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Maintain Life

Amino acids are found in many different foods, for example: meat, milk, eggs, fish,plants, mushrooms, brewer's yeast, cashews, beer, chocolate, potatoes, cola drinks, peanuts, barley, cereals, peas, etc. Amino acids are just as important as vitamins and minerals are. According to The Doctors' Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia (1991), by Sheldon Saul Hendler, M.D., Ph.D., the following can be said about amino acids:

In principle, an amino acid is any compound that contains an amino group and an acidic function. When biologists talk about amino acids, they usually mean the twenty amino acids that are necessary for the synthesis of proteins. Proteins are large molecules that are crucial to life; they are involved in the formation of living structure and they catalyze the chemical reactions necessary for the maintenance of life.

In addition to participating in the synthesis of proteins, amino acids are involved in other important biologic processes such as the formation of the brain neurotransmitters.

The twenty amino acids involved in protein biosynthesis are divided into two broad groups- essential and non-essential. Healthy human adults require dietary intake of eight of these amino acids to maintain good health; phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, lysine and leucine. The remaining twelve - the non-essential amino acids- can be made by the body from other substances. Healthy children require, in addition to the eight amino acids listed above, histidine and arginine. Situations exist in which non-essential amino acids become essential. For example, a physically traumatized adult requires arginine for optimal repair processes to occur.

The twelve non-essential amino acids are; alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine.

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