The amino acids are organic chemicals that are linked together in large numbers to form proteins . An amino acid molecule has three main parts: an acidic part, a hydrocarbon chain, and a basic part:

  • Acid part: It is a carboxyl radical (-COOH), which characterizes organic acids.
  • Hydrocarbon chain: They are carbon atoms linked and with the valence completed by hydrogens (-CH 2 -CH 2 -).
  • Basic part: It is an amino radical (-NH 2 ), which is a nitrogen with its valence compensated by hydrogens.

The simplest amino acid is glycine , with the formula NH 2 -CH 2 -COOH.

What are amino acids for?

Amino acids are chemical compounds that, when forming proteins, represent nutritional agents that are mandatory in the body.

Amino acids serve to:

  • Form proteins in tissues
  • Assimilate nutrients into the body
  • Build muscles

Amino acids serve to form proteins in tissues

Amino acids are responsible for grouping together as proteins in cell membranes, to give them functional stability. Cells, in turn, unite in a pattern to integrate living tissues . Proteins, such as keratin, strengthen existing tissues , promoting their regeneration. They are, therefore, essential for animal and plant species.

Optimize the assimilation of nutrients in the body

Amino acids have the property of optimizing the assimilation of nutrients in the body. This process is done mainly from the internal villi of the small intestine.

Amino acids serve to build muscle

Amino acids are consumed by athletes as growth promoters and muscle maintenance ; Depending on the person, it will be the periods in which these substances are consumed. It can be before, during and after workouts, to try to avoid muscle catabolism.

For this purpose, protein supplements are created whose chemical composition contains BCAAs (Brained Chain Amino Acids), that is, branched chain amino acids. These are mainly isoleucine, leucine, and valine.

All three, together, are responsible for accelerating the production of insulin, generating an anti-catabolic effect in the muscles worked, helping in the absorption of proteins.

Types of Amino Acids

Meat is a source of amino acids

Amino acids are classified into two types: essential and non-essential.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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