Essential amino acids

Essential amino acids are those that a body or organism needs but cannot build up itself. In humans, there are eight essential amino acids. These should be taken in regularly through the diet. It is also important to take in a balanced amino acid profile, as a surplus does not compensate for other deficiencies. According to WHO, there are the following recommended consumption levels.

Amino acidAmount of food in mg
per kg body weight per day
Methionine + Cysteine15
Phenylalanine + Tyrosine25

Arginine and histidine only need to be taken in during certain phases of life, and are therefore considered semi-essential. These include pregnancy, injury, growth, or exceptional stress from training or competition in competitive sports.

Metabolic diseases can lead to the fact that other amino acids become essential, because their conversion in the body does not happen or only to a limited extent.

EAA (Essential Amino Acids) are currently increasingly available as dietary supplements for strength and endurance athletes. Different studies support the thesis that the supply of a balanced amino acid profile (through all essential amino acids) promotes muscle protein synthesis better than the isolated use of BCAA. Basically, however, it can be said that only an overall balanced and protein-rich diet is the key to optimal muscle protein synthesis and thus athletic performance.

Valine, isoleucine and leucine form a subgroup within the essential amino acids – the branched-chain amino acids.

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