What Are Amino Acids?

The Amino Acid Count in Collagen | Does It Have All the Ones We Need?

Essential vs nonessential amino acids...can you get them all from a collagen supplement?


Amino acids. We’ve all heard of them, but what exactly do they do? What does “essential” and “nonessential” mean, and what’s the difference between the two?

This article tells you everything you need to know about the amino acids of collagen, including what the difference is, what the benefits are, and how to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of both essential and nonessential amino acids.

Amino acids are what make collagen such a building block in our body. The compounds that make up the body’s 20 amino acids play a critical role in optimizing the many functions of your body.

Without amino acids, your body wouldn’t be able to build and maintain muscle, regulate immune function, or sustain energy.

But, there’s a vast difference between essential and nonessential amino acids...

Essential vs Nonessential Amino Acids: What’s the Difference?

There are a total of 20 amino acids that are needed to make up the proteins in our body. 9 of them are essential—meaning your body can’t produce them and therefore must be obtained through food—and 11 or them of nonessential.

Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Since the body can’t produce these on its own, it’s crucial to get all 9 from your diet. Foods like red meat, eggs, soy protein, and a high-quality grass-fed collagen supplement will do the trick—as each of these are some of the best sources of essential amino acids.

The recommended amount for each is 10-20 mg/kg of body weight in the form of a complete protein like the foods mentioned above.

As you consistently hit your amino acid goals each day, you’ll feel the difference. From hormone regulation to increased muscle strength and endurance to better sleep, amino acids take on many roles in the body.

Nonessential Amino Acids

Don’t worry about having to obtain these from food too—your body has these covered.

Nonessential amino acids include alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, asparagine, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

Each of these is produced from glucose, which means that the carbohydrates we eat are automatically broken down into glucose—a type of sugar that is also the main source of fuel for our cells. And when the body doesn’t need the glucose yet, it stores it in the liver and muscles so that it’s readily available.

But wait! There is one more type of amino acid…

Conditional Amino Acids

Conditional amino acids are relevant only for those who are ill or under a lot of stress.

For instance, in the case that one has a disease like cancer, the body wouldn’t able to meet the necessary demands of arginine—even though it’s classified as a “nonessential” amino acid. This is because many tumors are reliant upon arginine for growth, thus, arginine depletes. So, it’s all the more important to continually revive the supply of all amino acids in order to keep nutrition and physiology up to par.

The 8 conditional amino acids include arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.

Amino Acids in Grass-Fed Collagen

An organic, grass-fed, top-tier collagen supplement has (drum roll please…) 18 of the 20 amino acids.

Just 1 to 2 scoops of this protein-rich supplement and you’ll have most of your amino acid needs covered.

The two missing amino acids are tryptophan and cysteine.

Enjoy your daily dose at any time of day too…

Add a scoop to your morning cup of joe, your post-workout shake, or in your water.

The Bottom Line

So far, nearly 500 amino acids have been discovered in nature, but only 20 of them make up the proteins in the body.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: Don’t try to get all 20 amino acids in at one meal. Spread them out throughout the day so that your body can consistently maintain whole-body homeostasis.

As always, be sure to consult a health care professional before adding anything new to your diet, supplement, or exercise regimen. NativePath and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any diseases. All NativePath material is presented for educational purposes only.

Learn more about NativePath Collagen Peptides here!


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