins consist of amino acids. Skin, hair, muscles and other tissue is made up of proteins and therefore of amino acid chains. These acids that are the modules for protein are called proteinogenic amino acids. But there are more kinds of amino acids, some are for example for the creation of hormones and enzymes. They are also important for the metabolism.

Every amino acid consists of at least one amino group and one carboxyl group. For your targeted diet though, it is only important to know that different kinds of amino acids exist and which are the ones that matter.

If you are rather interested in how amino acids can make you reach your goal
than what amino acids are, you can skip the description.

Classification of amino acids in diets

You will hardly ever find a single amino acid, they are a conjunction found in protein or as an additive. To make an amino acid available for the human body, the conjunctions need to be resolved while digesting. When they reach the liver they get used for example to help setting up tissue or reducing fat. But not every amino acid is taken up by food, some are formed by the body itself or can be produced if required.

Protein components are divided into three groups:

  • essential amino acids
  • semi-essential amino acids
  • non-essential amino acids

Essential amino acids

An essential amino acid is vital but not produced by the body itself. It has to be taken up by food to some extent. Additionally, it is crucial to have enough vitamin B stored. Otherwise the uptake of essential amino acids is hindered.

These special and essential acids are:

  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • lysine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine

The are mainly found in these foods:

  • spelt flour and oatmeal
  • eggs
  • peanuts, almonds, cashew nuts and brazil nut
  • yeast
  • chicken breast
  • cheese
  • lentils, soy beans and peas
  • beef and liver of beef
  • tuna and prawns

What are semi-essential amino acids?

Semi-essential amino acids can be produced by your body. Exceptions are diseases, higher stress levels and injuries. The semi-essential amino acids are:

  • histidine
  • arginine
  • cysteine
  • tyrosine

Good suppliers for these acids are nuts, eggs, fish, vegetables, cereals and meat.

Non-essential amino acids – distribution

All non-essential amino acids can be produced sufficiently by your body. This happens by transforming other acids and the digestion of macronutrients. They are:

  • alanine
  • asparagine
  • aspartate
  • glutamate
  • glutamine
  • glycine
  • glydine
  • ornithine
  • serine


An additional supply through a diet is only needed when having a disorder of the amino acid synthesis, like a disease. When doing a lot of sport a heightened demand is reasonable as well. They are mainly found in fish, meat, eggs, dairies, cereals, rice and legumes.

How important are amino acids when it comes to muscle building?

Male athlete stretching his leg musclesMuscular tissue is made of proteins, which are made up of combinations of amino acids. These acids are directly involved with building muscles. Without them, the building of muscles is just not possible. Especially the essential acids are vital. But you should not forget about the semi-essential amino acids when working out a lot.

All nutrients and substances are connected, so a balanced and healthy diet is essential. If the nutritional plan is balanced, some extra supplements can be helpful. Watch out for products that are made of more components.

Amino acids and fat reduction – healthy slimming agents

close up of female hands measuring waistAmino acids are not only components of proteins but also an important part of hormones and enzymes which help furning fat. The human growth hormone STH can even help you lose weight while sleeping. To produce that hormone sufficiently you should take care to take up certain amino acids.
These are:

  • arginine
  • carnitine
  • glutamine
  • methionine

They are mainly found in:

  • spelt flour
  • peas
  • peanuts
  • pumpkin seed
  • lentils
  • seafood
  • brazil nuts
  • pine nuts
  • beef
  • raw salmon
  • soy beans
  • porcino
  • walnuts
  • wheat
  • goat cheese

It makes it hard for amino acids to build hormones without vitamin B and zinc. Make sure that these substances are found in your nutrition plan or supplements. Another important factor: Do not forget that sports belongs to an overall fitness plan.