Rather, they are the molecular units that comprise protein. They are, quite simply, the very building blocks of protein.
Amino acids are organic compounds that contain two groups of molecules: amino (-NH2) and carboxyl (-COOH). There are a total of 19 amino acids in the human diet, of which 11 are non-essential, and the remaining 8 are essential. It is this critically important fact that there are 2 kinds of amino acids — that should be well understood and acted upon by eaters everywhere.
If the term amino acid does not readily suggest the link to protein, the terms non-essential amino acids and essential amino acids can be sources of even greater confusion.
The nutritional world is fond of the word essential, and uses it often to describe something that is important, or critical, or irreplaceable. For example, a nutritionist may rationally inform her patient that eating 50 grams of protein per day is essential; and by this she means very important.
This same application of the term does now, however, flow to the essential and non essential amino acid vocabulary.
Non-essential amino acids are those that the body is able to synthesize itself.
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