Of the 20 amino acids, nine are classified as essential. Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot produce on its own; they must be acquired through food, especially protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and eggs, and of course through amino acid supplements. Essential amino acids support the body in several essential ways:
Lysine plays a role in the secretion of growth hormone, which promotes repair and recovery of muscles. It is also an essential component of structural proteins like collagen and elastin, which are important for building strong connective tissue.
Methionine helps the body process and eliminate fat, promotes cardiovascular health, and supports liver function to help the body eliminate toxins.
Phenylalanine has a painkiller and antidepressant effect and is necessary for the synthesis of norepinephrine and dopamine. It also stimulates the release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, which are essential for the functioning of the nervous system.
Threonine supports fat metabolism and immune function. Like lysine, it is also a crucial component of structural proteins and connective tissue.
Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which regulates sleep, appetite and mood. It also has painkilling properties and can increase pain tolerance during training or competitions.
Leucine is essential for protein synthesis, regulation of blood sugar and the production of growth hormones.
Isoleucine helps prevent muscle breakdown during exercise, which could speed recovery. It is also important for immune function, hemoglobin production and energy regulation.
Valine helps stimulate muscle regeneration and participates in energy production.
Histidine is a precursor to histamine, which can help you fight off free cell-damaging free radicals that you make during exercise. It is also a precursor to carnosine, which helps transform lactic acid into usable fuel and reduce pain. The "essential" status of histidine is questionable because it can be easily produced in the presence of other essential amino acids.