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Amino Acids


Amino Acids are the foundation of all protein. Amino acids are composed from the following elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, some amino acid structures also contain sulphur, phosphorus and iron. The main difference between a protein and a carbohydrate molecule is the presence of nitrogen within the protein molecule, carbohydrates contain only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

All protein and carbohydrates are formed by the plant kingdom. Proteins (amino acids) are developed by the following process: certain microbes (soil living bacteria) absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere, converting it into a form that plants can use. All amino acids require nitrogen for their development. The atmosphere is composed of 80% nitrogen. In combination with the energy from the sun, water and atmosphere, plants have the ability to transform those elements from the soil into all forms of human food: amino acids, glucose, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins.

All animals must rely on plant life for their nutrition. When food is obtained directly from plants, it is termed primary produce and food that is obtained from animal origin is termed secondary produce as the animal converts those plant elements into a concentrated store of nutrients, mainly proteins (amino acids) and lipids (fats and oils). The carbohydrate food group is obtained directly from plant source: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, they contain all three main food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. Some plants such as grains and legumes store good amounts of both amino acids and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables store mainly carbohydrates. All foods contain amino acids and carbohydrates, they are

ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS are those required .4 for the maintenance of human life and they must be supplied with the diet. For adults, there are eight essential amino acids, children need 10 amino acids to be supplied with their diet. All the essential amino acids are obtainable from the following food groups: whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, cheese, dairy products, meat, poultry and fish. On the following pages there is a list of all the essential amino acids and their associated bodily functions. Apart from the essential amino acids, there are another 14 amino acids and these can be prepared by the body when all the eight essential amino acids are supplied with the diet. All concentrated protein foods will supply both the essential amino acids and a fair range of the other 14 amino acids.

The following is a list of all the essential amino acids: ISOLEUCINE, LEUCINE, LYSINE, METHIONINE, PHENYLALANINE, THREONINE, TRYPTOPHAN and VALINE. For infants, the amino acids Histidine and Arginine are also essential.

The other non-essential amino acids are manufactured by the body, when the essential amino acids are obtained from the diet. The nonessential amino acids are: Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Proline, Alanine, Serine, Tyrosine, Cysteine, Asparagine, Glutamine, Hydroxyproline and Citrulline.