AA in biology stands for Amino Acids. “Amino Acids are the chemical compounds that combine to produce proteins; hence, they are known as the building blocks of proteins.
These biomolecules are engaged in various biological and chemical processes in the human body and are essential for human growth and development. There are approximately 300 amino acids found in nature.”
Amino acids are chemical molecules that contain basic amino groups (-NH2) and carboxyl groups (-COOH). Amino acids are the components present in proteins.
Peptides and proteins are both composed of long sequences of amino acids. There are twenty amino acids, all of which are involved in the synthesis of proteins.
Essential And Non-Essential Amino Acids
A few of the twenty amino acids our body can synthesize are called non-essential amino acids. Among these are alanine, asparagine, arginine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, cysteine, glutamine, proline, glycine, serine, and tyrosine.
In addition, the body cannot produce nine other necessary amino acids. Essential amino acids include isoleucine, histidine, lysine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, methionine, threonine, and valine.
Sources Of Amino Acids
Amino acids serve a crucial role in performing several biological and chemical tasks in various sections of our body, including tissue creation and repair, the formation and activity of enzymes, food digestion, and the transport of molecules, among others.
The body can synthesize only a few amino acids, and the remaining amino acids, known as essential amino acids, must be consumed daily through protein-rich diets.
Plant-based foods include broccoli, beans, beetroots, pumpkin, cabbage, almonds, dry fruits, flax seeds, oats, peas, onions, cucumber, leafy green vegetables, onions, soybeans, whole grain, peanuts, legumes, lentils, etc. are high in amino acids.
Apples, bananas, blackberries, figs, grapes, melons, orange, papaya, pineapple, and pomegranates are fruits rich in amino acids. Other animal products include dairy, eggs, shellfish, poultry, beef, and pork.
Functions Of Amino Acids
Functional Implications of Essential Amino Acids
- Phenylalanine is beneficial for keeping a healthy neurological system and enhancing memory.
- Valine has an essential role in increasing muscular growth.
- Threonine aids in the promotion of immune system functioning.
- Tryptophan is necessary for the synthesis of vitamin B3 and serotonin hormones. This serotonin hormone is essential for hunger maintenance, sleep regulation, and mood enhancement.
- Isoleucine is essential for synthesizing hemoglobin, stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin, and carrying oxygen from the lungs to various body regions.
- Methionine is utilized in the treatment of kidney stones, the maintenance of healthy skin, and the suppression of harmful bacterial invasion.
- Leucine promotes protein synthesis and the release of growth hormones.
- Lysine is essential for synthesizing antibodies, hormones, and enzymes and forming and fixing calcium in bones.
- Histidine is involved in numerous enzymatic reactions, including synthesizing red and white blood cells (erythrocytes) (leukocytes).
Non-Essential Amino Acid Functions
- Alanine removes toxins from the body and aids in synthesizing glucose and other amino acids.
- Cysteine functions as an antioxidant and gives our body resistance, which is essential for producing collagen. It affects the skin’s texture and suppleness.
- Glutamine is required to synthesize nucleic acids – DNA and RNA – and promotes healthy brain function.
- Glycine is essential for sustaining healthy cell growth and function, as well as for the healing of wounds. It has neurotransmitter properties.
- As a neurotransmitter, glutamic acid is primarily involved in the development and function of the human brain.
- Arginine promotes the synthesis of proteins and hormones, kidney cleansing, wound healing, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
- Tyrosine is essential for synthesizing the thyroid hormones -T3 and T4, as well as a class of neurotransmitters and melanin, pigments in the eyes, hair, and skin.
- Serine promotes muscle growth and aids in immune system protein synthesis.
- Asparagine is primarily responsible for the transfer of nitrogen into our cells, the production of purines and pyrimidine for the synthesis of DNA, the growth of the nervous system, and the enhancement of our physical endurance.
- Aspartic acid plays a crucial role in metabolism and the production of other amino acids.
- Proline is primarily involved in the healing of tissues, the creation of collagen, the prevention of atherosclerosis, and the regeneration of new skin.
Deficiency Of Amino Acids
As stated previously, amino acids are the building elements of proteins, which play a crucial part in virtually all life activities.
Therefore, consuming all nine essential amino acids in our daily diet is crucial to maintaining appropriate physiological functions. Deficiency in amino acids can result in a variety of pathological conditions, including:
- Reduced Appetite.
- Deposits of fat in the liver.
- Skin and hair-related difficulties.
- Symptoms include headache, weakness, irritation, and weariness.
History Of Amino Acids
In the early 1800s, a few amino acids were found. In 1806, French chemists Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin and Pierre Jean Robiquet extracted a chemical from asparagus, which they termed asparagine. This compound was the first amino acid to be found.
Cystine was found in 1810, but its monomer, cysteine, was not identified until 1884. In 1820, glycine and leucine were found.
William Cumming Rose discovered threonine, the last of the 20 common amino acids, in 1935. He also defined the essential amino acids and established the minimal daily requirements for all amino acids for healthy growth.
Wurtz identified the unity of the chemical category in 1865, although he did not give it a specific name.
The name “amino acid” originally appeared in English in 1898, while the German term Aminosaure was used earlier. After enzymatic digestion or acid hydrolysis, proteins are discovered to yield amino acids.
Emil Fischer and Franz Hofmeister independently proposed in 1902 that proteins are formed from a large number of amino acids through the formation of bonds between the amino group of one amino acid and the carboxyl group of another amino acid, resulting in a linear structure that Fischer termed “peptide.”
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