Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids in Protein

What are Amino Acids?

In nutritional terms we most commonly know amino acids as being the individual acids that make up protein. Proteins are made up of various proportions of the 20 most commonly occurring amino acids, both essential and non-essential.

Amino Acids List

Alanine (Ala)

Arginine (Arg)

Asparagine (Asn)

Aspartic Acid (Asp)

Cysteine (Cys)

Glutamic Acid (Glu)

Glutamine (Gln)

Glycine (Gly)

Histidine* (His)

Isoleucine* (Ile)

Leucine* (Leu)

Lysine* (Lys)

Methionine* (Met)

Phenylalanine* (Phe)

Proline (Pro)

Serine (Ser)

Threonine* (Thr)

Tryptophan* (Trp)

Tyrosine* (Tyr)

Valine* (Val)

*All of those marked with an asterisk are Essential Amino Acids. Essential amino acids are ones which must be present in our diets whereas the non-essential aminos can be created within the body from the essentials.

Amino Acids For Bodybuilding

Any keen bodybuilder out there may recognize some of those names, most likely glutamine. In bodybuilding nutrition, glutamine is probably the most important amino acids as it plays a key role in rebuilding muscle fibers after hard training. It is also believed to reduced the extent to which muscle is broken down in the first place during weight training.

It’s had to get large amounts of glutamine from natural sources so special supplements are often added to the diet to increase intake. Any high quality protein supplement such as whey powders or bars should contain the full range of essential amino acids and a generous amount of glutamine. You can also purchase pure glutamine on it’s own in a powder form.

Amino acids join together via the formation of peptide bonds. The amino acids join to create both short and long chains, short chains are known as peptides and longer chains are called polypeptides. You may also have heard of Branched Chain Amino Acids, branched chains are simply chains which also have groups attached to it’s sides.