Amino Acid Chart With All Types Explained

Amino acids are known as “the building blocks of life,” but what does that mean? How many amino acids are there? This amino acid chart provides a full breakdown of the amino acids we need and why they are so important.

Understanding amino acids

Amino acids are organic compounds that make proteins. While approximately 500 amino acids exist, we will focus on the 20 that are most important to the human body.

Amino acids are classified in two ways: first, whether or not they are produced by the human body, and second, by their chemical properties.
These amino acids are part of our genetic makeup, but they also play important roles in our body function day to day. Keep reading for a full list of the 20 amino acids the human body needs.

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Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids cannot be naturally produced by the human body, so they must be obtained through diet or supplementation. Chemical properties are indicated after each amino acid.

Histidine – Basic

  • What it does: Histidine helps create the similarly-named histamine, a chemical made by the immune system to defend against invading bodies, like allergens. Histamine also plays a vital role in the digestive system, and also functions as a neurotransmitter, helping nerves send messages to each other.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, seeds

Isoleucine – Aliphatic

  • What it does: Isoleucine is a branched-chain amino acid found mostly in muscle proteins. In addition to stimulating muscle growth and providing energy, Isoleucine also plays a critical role in growth, metabolism, and the immune system.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, whole grains, seeds

Leucine – Aliphatic

  • What it does: Leucine is also a branched-chain amino acid present in muscle proteins playing a role in muscle growth and providing energy. It also is vital for repair and healing of muscle, skin, and bone injuries.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, tofu, and seeds

Lysine – Basic

  • What it does: Lysine supports proper growth and helps produce carnitine, a nutrient that converts fatty acids into energy. Lysine also helps the body absorb calcium and form collagen, making it vital for healthy bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, tofu, and beans

Methionine – Sulfur-containing

  • What it does: Methionine plays an important part in the production of new proteins within cells (ie, producing new muscle proteins after some are damaged during vigorous exercise). Methionine also produces sulfur-containing molecules that convert to fulfill important functions. Cysteine, a non essential amino acid, is created by the body using methionine.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and nuts

Phenylalanine – Aromatic

  • What it does: Phenylalanine is necessary to produce certain molecules related to mental health. It helps create the conditional amino acid tyrosine, and also helps produce adrenaline and noradrenaline which are crucial in fight or flight response. It also aids in producing dopamine (which helps us feel pleasure), form memories, and learn new skills.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and whole grains

Threonine – Hydroxylic

  • What it does: Threonine is key in the production of collagen, elastin, and tissue muscle. It also aids in building strong tooth enamel and bones. Threonine also helps speed up the healing process, helping to form blood clots. Threonine treatments have been used to help patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis, as threonine is largely located in the central nervous system.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and seeds

Tryptophan – Aromatic

  • What it does: Our bodies use tryptophan to create melatonin and serotonin, which are important for regulating sleep cycles. Serotonin also regulates appetite, mood, and pain. The liver also uses tryptophan to produce niacin (also known as vitamin B3), which aids DNA production as well as metabolic function.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and whole grains

Valine – Aliphatic

  • What it does: Valine is the third branched-chain essential amino acid. Like isoleucine and lysine, it plays an integral role in muscle growth and regeneration. If the body needs to spare glucose, it can metabolize valine instead. Valine also appears to play a role in preserving the myelin covering of nerves, and may be useful in treating certain types of brain damage and other neurological conditions
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and seeds

Non-Essential Amino Acids

Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body naturally. Supplying the body with additional non-essential amino acids can prevent deficits and ensure consistent health. Chemical properties are indicated after each amino acid.

Alanine – Aliphatic

  • What it does: Alanine helps the body break down tryptophan and vitamin B-6. Alanine and histidine also work together to produce carnosine, which is stored in your skeletal muscles to reduce lactic acid accumulation during exercise, improving performance.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and whole grains

Asparagine – Acidic

  • What it does: Asparagine is important for liver health and glycoprotein production in the body. It also can help reduce fatigue, and contributes to signaling and development within the central nervous system.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and whole grains

Aspartic acid – Acidic

  • What it does: Aspartic acid plays an important role in our immune system, aiding in the production of antibodies. It also is active in our reproductive cycles, responsible for regulating production of testosterone, as well as the menstrual cycle and sperm production. Aspartic acid also plays a role in signaling within the central nervous system.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and certain vegetables

Glutamic acid – Acidic

  • What it does: Glutamic acid is used by the body to create glutamate, which helps nerve cells communicate. Due to this, it is believed to impact learning and memory. Glutamic acid treatments can also help people with low stomach acid levels.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and whole grains

Conditional Amino Acids

Conditional amino acids cannot be produced by the human body under certain conditions. Age, extreme stress, and genetic disorders are examples of conditions under which the human body may be unable to create these amino acids. Chemical properties are indicated after each amino acid.

