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Amino Acids

Amino acids are building blocks of protein and hence muscle tissue. Amino Acids are organic compounds consisting of an amino group and an acidic carboxyl group. They command the energy we have, the speed of recovery, weight loss and memory functions of the brain. Amino acids are critical for repairing organs, muscles, nails, skin, hair, ligaments and glands. It is amino acids that facilitate effective functioning of vitamins and minerals and maintaining metabolic activity.


The specific characteristics of each amino acid is derived from its side chain that lends it a unique role in a protein structure. The 20 amino acids are further classified as essential and non-essential amino acids.


Essential amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body and hence must be obtained from food.


  1. Arginine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Histidine
  4. Leucine
  5. Methionine
  6. Lysine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Threonine
  10. Valine

Non-Essential Amino Acids are those that can be produced by the body from other amino acids. They can be synthesized from metabolic intermediates.


  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine

There are other Amino acids like Taurine which is an essential conditional amino acid so important for the development of brain tissue as well as being the key part of bile.

Amino Acid Deficiencies : Congenital enzyme deficiencies affecting amino acid metabolism may result in Aminoaciduria - a condition where the patient's urine has abnormal presence of amino acids. A genetic error in metabolizing phenylalanine amino acid causes Phenylketonuria (PKU).

Blood plasma screening tests and urine tests may help to determine the amino acid metabolism disorders such as:

  • Tyrosinosis (metabolic disorder arising out of abnormal plasma L-tyrosine level)
  • Histidinemia (metabolic disorder due to abnormal levels of histidine)
  • Histidinuria (histidine transport deficiency)
  • Hypervalinemia (disorder due to elevated levels of Valine, an amino acid, possibly owing to the deficiency of the enzyme valine transaminase)
  • Hyperprolinemia (elevated blood levels of proline amino acid)
  • Cystinuria (cystine in the urine)
  • Homocystinuria (disorder due to methionine metabolism or Cystathionine Beta Synthase Deficiency)
  • Phenylketonuria.

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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: July 22, 2019