Protein-forming amino acids regulate immunity, growth, neurological development, reproduction, recovery from illness and injury and a host of other life-sustaining functions. *
What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids in a chain form the basic structure of proteins. They contain carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. It is the presence of nitrogen that makes proteins different from carbohydrates and fats. The order in which the amino acids join and exactly which amino acids are present form the differences between various proteins.
Essential and Non-Essential
The human body requires approximately 22 amino acids for the synthesis of its proteins. Nine are essential, which means they cannot be manufactured by the body and therefore must be supplied by the diet or by supplementation; the rest are non-essential, meaning they can be manufactured by the body (given proper nutrition!).
The classification of an amino acid as essential or nonessential does not reflect its importance, however, because all amino acids are necessary for health. Instead, this classification system simply shows whether the body is capable of manufacturing a particular amino acid. The key here is whether the ingredients to manufacture them are available.*
Who Needs Supplementation?
We all need amino acids. People with less-than-ideal nutrition, those on diets (especially low protein diets), some vegetarians, body builders, and people consuming an inadequate number of calories for any reason may not be getting sufficient amino acids. To handle this situation, the body breaks down protein found in muscle tissue and uses those amino acids to meet the needs of more important organs.*
If your body must break down muscle tissue to provide amino acids to more important organs, then despite increasing exercise, you will simply not build more muscle mass.*