Arginine – Basic

  • What it does: Arginine is an essential amino acid for newborns, but is considered non-essential for all other age groups. Arginine assists the immune system by helping increase T-cell production. It also plays important roles in healing, the release of insulin and growth hormones, and helps neutralize ammonia in the liver.
  • High content foods: Meats, fish, beans, and whole grains

Cysteine – Sulfur-containing

  • What it does: Cysteine plays many roles, acting as both a detoxifier and as an antioxidant. It is also a component of beta-keratin, the primary protein in skin, nails, and hair. Cysteine affects skin texture and elasticity and is crucial to making collagen.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and whole grains

Glutamine – Amidic

  • What it does: Glutamine is important in the creation of proteins to build muscle tissue. Glutamine supports the immune system by fueling white blood cells. It also helps preserve the intestinal lining and enables your body to properly absorb nutrients. As the most abundant amino acid in the bloodstream, it also helps detoxify the liver.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and nuts

Tyrosine – Aromatic

  • What it does: Tyrosine is key to the production of important brain chemicals, including dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Tyrosine is also used to make thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism, and melanin that gives skin color.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and nuts

Glycine – Aliphatic

  • What it does: Glycine is the primary amino acid in collagen, the protein found most in the human body. Collagen is key to healthy muscles, skin, cartilage, blood, bones, and ligaments. Glycine also helps make creatine, which gives muscles energy for short bursts of intense activity (like sprinting, gymnastics, or weightlifting).
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and certain vegetables

Ornithine

  • What it does: Ornithine is vital to the urea cycle, helping the body get rid of excess nitrogen (ammonia). Ornithine treatments are believed to help issues related to excess ammonia in the body, like hangovers or prolonged strenuous exercise.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and whole-grains

Proline – Aliphatic

  • What it does: Proline makes up 15% of collagen, which acts as a shock absorber and friction reducer in joints. It also helps cushion joints and heal cartilage. In addition to skin health and repair, proline also combats hardening of the arteries, helping arteries release fat buildup into the bloodstream and decrease blood pressure.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and certain vegetables

Serine – Hydroxylic

  • What it does: Serine is found mostly in the brain and is a neuromodulator, which means it manages neuron activity in the nervous system. It also increases the effects of other chemicals that bind with NMDA receptors. Serine has been studied as a treatment for brain conditions and to combat cognitive decline, among other conditions affecting the central nervous system.
  • High content foods: Meats and dairy, fish, beans, and certain vegetables

What is the best way for the body to get amino acids?

Amino acids are primarily obtained through your diet. Most people can ensure they get enough amino acids by maintaining a balanced diet. However, others – like athletes, manual labor workers, people with health conditions, and the elderly – may benefit from having more amino acids than what they can get from food.

Aside from diet, you can add more amino acids to the body in two ways.

Oral supplements

Because so many amino acid treatments are tied to improved athletic performance, there are a wide variety of options available. Supplements are available as pills or in powders to be added or made into drinks. They are available online or from local drugstores.

The body absorbs oral amino acid supplements in the same way it absorbs them from food – through your digestive system. This also means that some of the supplements will be lost/unable to be absorbed as they are broken down by the body.

IV infusions

IV infusions are composed of specialized ingredients typically selected to achieve specific health goals. Because IV infusions deposit treatments directly into the bloodstream, they are absorbed 100% by the body and can start working more quickly.

IV infusions also hydrate the body, allowing it to flush out heavy metals and other toxins. Although IV infusions are safe when done correctly, they should be administered and monitored by a medical professional.

How can IV treatments help me?

Our treatments are modern blends designed to meet your needs. A few examples include:

  • Energy Boost: This IV treatment is designed to replenish and revive your overall health and energy levels. B complex vitamins offer cardiovascular support and aid immune function, Vitamin B12 boosts energy levels and concentration, while Vitamin C supports your muscles, circulatory and immune systems.
  • Stomach Flu: This treatment helps you recover from stomach flu symptoms faster. In addition to the ingredients found in the Energy Boost, Pepcid is present to help relieve heartburn and bring stomach acid levels down. Zofran is also part of this treatment to help relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
  • Weight Loss: Our weight loss treatment is a blend of our Energy Boost ingredients with Lipostat plus, a mixture of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins that help boost metabolism and detoxify your body. We also add L Carnitine, which helps burn fat and keep you energized.
  • All-Inclusive: Our all-inclusive IV therapy treatment is intended to rejuvenate and restore. In addition to B complex vitamins, Vitamin B 12, Vitamin C, and Lipostat Plus, we also add magnesium to aid healthy muscular, cardiovascular, and immune function. A glutathione push supplies your body with powerful antioxidants to detoxify your body and boost energy and mental clarity.
  • NAD+ Boost: For those who are serious about their health and want to reverse aging and improve energy levels, our NAD+ IV therapy can help you feel and look better. Our treatments are designed to boost energy and immune support, while simultaneously clearing brain fog and improving memory and concentration.

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Drip Hydration Can Help You Achieve Your Health Goals

If you think you could benefit from amino acid IV therapy, reach out to us today. We can do lab tests to determine which of our 12 IV therapy cocktails can make you feel your best.

Once a treatment is determined, you can schedule an appointment for one of our Registered Nurses to come to you (whether at home, your workspace, the gym, or elsewhere) to administer an IV treatment. Our healthcare expert will remain onsite for the duration of the treatment – typically 45-60 minutes – to monitor your progress.

Have questions, or just unsure if IV therapy is right for you? Reach out today to consult with one of our healthcare experts. We’re excited to help you feel your best and hit your goals!



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