Amino acids function as the building blocks of proteins. Chemically, amino acids are organic compounds containing an amino (NH2) group and a carboxyl (COOH) group. Amino acids are classified as essential, nonessential and conditionally essential. If body synthesis is inadequate to meet metabolic need, an amino acid is classified as essential and must be supplied as part of the diet. Essential amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, valine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, lysine, histidine and possibly arginine. Nonessential amino acids can be synthesized by the body in adequate amounts, and include alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline and serine. Conditionally essential amino acids become essential under certain clinical conditions
Reprinted from the International Food Information Council Foundation, (2009)
Amino Acids - The building blocks of proteins. There are essential amino acids, which need to be obtained in the diet, and non-essential amino acids, which can be produced within the body.