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What is an essential amino acid?

Posted on June 27, 2017

What is an essential amino acid?Dividerimage




Essential Amino Acids can be described as being essential due to our bodies not being able to manufacture them ourselves. So why are we writing about them?Because Essential Amino Acids should be a very important part of your daily nutrition plan as they are part of the building blocks of protein.
Even more important if you are hitting the gym or playing sports. As your body can’t manufacture Essential Amino Acids the only way to get them is through food and supplements. And that’s where we come into the picture.
Here at Sporty’s Health we have quite a few Essential Amino Acid Supplements to choose from. There is a link at the bottom of the page for you to see what Essential Amino Acids are available, if you want us to help you with your training and recovery that is. Now let’s get into the fun stuff on the subject of Essential Amino Acids.

What is an Essential Amino Acid?

There are nine Essential Amino Acids that your body cannot produce.

These are:

• Phenylalanine

• Valine

• Threonine

• Tryptophan

• Methionine

• Leucine

• Isoleucine

• Lysine

• Histidine

As Essential Amino Acids are required in virtually all of your bodies processes they become a precious commodity you have to be aware of. You have to either eat them or supplement them to ensure you are getting the right amount for your body’s daily needs.

Why do you need Essential Amino Acids? 

As we have written above, your body needs Amino Acids. Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and help play important roles in your body’s daily functions. Amino Acids are split into two different groups, these are Essential Amino Acids and Non-Essential Amino Acids. Non-Essential Amino Acids can be produced by your body to be used (these also can be supplemented too). Essential Amino Acids your body can’t produce, so you have to get your daily intake from the foods and supplements. This is why you need Essential Amino Acids. Your body doesn’t produce them and they can play an integral part of your nutrition plan if you use them wisely. There are also many effects from deficiencies if your Essential Amino Acid intake is low.
This doesn’t just mean overall deficiencies either; it can also mean if only one Essential Amino Acid level is lower than your body needs, it may be detrimental to the utilisation of other aminos. Protein synthesis may be slowed then (as well as other processes), which means you maybe not fully maximising your workouts and recovery.

What foods have high Essential Amino Acids? 

Foods that have the highest amount of Essential Amino Acids are, you guessed right, high protein foods.
If you are looking at getting more Amino Acids into your daily diet and at the same time increasing your Essential Amino Intake through food you should be eating protein rich foods. These can include eggs, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, fish (tuna and salmon etc), nuts, beans and more.
As you can see there are a lot of different foods that can be used to boost your protein intake and take care of your body’s Essential Amino Acid needs at the same time. If you are a vegetarian, vegan or similar you will have to look a bit harder for protein rich foods or resort to having a protein supplement to help fill in the gaps.
Of course for the meat eaters you can top up your daily protein intake with a protein powder too. This is where Amino Acid supplements come into play as well.

What supplements can I use to increase my Amino Acids? 

There is a wide variety of supplements you can use to help increase your protein intake, which increases your Amino Acid intake which leads to a higher Essential Amino Acid intake too. But as we are talking about Essential Amino Acids we can give you some options that we generally stock.
These are Horleys AminoXL, Musashi Essential Aminos and the Gen-Tec Essential Amino Acids. All of them have a different formula and also different flavours too.

Horleys AminoXL

This Amino Acid supplement by Horleys contains all of the nine Essential Amino Acids which include the BCAAs L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. As well as these Amino Acids you also get extra ingredients to help you reach your goals. These are L-Gutamine, Citrulline Malate, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate and Bioprine.
There are also three flavours to choose from. So you can mix it up and sip on it through the day to keep a constant supply of nutrients heading into where your body needs it most. This means that AminoXL by Horleys is a great all round Amino Acid Supplement that takes care of your Essential Amino Acid needs throughout the day in one easy to drink solution.

Musashi Essential Aminos 

The Musashi Essential Amino Acid formula contains 8 of the 9 Essential Amino Acids and also has L-Arginine added too. This formula incorporates the BCAA L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine as well. Essential Aminos only has one flavour option for you which is Raspberry.
So this is a simple formula to boost your Essential Amino intake that can be used throughout the day, also before and after exercise.

Gen-Tec Essential Amino Acids

Last on our specific Essential Amino Acids list is this supplement from Gen-Tec. Gen-Tec’s Essential Amino Acids covers all of the bases in regards to Essential Amino Acids, Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and also Conditionally Essential Amino Acids. Conditionally Essential Amino Acids are considered to be more likely needed for people who are doing intense physical exercise. There are Amino Acids in this formula that sit in all three of the above categories and many that sit in two of them. A major difference between the Gen-Tec offering and the others above is there is no flavouring or binders in the formula. It is just a pure amino acid supplement.
This is great because you can now have a many options when using it. With it being a straight powder there aren’t any carbohydrates, sodium, sugars and high calories to worry about.

Where can I get Essential Amino Acids?

That wraps up our bit of education on Essential Amino Acids. We hope we answered you question “What is an Essential Amino Acid?” and also gave you a few options for food and also supplements when you are looking to increase you Essential Amino Acid intake. They certainly are important. All three of the above supplements are available here at Sporty’s Health, either online or if you come down to see us in-store. If you want to have a look at more information of each here is a link for you, Show me the Aminos!”.

Keep an eye out for the specials on these too.