Did you know that amino acid is termed as the most important and integral part of the human body? That’s true, indeed! It is a precursor of major key components, such as proteins and neurotransmitters. As amino acid is a building block of protein and can be regarded as the amino energy for being one of the most important sources of energy for the human body.
Amino acid, which can also be called alpha-amino carboxylic acid, is a combination of an amino group with carboxylic acid (NH2-COOH) and an important organic ‘R’ group. The minimum levels of the molecule, is 56 grams in men and 46 grams in women. They key to having the right levels of protein in the body is to each food that are rich in proteins and other necessary nutrients. Improper diet has the exact opposite effects, and takes a toll on the health of the body. The core elements of each amino acid remain constant, containing hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Earlier, it was believed that amino acids are only functional for the formation and regeneration of proteins. However, there are some key fundamental functions associated with them. Let’s have a detailed look at those, as follows.
Building Blocks for Protein Synthesis: Protein synthesis is commonly defined as a process in which the cells are designed to develop and produce proteins. One of the vital functions of amino acid is to develop proteins for the body. Protein itself is a combination of a chain or a combination of multiple linear chains of amino acids. Out of multiple types of amino acids, protein synthesis is only possible if the specific type of amino acid is present at the right place. The final shape of the protein is dependent on the amino acid that controls its functions.
Production of Neurotransmitters: The most common and important neurotransmitters of the body are tyrosine and tryptophan that are produced with the help of amino acids. According to a report, protein-rich diet plans are highly effective in the production of tyrosine that ultimately helps the body to maintain good levels of amino acid, and provides greater energy levels. An excessive amount of tryptophan, however, is found to induce sleep.
Overcoming Cardiac Diseases: A common amino acid, arginine is found to produce nitric oxide in the body. This nitric oxide plays the role of antagonist for hypertension through causing muscle relaxation. Other than relieving hypertension, nitric oxide is also proven to help in reducing the symptoms of coronary heart disease, such as angina. Amino acids are present to inhibit and restrict the development and growth of the clot or plaque in the arteries that eventually helps to subside the effects and symptoms of atherosclerosis. It is pertinent to mention here that one of the most common diseases found in obese patients is atherosclerosis.
Production of Polypeptides: Medical researchers claim that amino acids are bound to form chains, which helps the human body in performing different functions. One of the functions of amino acid is to form a chain or a linkage that can combine to form a peptide bond to complete the development process and perform its function. There are various examples of peptides such as vasopressin, oxytocin and GSH [glutathione].
Elimination of Nitrogen: One of the core functions in the urea cycle, formation of glutamate, is performed through the transformation and conversion of specific amino acids. The glutamate then converts to aspartate, core function of which is to enter the urea cycle and increase the production of urea that is removed from the body through urination. In medical terms, urea cycle is known as the ornithine cycle. It can be defined as the metabolic response of the body wherein excess nitrogen is excreted.
Development of Cell Membrane: Glycine, Serine, and Alanine are the most important amino acids when it comes to the development, regeneration or maintenance of the cell membranes. Even though ethanolamine plays an important role in the regeneration of cell membranes, by the aforementioned three amino acids have a significant impact on the cell membrane.
Formation of Bone Collagen: Collagen is the most recurrent composition arranged to form a protein for the body, and is commonly found as the building blocks of muscle, bones and tendons. Amino acids, namely glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline help in the formation of collagen. Any of the three amino acids can be attached to a chain and function according to the needs of the body. Each chain developed by this combination has specific and precise functions to perform.
Amino Acids at Different pH Levels: By nature, amino acids are found to be amphoteric, which is an indication that they can play the role of acid as well as base at different pH levels. Isoelectric point is the level of pH where amino acids have both positive as well as negative charged groups. When the pH is lower than an isoelectric point, amino acids start acting like a base and receive the protons, accepting the positive charge. Similarly, when the pH level is higher than the isoelectric point, the actions of an amino acid are that of an acid and they start donating protons, thus retaining negative charge.
Amino Acid and Skin Care: When it comes to the functioning of the skin, amino acids play a major and critical role along-with the natural moisturizing factors. If the normal skin cell dies, naturally or due to an injury or necrosis, the proteins in the cells transform into amino acids and then transfer to stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin. Almost half of the natural moisturizing functions of the skin are performed by different amino acids that help in maintaining and regenerating the skin.Conclusion: Amino acids have always been the center of focus in medical research due to their range of functions in the body. Amino acids need to remain in a certain quantity, with certain products working as external sources to maintain their levels if the body cannot produce them on its own. Food supplements that are specifically developed to provide external amino acids have been found to be helpful due to their effectiveness and efficiency. If the levels of amino acids are not present in the required range, the body is unable to perform almost half of its necessary functions. These facts make it clear that amino acids are not only the building blocks of proteins, but they also act as building blocks of the body.