Amino Acid
Amino Acid (Illustration /

Amino Acid: Definition, Classifications, 8 Functions, and Benefits

Amino acids are one of the most studied groups of organic compounds because of their very important function in organisms, namely as a constituent of proteins.

Amino Acids Definition

Amino acids are the smallest part of the protein structure. That said, the protein from the food you eat is a collection of several amino acids. As the simplest form of protein, this form of amino acids can be absorbed by the body and perform its functions properly.

Amino Acid Classifications

In general, the structure of an amino acid is one carbon atom (C) that binds to four groups as follows:

  • Amine group (–NH2), which is an organic compound and functional group consisting of nitrogen compounds
  • Carboxyl groups (-COOH), also called alkanoic acid.
  • Atomic Hydrogen (H), or watery substance.
  • Residue (residual groups), which distinguish one amino acid from another

Amino acids are divided into two types, namely essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. Here’s the explanation.

Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids are amino acids that are not produced in the body, or if they are indeed produced, the amount is insufficient for the body’s metabolic needs. For that, the body must get a source of amino acids from the outside by eating foods rich in amino acids.

Amino acids that are types of essential amino acids include ten types of amino acids that are very important for the formation of body proteins, such as arginine, lysine, isimecine, histidine, methionine, threonine, phenylaline, valine, and tryptophan. Essential amino acids themselves have the following functions:

As a formation and repair of body tissues such as connective tissue, muscle tissue, skin, nails and hair 

  • Produce energy for the body
  • Producing antibodies as endurance of the body
  • A compound that helps grow and develop in children optimally.
  • Help the body absorb important minerals such as selenium and zinc.
  • Helps the formation of hemoglobin in the blood.
  • Producing collagen and speed up the wound healing process
  • Regulate mood, appetite and sleep cycles.

Since most essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body, even though this type of amino acid is very important in metabolism, it is necessary to consume foods rich in essential amino acids. Types of foods rich in essential amino acids are beef, eggs, milk, fish, nuts, and turkey.

Non-Essential Amino Acids

Non-essential amino acids are amino acids that can be made in the body using ordinary organic acids, such as alanine, serine, arginine, glycine, syrocyne, norkucine, proline, Citrulline, tyrosine, and asparagine acid. The functions of these non-essential amino acids include:

  • Helps speed up wound healing.
  • Blood circulation.
  • Increase libi**do.
  • Helps maximize the absorption of important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.
  • Prevent premature aging.

Lack of amino acids in children under 2 years of age can cause stunting and in adults can cause protein deficiency that can trigger muscle weakness, wounds difficult to heal, weakness, and easy pain.

In an effort to meet the needs of amino acids, we do not need to sort through the types of foods that contain essential or non-essential amino acids, because in every food that is high in protein, there are amino acids needed by the body.

Although amino acids are very important for the body, but we are also not recommended to consume the food source of amino acids in excess because it will have a less good impact on the body.

Too many amino acids contained in the body, then the work of the kidneys will become heavier and can cause kidney performance to be disrupted. Excess amino acids can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, because if the body is excess protein, then the calcium in the body will be more excreted.

Eating foods with balanced nutrition and not excessive is the best way to be able to get a good intake of vitamins and minerals for the body.

Amino Acid Function

Once the amino acids are ready for use, the body then uses to:

  • Helps with any growth process in the body
  • Repairing body tissues
  • Maintaining the balance of bodily fluids
  • Maintaining an alkaline acid atmosphere in the body
  • Forming hormones (for example, thyroid and insulin hormones).
  • Forming enzymes. An enzyme is a molecule of a protein that serves as a catalyst. With a catalyst, any chemical reaction process in the body will be faster and more effective.
  • Form a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemical compounds in the brain that help send signals between nerve cells in the brain. Nerotransmitters formed for example named dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
  • It forms the immune system. Antibodies are key in the immune system. Amino acids make the body’s antibodies to attack target cells that are considered foreign to enter the body.

Amino Acid Benefits

Preventing Hair Loss

Hair loss can not only be prevented by beauty products. This hair problem can also be prevented with amino acids. Yes, one of the benefits of amino acids is to prevent hair loss while maintaining skin and nail health.

According to research from Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, hair loss is quite closely related to iron deficiency and in optimal lysine intake. Well, lysine is one of the many types of amino acids.

Increase Muscle Mass

The benefits of amino acids can also make your muscles “smile”. How could it be? Because, muscles are formed from proteins consisting of a wide variety of amino acids. The more muscle formed, the less room for fat in the body.

Maintaining Heart Health

According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, amino acids are good for maintaining heart health. Because, some types of amino acids are believed to be important nutrients for maintaining cardiovascular function. Deficiency of several types of amino acids is associated with cardiac dysfunction.

Maintaining Balance of Hormones and Enzymes

You should be vigilant if you lack amino acids, because it can be that hormones and enzymes in your body get messed up, especially balance hormones. Another amino acid benefit is to release insulin, so that the balance level of blood sugar is maintained. Meanwhile, growth hormone can increase the development of muscle mass and aid the process of burning fat and energy, as well as strengthening bones and collagen.

Read also:
How Does Insulin Work?

Increase Stamina and Memory

Foods high in amino acids can also keep you from being tired. In addition, the benefits of amino acids can also improve the process of detoxifying ammonia by the liver. As a result, your overall body health is improving. Not only that, but it can also avoid depression and improve memory.

Last Updated on December 29, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team