Protein - Essential and Nonessential Amino Acids
August 08, 2018
An essential amino acid is one our bodies need but cannot make on its own, therefore we must consume and absorb them through our food.
Non-essential amino acids are ones our bodies need, but make enough on their own. We don't need worry about consuming these in order to fulfill our bodies need for them.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The protein in our food and body are composed of 20 amino acids - 11 of these we can create in our own bodies using nitrogen, the other 9 need to be consumed from food since we cannot make them.
The 9 essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
The 11 non-essential amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutemic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
Our skeletal muscles keep a sizable storehouse in the intracellular spaces of free amino acids to regulate our protein levels. Every day, about 90g of protein is dumped into our intestines to be broken down and reassembled to whatever proportion of amino acids we need. We do not need to be concerned with the amount of protein we are consuming, or if we are getting all of the essential amino acids. Our bodies were designed to prevent this type of deficiency by storing and recombining the amino acids to be used as our body requires.
So don't worry about if you're getting enough protein, just eat enough calories with a variety of plant foods including whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, etc. and you will have what your body needs.