The 20 amino acids of the human body are building blocks of proteins and as intermediates in metabolism. Proteins not only catalyze most of the reactions in living cells, and control virtually all cellular process. Amino acids determine how a protein will fold into a three-dimensional structure, and the stability of the resulting structure. Meat, especially some meat like chicken and tuna, contains high amounts of protein, as do other foods such as soybeans. That is why bodybuilders often eat high amounts of these foods - proteins are huge components of muscle!
Some amino acids are essential; they must be supplied in the food. If a person does not intake even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, the result can be the degradation of the body's proteins, such as muscle tissue, to obtain the that amino acid. Amino acids are not stored in the human body and the essential amino acids must be in a person's diet every day.
The 10 amino acids that people can produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Since tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well. The essential amino acids are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. You can consult a physician to find out if you have a deficiency in an amino acid. You can consult a nutritionist for good sources of the essential amino acids.
To see how the amino acids look, check out http://www.chemie.fu-berlin.de/chemistry/bio/amino-acids_en.html .
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Some information for this blog was obtained at http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/aa/aa.html
Accessed on November 23, 2005
Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.