Food Eng. Oguz Yildirim

What is Amino Acid? What Does It Do? In Which Foods Is It Found?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and take part in many important functions in the body. The right combinations of amino acids, required for protein synthesis and forms the structure of many tissues in the body, including muscles, connective tissues, skin, nails, and hair.

Amino acids are involved in energy production in the body. In addition, some amino acids have an effect on brain function and nerve conduction in particular. For example, an amino acid called tryptophan is effective in matters such as happiness, sleep time and quality.

A lack of amino acids can affect protein synthesis in the body, causing muscle loss, slower healing of wounds and weakening of the immune system. Low levels of amino acids can also lead to mood swings, sleep problems and metabolic disorders.

While the body can produce some amino acids, we can only get some from food. Therefore, consuming foods containing adequate amounts of amino acids is very important for our body. In particular, red meat, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds Protein-containing foods such as these can be preferred to increase our amino acid intake.

Classification of Amino Acids (Essential – Non-Essential)

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and can be found in nature in various forms. Basically, the classification of amino acids is made according to the characteristics of the side chains in their structure.

Classification of Amino Acids (Essential - Non-Essential)
Classification of Amino Acids (Essential – Non-Essential)

However, the classification of amino acids can be grouped into two main categories: essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids acids.

  • Essential amino acids are amino acids that cannot be synthesized in our body. Therefore, it is necessary to obtain these amino acids through food. Essential amino acids are nine types, namely histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
  • Non-essential amino acids are amino acids that can be synthesized in our body. These are nine types: alanine, asparagine, aspartate, glutamate, glutamine, glycin, prolain, serine and tyrosine.
  • However, some sources also classify proline and cysteine ​​as semi-essential amino acids.
  • Finally, amino acids can also be classified according to the different groups found in their side chains. These are hydrophobic, hydrophilic, acidic, basic and aromatic amino acids.

Altogether, the classification of amino acids is quite complex and there are many factors that need to be examined. However, they are mainly classified according to the different groups in their side chains as well as essential and non-essential amino acids.

Amino Acid Supplementation and Its Benefits

Amino acids serve as the basic building blocks of protein synthesis in the body. There are 20 different amino acids in the body and they play a role in almost all functions. Proteins taken from food are primarily broken down into amino acids by the digestive system and used in the structure of protein molecules specific to the body. However, in some cases, it can be difficult to get enough amino acids, and in these cases amino acid supplementation may be necessary.

There are many benefits to using amino acid supplements. Athletes can use amino acid supplements to increase muscle mass and endurance. Some amino acids have the effect of protecting muscle tissue by reducing the release of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Therefore, they can provide faster recovery, less loss of muscle mass and more muscle growth in athletes. Moreover, some amino acids regulate immune system functions and increase the body's resistance to infections.

Another benefit of amino acids is the support of brain functions. Brain function is dependent on certain amino acids, particularly those that have effects that increase memory, attention, and focus. For this reason, many people take amino acid supplements to support memory and concentration, especially during exam periods, before important presentations, or in stressful work environments.

When used in the right amount and for the right purpose, amino acid supplementation can provide many benefits. However, as with any supplement or medication, they can have certain side effects. Therefore, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before using any supplements or medications.

Food Sources Containing Amino Acids

Food Sources Containing Amino Acids
Food Sources Containing Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and they are very important for the human body. The body needs amino acids for growth, repair, hormonal and enzymatic functions. Here are foods containing amino acids:

  1. Amino acids are supplied from protein sources. However, some amino acids can also be obtained from non-nutritional sources. These are known as essential amino acids and cannot be produced by the human body, so they must be obtained from food.
  2. Some foods are good sources of essential amino acids. For example, red meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs, quinoa, soybeans, shrimp and cashews are foods rich in essential amino acids.
  3. There are also amino acid supplements available. They are often used by athletes and bodybuilders and are used to make up for the deficiency of essential amino acids.

As a result, non-nutritional sources of amino acids are only some foods and supplements rich in essential amino acids. By consuming these foods, we can provide all the amino acids our body needs. However, consuming large amounts can lead to health problems, so it's important to eat a balanced diet and seek expert advice.

Bodybuilding and Amino Acids

Bodybuilding is a type of exercise done to increase muscle mass and get into shape. The aim of this exercise is to apply a certain amount of stress to the muscles, making them stronger and larger. Body buildingIt is based on a regular training, nutrition and sleep schedule.

Bodybuilding and Amino Acids
Bodybuilding and Amino Acids
  • Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. When you do bodybuilding workouts, muscle tissues are damaged and proteins are needed to repair and grow this damage. Amino acids are particles that can be used for the synthesis of proteins.
  • Bodybuilders use amino acid supplements in their nutrition programs. Known as leucine, isoleucine and valine BCAAare the most important amino acids for muscle growth. These amino acids promote muscle growth by accelerating muscle protein synthesis.
  • In addition, other amino acids such as glutamine, arginine and lysine are important for muscle growth. These amino acids support muscle protein synthesis and prevent further muscle damage.

However, before taking amino acid supplements, it's important to talk to your doctor or nutritionist. In addition, a balanced diet and sleep program should be followed along with your bodybuilding program. In this way, you can maximize your muscle growth and build a healthy body.

Research on the Importance of Amino Acids

Amino acids are the main components in protein synthesis and are vital for various functions in the human body. Amino acids are responsible for muscle and tissue repair, immune system function, energy production and hormonal regulation.

Research on the Importance of Amino Acids
Research on the Importance of Amino Acids

Studies show that amino acids are especially important for athletes and exercisers. After exercise, the body needs amino acids for muscle repair and growth. In addition, adequate intake of amino acids is necessary for the muscles to function properly. In addition, with increased protein synthesis, muscles can produce energy more effectively and delay fatigue.

Amino acids also support the immune system. A good immune system can help protect against diseases and help fight viruses. Some amino acids are particularly effective for boosting the immune system.

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Since amino acids are vital for the human body, they must be taken in sufficient quantities. With additional supplements such as nutritional support or protein bars, it may be easier to get the amino acids the body needs. But still, following a balanced diet is the best way to get the right amount.

Methods Used to Raise Amino Acid Levels

Amino acids are the building blocks that are important for protein synthesis in the body. Therefore, raising amino acid levels is very important, especially for those who do sports and fitness enthusiasts. Methods used to increase amino acid levels include:

  1. Consuming protein-rich foods: Protein-rich dietsHelps the body synthesize more amino acids. Such foods include meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products, soy protein, lentils, chickpeas and beans, etc. countable.
  2. Using BCAA supplements: BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) supplements are commonly used by athletes as a way to support muscle growth and repair.
  3. Using EAA supplements: EAA (Essential Amino Acids) supplements contain vital amino acids and provide the essential building blocks that the body needs especially for protein synthesis.
  4. Using amino acid complexes: Amino acid complexes help meet the body's need for all amino acids.
  5. Consuming carbohydrates alongside amino acids: Carbs help increase glycogen stores in the body, which provides more energy and allows you to last longer during training.

A few examples are given among the methods applied to increase amino acid levels. Along with these, sleep, avoidance of stress, and adequate water consumption can also help increase amino acid levels. However, you should not use supplements or other methods without talking to a doctor or dietitian.


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Stating that his eating and drinking habits started from childhood, Oğuz Yıldırım completed his higher education in Food Engineering. He is currently serving his clients as a nutritionist in his own office.

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