What are the ‘essential amino acids’ in NGX Protein and why are they important?
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. Our body requires amino acids to build and repair muscle, as well as for various other biological functions. There are 20 amino acids commonly found in protein. But what are the ‘essential’ amino acids (EAAs) that we frequently refer to in NGX Protein and why are they important?
What Are Essential Amino Acids?
Essential amino acids are a sub-group of the 20 amino acids commonly found in protein. There are nine essential amino acids that, crucially, the body cannot produce on its own. They therefore must be obtained through the diet and from sources such as pea protein powder and brown rice protein isolate powder – the key components of NGX Protein (Elango et al., 2010). These amino acids are:
- Isoleucine (BCAA)
- Leucine (BCAA)
- Valine (BCAA)
Included within the group of amino acids are three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): Isoleucine, leucine and valine. They are unique among the essential amino acids because they are metabolised primarily in muscle tissue, rather than in the liver.
BCAAs are important for muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which the body builds new muscle tissue (Shimomura et al., 2004). Find out more about BCAAs here.
Why Are Essential Amino Acids Important?
Essential amino acids are important because they play a critical role in many biological processes in the body. They are required for the synthesis of proteins, which are necessary for building and repairing muscle tissue, producing enzymes and hormones, and other important functions.
Additionally, essential amino acids play a vital role in maintaining a healthy immune system. They are also required for the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that help regulate mood, behaviour, and cognitive function.
Research has shown that consuming adequate amounts of essential amino acids can help support muscle growth and repair, improve exercise performance, and aid in weight management. For example, a study conducted by Tipton et al. (2016) found that consuming essential amino acids before and after exercise can help stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is critical for muscle growth and repair.
Essential amino acids are a group of nine amino acids that are required by the body but cannot be produced by the body. They play a critical role in many biological processes in the body, including the synthesis of proteins, maintenance of a healthy immune system, and production of neurotransmitters. These EAAs are vital for muscle growth, repair and exercise performance.
They also play a key role in supporting weight loss and longevity. Pea protein powder and brown rice protein isolate powder are sustainable protein sources rich in EAAs, which is why we use them in NGX Protein and personalised BodyFuel, BodyFuel Pro and PowerPack nutrition products.
Elango, R., Ball, R. O., & Pencharz, P. B. (2010). Recent advances in determining protein and amino acid requirements in humans. British Journal of Nutrition, 108(S2), S22-S30.
Shimomura, Y., Murakami, T., Nakai, N., Nagasaki, M., & Harris, R. A. (2004). Exercise promotes BCAA catabolism: effects of BCAA supplementation on skeletal muscle during exercise. The Journal of Nutrition, 134(6 Suppl), 1583S-1587S.
Tipton, K. D., Ferrando, A. A., Phillips, S. M., Doyle, D. Jr., & Wolfe, R. R. (2016). Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 276(4), E628-E634.