When it comes to amino acids, the essential representatives of this group are often in the foreground. Have you ever asked yourself how many non-essential amino acids there are and what their importance is? Here you can learn more about this topic.
Basic information about non-essential amino acids
A distinction is made between essential and non-essential amino acids in the proteinogenic amino acids. For simplification and better understanding, the group of non-essential amino acids is broadly defined and divided into 8 essential representatives and 12 others.
The term “proteinogenic” describes that these building blocks form the basis of the body’s own proteins and peptides.
The group comprising a total of 20 representatives is particularly relevant for body tissue and other functional areas, that they are even found in the human genome. Initially, it does not matter whether the amino acid is supplied with food or is one we have formed ourselves.
Whether essential or non-essential, all proteinogenic building blocks are indispensable for our health.
The different amino acids
The 8 essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, lysine and methionine, which you will also find in our product amino4u, must be taken in with food. In contrast, our organism forms
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
- and Proline
at least partially themselves.
The opinions of experts differ as to whether only alanine, aspartic acid, glutamine and serine belong to this group or also asparagine, glycine and proline.
This different classification has something to do with different views on the evaluation of the proteinogenic building blocks themselves.
Depending on how the “formation of protein building blocks” is defined, the circle of corresponding building blocks is narrower or wider.
The human body forms many of the building blocks predominantly by itself, but can also absorb them.
Some of these protein building blocks that are not defined as essential, such as glutamine, are bound in other proteins but are also supplied to a large extent with food. Interestingly, glutamine is the most freely available protein building block in the body.
In addition to these two forms, a 3rd group is also distinguished. These partially self-made building blocks – which usually include arginine and histidine – can be synthesized by the organism itself in various phases of life, but must be supplied in other phases of life.
Functions, tasks and supply
Perhaps you understand the addition “essential” as many people do with regard to the importance of essential and non-essential protein building blocks for our health.
It is often assumed that the protein building blocks to be taken in from outside are more important and have more important functions than the other building blocks. This assessment hardly does justice to the functions and areas of responsibility of non-essential protein building blocks. They also fulfil vital functions in our body.
Each individual amino acid of the proteinogenic substance group plays its own role. Therefore, it is also important to ensure that the levels of the protein building blocks produced by the organism itself are correct. This can be even more difficult in this area than with the essential building blocks. This is because there must be other substances available – usually other amino acids and vitamins from the vitamin B family – from which building blocks such as alanine or tyrosine can be formed.
Synthesis using the example of tyrosine
Tyrosine is among other things the starting substance of messenger substances and neurotransmitters such as DOPA, dopamine and others. The amino acid is also essential for the formation of the thyroid hormone thyroxine.
The amino acid itself is formed from phenylalanine. This example shows very clearly how components to be supplied with food are linked to the non-essential ones.
Since the need for protein and also for protein building blocks varies from person to person and in different life situations, deficiencies can occur in all proteinogenic protein building blocks. Factors such as age, stress and diseases are just as relevant here as certain forms of nutrition such as veganism or vegetarianism.
In general, a possibly increased supply of the building blocks considered essential also lays the foundation for the supply of all other protein building blocks.
However, it can be useful to add a single building block such as arginine or tyrosine in order to support certain functional areas in a targeted manner. For example, arginine should be able to positively influence blood pressure and vascular tension. People with high blood pressure could benefit from this.
Proteinogenic amino acids are the basis for our health. Even non-essential protein building blocks must be available in sufficient quantities so that all functions and protein formation work properly. Other protein building blocks and other micronutrients must be available for their synthesis.