Amino acids are organic compounds made from an amine group and a carboxylic acid group. Amino acid* is the smallest unit and component of proteins. Proteins form tissues and organs in human bodies. Enzymes are also made of proteins. Proteins are the second most abundant organic component next to water, which accounts for around 20% of human bodies. In addition to acting as a protein component, amino acids also function in biosynthesis inside the body themselves.
Twenty types of amino acids are incorporated into proteins inside the human body. These are divided into essential amino acids, which cannot be synthesized inside the body, and non-essential amino acids. Although “essential” or “non-essential” depends on age and body conditions, essential amino acids must be taken through food.
- Essential amino acids
- BCAAs (L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Valine), L-Histidine, L-Lysine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Threonine and L-Tryptophan
- Non-Essential amino acids
- L-Asparagine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Alanine, L-Arginine, L-Cysteine, L-Glutamine, L-Glutamic Acid, Glycine, L-Proline, L-Serine and L-Tyrosine.
Apart from the twenty mentioned above, there are different types of amino acids such as ones that are modified after protein synthesis (post-translational modified amino acids), and non-proteinogenic amino acids (free amino acids).
Amino Acids are not only used for their nutritional value, but also in a wide range of areas including food production, pharmaceutical ingredients, chemical ingredients and fertilizers.
* This content refers to L–amino acids except for glycine.