essential amino acids


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es·sen·tial a·mi·no ac·ids

α-amino acids nutritionally required by an organism that must be supplied in its diet (that is, cannot be synthesized by the organism) either as free amino acid or in proteins.

essential amino acids

A group of eight amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) which are essential for normal growth and development of humans; absence of an essential amino acid results in a negative nitrogen balance. In premature infants, histidine, arginine and cystine are also essential.

es·sen·tial a·mi·no ac·ids

(ĕ-sen'shăl ă-mē'nō as'idz)
The α-amino acids nutritionally required by an organism that must be supplied in its diet (i.e., cannot be synthesized by the organism), either as free amino acids or in proteins.

essential amino acids

Those AMINO ACIDS that cannot be synthesized in the body and must be included in the diet. They include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

amino acids

organic acids in which one or more of the hydrogen atoms is replaced by the amino group, NH2. They are the end-products of digestion of dietary protein and from them the body synthesizes its own proteins. Within the body amino acids also act as precursors of many other molecules essential for life. Amino acids may be categorized as essential or non-essential. essential amino acids: those that must be provided in the diet since the human body does not have the enzymes for their synthesis; of the 20 amino acids that are present in proteins or as free amino acids in the body, nine are 'essential' (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine). Of these, three are known as branched-chain aminoacids (BCAA): leucine is oxidized to a significant extent during exercise, and tracer studies that follow leucine kinetics are often used as an estimation of protein turnover; isoleucine and valine can also serve as fuel sources. It has been claimed that ingestion of BCAA before and during exercise may improve the physiological and psychological responses, and that BCAA with arginine and/or other amino acids may promote growth hormone release, but other studies do not support this. There are no known toxic effects. See also ergogenic aids, gluconeogenesis; Table 1.
Table 1: Ergogenic aids: supplements used by athletes
SubstanceDescriptionClaimed ergogenic effectSupporting evidence
With clear scientific evidence
CaffeineStimulant in coffee and tea
  • Benefits performance by improving alertness, concentration, reaction time.
  • Increases fat oxidation during endurance exercise.
Improves performance in most events, except very short high-intensity exercise; increases cognitive functioning during exercise.
CreatineCarrier of high-energy phosphates in muscleIncreases the energy reserve, improves strength, reduces fatigue, and increases protein synthesisIncreases intramuscular Cr and PCr; improves performance in repeated sprint bouts (and reported to do so after even a single bout); improves recovery between bouts (but response varies between individuals). Anabolic properties unclear.
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Sodium citrate
BuffersImproves high-intensity exercise performance by limiting decrease in pH in ECF as a whole and indirectly in muscle ICFLarge doses can improve performance
With mixed scientific evidence
Antioxidant nutrientsVitamins, especially C and EProvides protection against muscle damage by reducing oxidative stressBenefits established at cellular level; no detectable aid to performance
ArginineAmino acid in normal dietStimulates release of growth hormone, promoting gain in muscle mass and strengthSome evidence of GH promotion when combined with other amino acids (ornithine, lysine, BCAA); no conclusive evidence of effect when taken alone
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA)Leucine, isoleucine and valine
  • Retards the development of central fatigue and so improves performance.
  • Improves efficiency of training
No good evidence of improved endurance performance. Evidence of accelerated recovery from muscle fatigue when given with other amino acids during eccentric exercise training
GlutamineAmide of amino acid glutamateMaintains a healthy immune system during training and improves muscle glycogen resynthesisDoes not affect immune function; possibly affects muscle glycogen resynthesis
GlycerolComponent of triacylglycerol moleculeInduces hyperhydration, decreases heat stress, and improves performanceDoes have the first two actions, but effects on performance are unclear
Lacking scientific support
AndrostenedioneSynthetic productIncreases testosterone and thus muscle mass and strength, and improves recoveryDoes not increase testosterone secretion; has no effect on strength
Hydroxy-methyl butyrate (HMB)Metabolite of the amino acid leucineEnhances gain in body mass and strength associated with resistance training, and improves recoveryPossible small effects only on lean body mass and strength
BoronMicronutrient present in vegetables and non-citrus fruitsIncreases testosterone levels, to improve bone density, muscle mass, and strengthImproves bone mineral density in postmenopausal women; no effect on bone density, muscle mass or strength in men
CarnitineSubstance important for fatty acid transport into mitochondriaImproves fat oxidation, helps weight lossNo supporting evidence
CholinePrecursor of acetylcholineImproves performance, decreases fatigue and enhances fat metabolismNo supporting evidence
Chromium (chromium picolinate)Micronutrient that potentiates insulin actionPromotes fat oxidation and muscle buildingNo supporting evidence
Coenzyme Q10Part of the electron transport chain in the mitochondriaImproves aerobic capacity and cardiovascular dynamicsNo supporting evidence
GinsengRoot of the Araliaceous plantImproves strength, performance, stamina, and cognitive functioning; reduces fatigueNo supporting evidence
InosineNucleoside found naturally in brewer's yeast and organ meatsIncreases ATP stores, improve strength, training quality, and performanceNo supporting evidence
Medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCT)Triglycerides containing fatty acids with a carbon chain length of 6-10Improves energy supply, reduces rate of muscle glycogen breakdown, and improves performanceNo supporting evidence
PyruvateEnd-product of aerobic glycolysisImproves endurance capacity and recovery; increases glycogen storageLimited supporting evidence
PolylactatePolymer of lactateProvides energyNo effects on performance
Wheat germ oilWheat embryo extractImproves enduranceNo supporting evidence
References in periodicals archive ?
Consequently, increasing the lysine:DE ratio can result in increased crude protein digestibility and urinary nitrogen excretion, although apparent protein digestibility and nitrogen excretion were not affected by energy density Furthermore, increasing the lysine:DE ratio also increased the apparent digestibility of essential amino acids, except for leucine, regardless of energy density.
Min (2006) reported that individual essential amino acids digestibility of FSP diet was improved compared with SBM diet because FSP had a high amount of small peptide by microbial fermentation (Kim, 2004) that presented to the mucosa in short-chain peptide bound form (Rerat et al.
A vegetarian diet containing eggs, milk, and cheese provides sufficient amounts of all essential amino acids.
Only the 6-percent-casein diet fell below the recommended daily protein allowance for growing rats (roughly 14 percent as casein); to prevent deficiency-related disease, this chow included supplements of certain essential amino acids, the basic building blocks of proteins.
Protein is the next subject and that is divided into amino acids, protein structure, essential amino acids, analysis, milk, meat and bread.
Many of the essential amino acids found in NUTRILITE's previous version of Protein Powder came from dairy.
2 It's high in protein - animal protein contains a greater range of essential amino acids than plant proteins.
Maca also provides 18 amino acids, seven essential amino acids and is also a rich source of sterols and fatty acids.
And when added to raw ground beef, a pair of essential amino acids may even prevent potentially carcinogenic mutagens from forming during frying or broiling.
Amino Vital[R] contains a unique combination of five essential amino acids to enable athletes to achieve peak performance and recover quickly.
Borojo fruit has very high protein and vitamin B content, as well as large quantities of essential amino acids.
SINGLE plant foods don't contain all the essential amino acids we need in the right proportions.