Essential Amino Acids - What's Important?

The term "Essential Amino Acids" does not mean they are more essential than the rest of the amino acids. It just means that they are not produced by the body. It is "essential" that they are in your foods. There were 8 known essential amino acids for a long time and then after more research, 2 more were added to the list.

One was "arginine" because it is not created in a child's body. The other comes from the discovery that "histidine" may not be created in children or adult bodies.

What Are They and What Do They Do?

Arginine - essential of children but most adult bodies are able create it. It has to do with the following:

  • immune system
  • growing period in life
  • wound healing
  • fat metabolism
  • liver regeneration
Good food sources: hemp protein, nuts and seeds, meats, fish and poultry

Leucine - found in muscle and fatty tissue. Affects the following:

  • wound healing
  • blood sugar-level lowering
  • broken bone regeneration
Good food sources: hemp protein, dairy products, meat, poultry, spirulina.

Lysine - is a basic which means it's necessary for building all protein in the body. The following will give you a better idea of what this one does:

  • helps overcome virus infections
  • important for brain function
  • increases energy production
  • facilitates bone growth
  • important in creating collagen
  • helps calcium utilization
  • facilitates hormone production
  • enables production of antibodies and enzymes
  • enables tissue repair
Good food sources: hemp protein, dairy products, fish, meat, peanuts.

Histidine - positive affect on digestion and more:

  • assists in reducing high blood pressure
  • assists in creating blood cells
  • helps to reduce allergies
  • reduces effects of radiation
  • helps to detoxify heavy metals
  • important role in helping to protect nerve cells
Good food Sources: hemp protein, cheese, fish, meat, poultry, peanuts.

Isoleucine - structural protein balance depends on it's attachment to leucine and valine.

  • development of muscle tissue
  • essential for hemoglobin formation
Good food sources: hemp protein, fish, nuts, poultry, seeds, spirulina.

Methionine - is an important amino acid related to many activites of the body:

  • helps in detoxifying metals and chemicals in the body
  • related to antioxidant activities
  • helps to remove cholesterol deposits
  • assists liver function by preventing fat to accumulate in it
  • skin, hair and nails support
  • helps to reduce allergic reactions
Good food sources: hemp protein, lentils, sesame seeds, fish, meat, poultry, milk, onions, garlic.

Phenylalanine - assists good brain function.

  • mental alertness
  • helps to control hunger
  • assists in reducing pain
  • enhances ability to retain information
  • positive effect on alleviating depression
  • influences neutrotransmitter activity
Good food sources: hemp seeds, dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, peanuts.

Threonine - important in helping to maintain sound protein balance in the tissues

  • protects liver from fat build-up
  • builds collagen
  • builds tooth enamal
Good food sources: dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, spirulina.

Tryptophan - important in production of B vitamins in the body and much more:

  • helps in relaxing and sound sleep
  • reduces stress
  • helps to lower blood pressure
  • reduces fats and cholesterol in the blood
  • assists in muscle building
  • positive brain function
Good food sources: chia seed, eggs, milk, turkey, spirulina, yogurt, bananas.

Valine - largly found in muscle.

  • assists in tissue repair
  • easily used as energy in muscles
Good food sources: hemp protein, dairy products, meat, grains, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, spirulina.

What is the L or the D For?

You may notice that an L or a D is sometimes added to the names of essential amino acids, i.e., L-Lysine, L-Tryptophan; or D-Lysine, D-Tryptophan.

L = levo meaning left handed
D = dextro meaning right handed
This has to do with the rotation of the molecules. Evidently when the essential amino acids are created synthetically, their molecules spin in the oposite direction of the amino acids found in nature.

The D form is not a natural form of the amino acid. The L form is only found in nature and is what the body recognizes and can readily utilize.

This should help if you come across this on the Internet or on labels.

Supplementation - Caution

The essential amino acids are tricky. They need to be in balance to be utilized and can throw the body way out of balance when taking supplemental amino acids. It takes study and constant testing to ensure you get the correct balance.

Even with foods, the body can have a time adjusting. The foods you eat need to be grown with proper thought to the correct balance of essential amino acids according to nature.

The highest quality protein foods are those grown without chemicals and pesticides. There are excellent vegetable proteins grown properly. In terms of animal foods, amino acids will be way out of balance unless the animals are allowed to eat their natural diet.

When you get the proteins in balance, you'll begin to see a world of difference in your health. Proteins are in every part of your body - in every cell. This means teeth, bones, blood, liver, kidneys, heart, nerves - you name it. Amino acids are the building blocks and the body uses them in a certain way.

How Far Out of Balance Can You Get?

Take a look at our health indicators around the world. In the United States, we are having a health crisis.

"Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slip dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illness, and obesity are at an all-time high."

Reference: Fatal Harvest The Trajedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell, Editor

My point here is this. It's not always necessary to go to essential amino acids in pill form to handle deficiencies. Look for the real foods that work and hang on to them for your good health.


  • Eco-Farm by Charles Walters
  • Fatal Harvest The Trajedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell, Editor
  • Thriving in a Toxic World by Dr. William R. Kellas, Ph.D. and Andrea S. Sworking, N.D.
  • Sup-nature and Super-nature by Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer

Please feel free to email me if you have questions or comments. I am always happy to respond.

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