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There are approximately 300 amino acids which can be found in nature.

Amino Acids are the organic compounds which combine to form proteins, hence they are referred to as the building components of proteins. These biomolecules are involved in several biological and chemical functions in a human body and are the necessary ingredients for the growth and development of human beings. There are approximately 300 amino acids which can be found in nature. Amino acids contain the essential amino groups (-NH2) and carboxyl groups (-COOH). Amino acids are present in the ingredients of protein. Both peptides and proteins are the long chains of amino acids. Altogether, there are twenty amino acids, which are involved in the construction of proteins.

Out of 20 amino acids, our body can easily synthesize a few by their own and are called as non-essential amino acids. They include alanine, asparagine, arginine, amino acid, glutamic acid, cysteine, glutamine, proline, glycine, serine, and tyrosine. Apart from these, there are other nine amino acids which are very much essential as they cannot be synthesized by our body. They are called essential amino acids and they also include isoleucine, histidine, lysine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, methionine, threonine, and valine. Structure  (Diagram) The general structure of Amino Acids is H2NCH RCOOH and are often written as: COOH | H2N – – C – – H | R There are 20 present amino acids and every one has common structural features – an amino (-NH3+), a carboxylate (-COO-) group and a hydrogen-bonded to an equivalent atom. They differ from each other in their side-chain called R group. Each amino alkanoic acid has 4 different groups attached to α- carbon. These 4 groups are:

Amino acids play a vital role in performing several biological and chemical functions in several parts of our body, including building and repairing of the tissues, within the formation and function of enzymes, food digestion, for the transportation of molecules, etc. Our body can synthesize only certain amino acids and therefore the remainder of the amino acids which are called essential amino acids should be supplied through protein-rich foods in our daily diet. Foods rich in amino acids include plant-based products like broccoli, beans, beetroots, pumpkin, cabbage, nuts, dry fruits, chia seeds, oats, peas, carrots, cucumber, green leafy vegetables, onions, soybeans, whole grain, peanuts legumes, lentils, etc. Fruits rich in amino acids are apples, bananas, berries, figs, grapes, melons, oranges, papaya, pineapple, and pomegranates. Other animal products include dairy products, eggs, seafood, chicken, meat, pork etc.

As mentioned above, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins play a fundamental role in almost all life processes. Therefore, it is necessary to include all nine essential amino acids in our daily diet to maintain a healthy and proper function of our body. There may be different pathological disorders that may take place due to the deficiency of amino acids some of which are –

Q1. What are Amino Acids? Ans – Amino Acids are the organic compounds which combine to form proteins, hence they are referred to as the building components of proteins. These biomolecules are involved in several biological and chemical functions in a human body and are the necessary ingredients for the growth and development of human beings. Q2. What are the functions of Non Essential Amino Acids? Ans – Phenylalanine helps in maintaining a healthy systema nervosum and in boosting the memory power.

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