Decoding Amino Acids

Decoding Amino Acids

Buzzing words in nutrition... Amino acids !!! All about it... It's right HERE !!! 😍😍

What are Amino Acids?

The building blocks of Proteins are Amino Acids. The amino acids are made up of central carbon atom, amine (-NH2) and carboxyl (-COOH) functional groups, along with a side chain (R group) specific to each amino acid. There are 20 main amino acids involved in building up proteins.

Why are Amino Acids Important?

Amino acids are important for the production of proteins, hormones and neurotransmitters.

Amino acids are classified as essential and non-essential based on the ability of the human body to produce it.

The essential amino acids are those amino acids that cannot be produced by the body. Hence it must be supplemented in diet.

The Essential Amino Acids and their importance:

Histidine [3]

  • Aids Growth and Tissue repair
  • Plays role in immunity, gastric functions and Blood cell manufacture
  • Its Deficiency can cause poor hearing.

Isoleucine [4]

  • Regulating blood sugar and energy levels
  • Assisting wound healing
  • Stimulates immune function
  • Necessary for hemoglobin formation

Leucine [5]

  • Regulates blood-sugar levels
  • Involved in growth and repair of muscle and bone tissue
  • Aids growth hormone production and wound healing.
  • Prevents breakdown of muscle proteins after severe stress and trauma.
  • May be beneficial for individuals with phenylketonuria disorder.

Lysine [6]

  • Ensures adequate absorption of calcium
  • Helps form collagen
  • Aids in the production of antibodies, hormones & enzymes.
  • May be effective against herpes.
  • Deficiency may result in tiredness, inability to concentrate, irritability, bloodshot eyes, retarded growth, hair loss, anemia & reproductive problems.

Methionine [7]

  • A sulphur-containing amino acid, it improves skin tone, hair, and strengthens nails.
  • Involved in many detoxifying processes
  • This sulphur protects cells from pollutants and slows cell aging
  • It’s essential for absorption of minerals like selenium and zinc.
  • It aids removal of harmful heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, from body
  • Prevents excess fat buildup in the liver.

Phenylalanine [8]

  • Involved in production of dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters.
  • Keeps you awake and alert
  • Antidepressant
  • Painkiller
  • Helps improve memory.

Threonine [9]

  • Helps to maintain the proper protein balance in the body
  • Important for the formation of collagen, elastin, and tooth enamel
  • Important amino acid for the nervous system
  • Plays an important role in fat metabolism and prevents fat buildup in the liver.
  • Useful with intestinal disorders and aids digestion
  • Provides relief from anxiety and mild depression.

Tryptophan [10]

  • It is critical for the production of the body's proteins, enzymes and muscle tissue.
  • It aids in production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter essential in regulating appetite, sleep, mood, and pain.
  • It is a natural sedative
  • It also appears to help the immune system
  • It appears to help in reducing the risk of heart attacks.

Valine [11]

  • Enhance energy, increase endurance, and aid in muscle tissue recovery and repair.
  • Lowers elevated blood sugar levels
  • Increases growth hormone production.
  • Maintains mental vigor, muscle coordination, and emotional calm.

All in whole these amino acids are very important for repair of cells and tissue, build up immunity, keep you muscular and happy... and... reduce the chances of heart attacks and nervous breakdowns !!!

Complete Proteins

Complete Proteins are food sources that contain all essential amino acids in adequate quantities for human body. Eggs, meat, dairy foods, soy which are known for their rich source of protein and also for the presence of all the essential amino acids in adequate quantities are therefore termed as complete protein. [12]

Plant based Sources of Protein

Its known fact that the non-plant based sources is rich in proteins, but it’s not necessary that human beings need all the essential amino acids in every bite of food consumed... The amino acids quantity can be met by consuming combinations of variety of plant based foods.

Plant based sources like soy, nuts and seeds, cereals, beans, peas, vegetables are all rich in protein.

Soy is proved to be rich source of protein with adequate amount of essential amino acids. It’s termed as complete protein.

The other sources are incomplete sources of protein as one or more essential amino acids are not in adequate quantities and make the protein imbalanced.

Thus, when the combinations of two or more of incomplete proteins are consumed, it compensates each other’s deficiencies in amino acids. These are termed as Complementary proteins. For example, the combination of grains like rice, wheat which are low in the amino acid lysine, and beans and legumes like peanuts which are low in the amino acid methionine, together they form complete protein. [12]

Foods like Peanut-butter Sandwich, rice and dals, Millets like ragi, jowar which are also gluten-free, pseudocereals like Amaranth, Quinoa, and Vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes, artichokes, potatoes, spinach, asparagus and Brussels sprouts, Fruits like guava, berries, nectarines and bananas are rich sources of amino acids [13] and combinations of these can serve to be complete proteins.

Nuts and seeds are also good sources of amino acids and proteins. 1 tbsp of Jus’ Amazin Seed Butter in a normal bowl of oats will increase the protein content by more than 50% !!!. 1 tbsp of Jus’ Amazin Almond Butter Sweet ‘N’ Salt Crunchy which is loaded with more than 2g protein is a great natural food additive in recipes to make your food protein rich. Also check out the Vegan dry fruit laddoo recipe for protein loaded healthy snack.

Few fruits contain all essential amino acids and Avocado is one such fruit [14]. For refreshing, detoxification, loaded with fiber recipe with avocado inclusion, have a look at Cucumber and leek soup recipe. Also have a look at the easy to make, inexpensive recipe of Vegan Cream of Tomato soup which is tasty, delicious and will promise you with complete protein package!!!

For more protein rich food sources do have a look at the Nutritious, Delicious and 100% Natural range of Jus’ Amazin Nut and Seed butters, Roasted nuts snacks and other Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free products !!!


  1. Lehninger, “Principles of Biochemistry”, 4th ed, 2004, pp 75
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Histidine, CID=6274, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. l-Isoleucine, CID=6306, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Leucine, CID=6106, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Lysine, CID=5962, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Methionine, CID=6137, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Phenylalanine, CID=6140, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. L-Threonine, CID=6288, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Tryptophan, CID=6305, (accessed on May 21, 2019)
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Valine, CID=6287, (accessed on May 21, 2019)

Author: Manisha Byakodi

Disclaimer: The content represented is based on the references stated above. Any changes in the diet should be considered after consulting Nutrition expert or Doctor.


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