Proteins are made up of simple units known as amino acids. Amino acids absorbed from food are used to synthesize structural proteins, functional proteins, carrier proteins, protein hormones and plasma proteins.
Nutritionally, amino acids are classified into essential and non essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids: The amino acids which cannot be synthesized in the animal body and must be obtained through diet are called essential amino acids. Out of 20 amino acids,10 amino acids are essential and they are methionine, tryptophan, valine, isoleucine, leucine, phenyl alanine, lysine, histidine and arginine.
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This stands for Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Threonine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Valine.
Non Essential amino acids: The amino acids which are synthesized in the body are called non essential amino acids. They are 10 in number and are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, proline, serine, tyrosine and glutamine.
- Histidine and Arginine are essential amino acids for infants but not healthy adults.
- Cysteine and Tyrosine are considered to be semi-essential amino acids. They are required by premature infants and adults who are ill.