Diseases

Amino acids

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The amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in the body. Some of these can be made by the body itself, others must be absorbed through food. Read more about the importance of amino acids and important disorders in amino acid metabolism!

Article overview amino acids

  • What are amino acids?
  • Essential amino acids
  • Non-essential amino acids
  • Amino acids: standard values
  • Amino Acid Metabolism: Disorders

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the "basic building blocks" of proteins (= proteins). Proteins play an important role in the human body: they perform many important tasks and structure the body tissues. A healthy, lean adult consists of about 12 to 18 protein proteins.

The proteins of the body are made up of 20 different amino acids. In the production of proteins, the amino acids are bound together like a chain. Two linked amino acids are called dipeptide, three amino acids tripeptide. Small proteins consist of a chain of about 50 amino acids. Large proteins are composed of hundreds or thousands of amino acids and can consist of two or more folded amino acid chains.

Because proteins are the main constituents of most cell structures, we need to eat enough protein with food. This is especially important during pregnancy, during growth and tissue damage as a result of injury or illness.

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Essential amino acids

Of the 20 amino acids that proteins build in the human body, ten are considered essential amino acids. This means that the body can not produce it or not in sufficient quantity itself, but must feed it with the food. Eight of the ten essential amino acids can not be produced by humans, two only in very small quantities.

A complete protein contains all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantity. Complete proteins are found, for example, in beef, fish, poultry, eggs and milk. Incomplete proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids. They are found, for example, in green leafy vegetables, in legumes and in cereals.

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Non-essential amino acids

Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body itself. He uses pyruvate or an acid from the citric acid cycle and transfers an amino group to them. If all the essential and nonessential amino acids are present in sufficient quantities in a cell, the cell can produce proteins very rapidly. The blueprint for the production of proteins is stored in the genome of the cell (DNA).

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Amino acids: standard values

The different amino acids can be determined in the blood serum as well as in the urine. For adults, the following standard values ​​apply:

amino acid

Serum (μmol / l)

Urine (μmol / g creatinine)

alanine

up to 500

to 700

β-alanine

until 10

to 130

α-aminoadipic acid

until 10

to 180

α-aminobutyric acid

to 40

until 100

γ-aminobutyric acid

until 100

to 250

β-aminoisobutyric acid

until 10

up to 1,200

arginine

to 150

to 150

asparagine

until 100

up to 500

aspartic acid

until 50

until 100

carnosine

until 10

to 300

citrulline

to 60

until 100

Cysthathionin

until 10

until 100

cystine

to 140

up to 200

ethanolamine

until 50

to 250

glutamine

to 700

up to 800

glutamic acid

to 110

up to 200

glycine

up to 450

up to 2,500

histidine

until 100

to 1,600

homocitrulline

until 10

until 10

homocystine

until 10

until 10

hydroxylysine

until 50

until 50

hydroxyproline

to 30

until 100

isoleucine

until 100

until 100

kynurenine

until 10

until 10

leucine

until 190

until 100

lysine

to 250

to 250

methionine

to 40

until 100

1-methylhistidine

until 10

up to 500

3-methylhistidine

until 10

up to 500

ornithine

to 120

to 150

phenylalanine

until 240

to 150

phosphoethanolamine

until 10

until 100

phosphoserine

until 10

until 10

proline

to 350

until 100

serine

up to 200

up to 800

taurine

to 140

up to 500

threonine

to 230

up to 500

tryptophan

to 80

to 150

tyrosine

until 100

up to 200

valine

to 3

to 120

In children, the norms for most amino acids are different depending on the age group.

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