What Are Essential Amino Acids? | Best Amino Acid Supplements

What Are Essential Amino Acids? | Best Amino Acid Supplements

What Are Essential Amino Acids?

Amino Acids are molecules that combine to form proteins. Amino Acids are organic compounds that is mostly made up of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The human body needs about 20 different amino acids to grow and function properly.

There are nine essential amino acids that come from food. The nine essential amino acids are Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Theonine, Tryptophan, and Valine. Your body can make nonessential amino acids, however it cannot make essential amino acids, so you would have to get these through your diet. Often times, athletes will take amino acid supplements to help enhance their overall performance.

What Are The Nine Essential Amino Acids?

The nine essential amino acids each perform many crucial jobs for your body. All of these amino acids play different roles that are important for your body. Though many people get all these amino acids through their diet, sometimes people will have amino acid deficiencies which can do harm to your body.

Here is a breakdown of all nine essential amino acids:

  • Phenylalanine: This amino acid is a "building block" of protein. It plays an important role in the structure and function of proteins and enzymes as well as the production of other amino acids. There are three forms of this amino acid; D-Phenylalanine, L-Phenylalanine, and the combination of these two called DL-Phenylalanine. The body turns this amino acid into neurotransmitters tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
  • Valine: Valine is one of the three branched chain amino acids. This amino acid branches off from one side of the molecular structure. Valine is known to help enhance your energy, increase your endurance, and aid in muscle tissue recovery and repair.
  • Threonine: Threonine is needed to create glycine and serine which are two amino acids that are important for the production of collagen, elastin, and muscle tissue. Threonine is known as the principal part of structural proteins like collagen and elastin. Collagen and Elastin are important parts of your skin and connective tissues. This amino acid will also help with fat metabolism and your immune function.
  • Tryptophan: Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your appetite, sleep schedule, and overall mood. This amino acid is needed for normal growth especially in infants; plus it is good for the maintenance of the body's proteins, muscles, enzymes, and neurotransmitters.
  • Methionine: Methionine is important for metabolism and detoxification. This amino acid will help protect your body from damage caused by ionizing radiation; it will help detoxify harmful substances in the body. Methionine helps breakdown the fats by preventing their accumulation in the arteries and aiding the digestive system.
  • Leucine: Leucine is another one of the three essential branched amino acids. Leucine can help by supporting skeletal muscles to provide you with energy during workouts. Leucine can also help regulate cellular processes like protein synthesis, tissue regeneration, and your metabolism.
  • Isoleucine: Isoleucine is the last of the three branched chain amino acids. This amino acid plays a critical role in physiological functions of the body like growth, your immune health, protein metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, and glucose transportation. Isoleucine can also help improve and support your immune system.
  • Lysine: Lysine is important for protein synthesis, calcium absorption, and the production of hormones and enzymes. Lysine will help with your energy production, support your immune function, and help with the production of collagen and elastin.
  • Histidine: Histidine is used to product histamine which is a neurotransmitter that is important for immune response, digestion, and sexual function. Histidine is used for growth, repair of damaged tissues, and making blood cells. This amino acid will help protect nerve cells.

Though these essential amino acids can often be found in foods, for people who lack certain amino acids or athletes who are looking to enhance your performance should consider taking amino acid supplements.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Essential Amino Acid Supplements?

  • May Help With Your Mood
    • Tryptophan is an important amino acid because of its production of serotonin which acts as a neurotransmitter in your body. Serotonin is an important regulator of your mood, sleep, and behaviors. Taking tryptophan supplements can help reduce symptoms of depression and boost your overall mood.
  • Can Improve Athletic Performance & Recovery
    • This is where the three essential Branched Chain Amino Acids come in. Athletes take Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine to help with fatigue, improve their overall athletic performance, and stimulate muscle recovery after a workout.
  • May Help Maintain A Healthy Weight
    • Methionine is important for our metabolic rate and detoxification. Plus Threonine play an important role for metabolizing fat.
  • Provides The Body With Energy
    • Amino Acids like Isoleucine and Valine are known to be good sources of energy to help fuel your body. Isoleucine and Valine are both Branched Chain Amino Acids which will help enhance your energy levels.
  • Helps Maintain A Healthy Sleep Cycle
    • Irregular sleep habits can be caused by insomnia, stress, and can take a toll on your overall health. With Histidine and Tryptophan amino acid supplement, it can help regulate a healthy sleep cycle.  


Overall the nine essential amino acids can be consumed through your diet, however if you lack a certain essential amino acid or are looking to enhance your athletic performance, there are supplements to help you. All of these essential amino acids are vital for your body because they all perform different functions like protein synthesis, tissue repair, and more to help your body. Other essential amino acids can help prevent muscle loss, support recovery, improve your overall mood, support a healthy sleep schedule, and improve your athletic performance.

Jun 12th 2023 BigCommerce
Madison Tong
Madison has been in the fitness and supplement industry now for almost five years. She prides herself with helping speak about the newest supplements and fitness trends to hit the industry. She loves the outdoors, endurance training and helping other meet their fitness goals.
Madison Tong

Recent Posts

Shop Online or Visit Our Nutrition Store Locations in Chicagoland