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Your body needs essential amino acids in order to function. These tiny components of proteins are responsible for everything from helping your immune system create antibodies to building muscle and even regulating the neurotransmitters in your brain. Your body can’t make anything on the essential amino acids list below on its own, and that’s why you must get yours from your diet or supplements.
Amino acids are classified into four major groups known as essential, nonessential, branched-chain, and conditional. Some of the amino acids fit into more than one of these groups, as well. Your body can make nonessential amino acids by breaking down the proteins you consume. Essential amino acids are those that your body cannot make on its own, and three of those are known as branched-chain amino acids. Finally, conditional amino acids are those that your body can usually make on its own, but may struggle to make enough of when your body experiences illness, stress, or trauma. Those on the essential amino acids list are easy to obtain through your diet and through supplements, however.
There are nine essential amino acids, and they each perform a variety of functions within the body.
Although this essential amino acids list is vital to many of your bodily functions and systems, your body can’t make them by breaking down other proteins. You’ll need to get them from your diet or through nutritional supplements, and most fitness enthusiasts choose both to ensure that they cover the full spectrum of amino acids.