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What Are The 9 Essential Amino Acids And Why Do I Need Them?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in the body. They are really important and help your body remain healthy and functional. When amino acids are lacking, a whole plethora of health issues can arise ‒ depending on which amino acids are in short supply.

Thankfully, our bodies produce most of these internally ‒ sort of an inbuilt amino acid manufacturing process. However, certain of these amino acids cannot be manufactured by the human body and must be ingested through one’s diet. These are what we call the 9 essential amino acids.

Let’s take a look at what these 9 essential amino acids are, why they’re important and where you can get them.


Histidine is important for the healthy functioning of the kidneys, nervous system, stomach and immune system. Without this amino acid, health problems such as kidney failure, pneumonia and even psychiatric disorders might arise.

Histidine can be found in various meats ‒including red meat, fish and poultry ‒ as well as in dairy.


Isoleucine is critical to the formation of haemoglobin in the body, which carries oxygen throughout the bloodstream. It is also thought to help regulate blood sugar levels. This amino acid is believed to help improve tissue repair and generally assist with healing faster.

It can be found in protein-rich foods, such as meat, beans, tofu, lentils and dairy.


Leucine is believed to assist in healing and also contributes to healthy blood sugar levels. In particular, it is thought that leucine helps improve exercise performance by helping you recover quicker from exercise, provide energy and build muscle mass.

This amino acid can be found in most foods that contain complete proteins, such as meat and eggs.


Lysine helps the body process fats better to create energy. It also helps promote growth in general, as well as muscle growth during exercise. Lysine is very important for the immune system and helps the body absorb iron, zinc and calcium.

Foods such as red meat, chicken, cheese and nuts are excellent sources of lysine.


Methionine is a really important antioxidant that helps protect the liver and can help the body detoxify. It can help reduce fatigue and is said to prevent early balding from occurring.

Any protein-rich food should contain methionine, including various seafood, nuts and soybeans.


Getting enough phenylalanine is important to regulate your mood because it helps the brain produce dopamine. Phenylalanine deficiencies can lead to depression and other mental health issues. It also helps in the production of adrenaline.

This amino acid can be found in food such as meat, eggs, dairy, nuts and soy products.


Threonine helps build collagen and elastin, which are needed to form and maintain healthy muscle tissue, particularly around the heart. It also helps maintain a healthy digestive system.

Any food containing a lot of protein should have plenty of threonine in it, including meat, tofu, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.


Tryptophan is good for promoting good brain function. It helps the body produce serotonin, which can significantly affect mood. Deficiencies in tryptophan can lead to depression, learning difficulties, impaired memory and more.

It can be found in both plant- and animal-based proteins such as beans, seeds and meat.


Valine is thought to help promote muscle growth, boost the immune system and improve athletic performance owing to its ability to help the body create more energy.

Valine is found in protein-rich foods such as meat and soy, as well as in whole grains, nuts and certain vegetables.

If you’re struggling to get enough of these 9 essential amino acids in through your regular diet, you should consider taking a supplement. Contact Sunshine Biopharma Nutrition today to find out what supplement would be right for you!