Chemical structures of all amino acids in the human body

You’ve probably heard about amino acids on the front of sports nutrition powders and drink mixes, but amino acids play a much larger role than your athletic performance alone. So, what are amino acids and why do you need them? Let’s take a look.

What are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are a group of 20 organic compounds that share specific formation traits. They are known as the ‘building blocks’ of proteins in both plants and animals. Because they play such a foundational role, they are involved in many chemical reactions throughout your body to help maintain your body’s normal functions.

Chemical structures of all amino acids in the human body

What do Amino Acids Do?

Amino acids are grouped into three categoriesEssential, Nonessential, and Conditional. The group to which a specific amino acid belongs depends on where your body obtains it.

Essential Amino Acids

Your body cannot produce essential amino acids. These must be obtained by an external source, usually through food or supplementation. Most people are able to get enough essential amino acids through their diets. The essential amino acids are:

  • Histidine – is needed for the creation of histamine, which is produced by the immune system to defend the body against invaders such as allergens. It functions as a neurotransmitter, aiding communication between nerves. Histamine also plays an essential role in the digestive process.
  • Isoleucine – a branched-chain amino acid, is primarily found in muscle proteins. It plays a vital role in the immune system, growth, and metabolism. Isoleucine also provides energy and stimulates muscle.
  • Leucine – Like isoleucine, leucine is a branched-chain amino acid that is necessary for muscle growth and energy production. Mostly present in muscle proteins, it is essential for the healing and repair of muscle, skin, and bone injuries.
  • Lysine – helps in carnitine production – a nutrient that helps convert fatty acids into energy. It promotes proper growth and aids collagen formation, making it necessary for maintaining healthy skin, cartilage, tendons, and bones.
  • Methionine – is an essential part of protein production within cells (e.g., repair of muscle proteins damaged during strenuous workouts.) It is used by the body to produce cysteine, a non-essential amino acid. Methionine also creates molecules containing sulfur, which the body converts to fulfill important functions.
  • Phenylalanine – helps production of molecules necessary to maintain mental health. It aids in the creation of tyrosine, as well as adrenaline and noradrenaline, which affect fight or flight response. Phenylalanine also helps produce dopamine, which affects the formation of memories, learning skills, and feeling pleasure.
  • Threonine – is vital to collagen, tissue muscle, and elastin production. It also promotes building bones and strong tooth enamel, facilitates faster healing, and the formation of blood clots. Threonine has been used as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, as it is primarily located in the central nervous system.
  • Tryptophan – is utilized in the creation of melatonin and serotonin, brain chemicals necessary to sleep cycle regulation. Serotonin is also responsible for managing mood, appetite, and pain. Tryptophan helps vitamin B3 (niacin) production, which promotes healthy metabolism and DNA production.
  • Valine – Similar to isoleucine and lysine, Valine is a branched-chain amino acid playing an essential role in muscle regeneration and growth. Valine can also be metabolized in place of glucose if glucose levels are too low. Valine is also believed to help preserve the myelin coverings of nerves, potentially aiding in the treatment of neurological conditions and brain damage.

Nonessential Amino Acids

Nonessential amino acids are those that your body naturally produces throughout the day whether or not you eat food that contains them. The nonessential amino acids are:

  • Alanine – assists in the breaking down of Vitamin B6 and tryptophan. It also works with histidine to produce carnosine, which helps prevent lactic acid accumulation in skeletal muscles during physical activity, which may improve workout performance.
  • Asparagine – is vital to glycoprotein production and liver health. It promotes healthy development and signaling in the central nervous system and might help reduce fatigue.
  • Aspartic acid – aids in antibody production, playing an important role in the immune system. It also regulates testosterone, sperm production, and the menstrual cycle. It also aids central nervous system signaling.
  • Glutamic acid – is necessary for glutamate production, promoting communication between nerve cells, having positive impacts on learning and memory. Glutamic acid treatments may also help relieve low stomach acid levels.

Conditional Amino Acids

These amino acids are produced only under specific circumstances, typically when your body is fighting off an illness or dealing with stress. The conditional amino acids are:

  • Arginine – increases T-cell production, promoting immune health. It also aids the release of insulin and growth hormones, neutralizes ammonia in the liver, and promotes healing.
  • Cysteine – functions as both a detoxifier and antioxidant. It is necessary to create beta-keratin, the main protein in hair, skin, and nails. Cysteine also helps maintain skin texture and elasticity as it is vital to collagen production.
  • Glutamine – promotes generation of proteins necessary to create muscle tissue. It also fuels white blood cells, supporting the immune system. Glutamine also preserves your intestinal lining, promoting proper nutrient absorption. It is the bloodstream’s most abundant amino acid, and aids in liver detoxification.
  • Tyrosine – is necessary for brain chemical production, including adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine. Tyrosine is also a component of thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism and give skin color.
  • Glycine – Collagen is the primary protein of the body, and glycine is its main amino acid component. Collagen is necessary for healthy ligaments, blood, bone, muscles, ligaments, and skin. Glycine also is a component of creatine, which fuels muscles for short bursts of intense exercise.
  • Ornithine – promotes healthy urea cycle function, aiding in the flushing of excess ammonia. This makes it a valuable post-workout recovery aid and hangovers.
  • Proline – comprises 15% of collagen, aiding shock absorption and reducing friction in joints. It helps cushion joints, heal cartilage, and combats artery hardening. It accomplishes this by helping arteries release fat buildup into the bloodstream, decreasing blood pressure.
  • Serine – is primarily located in the brain and functions as a neuromodulator, managing neuron activity. It also enhances the effects of other chemicals that bind to NMDA receptors. For these reasons, it has been studied as a treatment to help combat cognitive decline related to neurological conditions.

Benefits of Amino Acids

woman in a field with her arms spread, enjoying the sunA balanced diet can help ensure that you get a healthy intake of essential and nonessential amino acids throughout your day. Without an adequate intake of amino acids, your body will not be able to produce proteins in your body as effectively, and in some cases, the proteins in muscle and tissues will start to weaken or degrade.

Amino acids play a role in almost every system throughout your body, including:

  • Assisting in the creation and growth of muscles, connective tissue, and skin
  • Assisting in maintaining muscle tone and tissue strength
  • Healing and repair
  • Normal digestion
  • Providing energy for your body
  • Regulating moods by helping produce hormones
  • Producing neurotransmitters
  • Maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Amino acids are the building block of the proteins. They first form little chains called peptides through peptide bonds which later forms the complete protein. This plays a supporting role in almost every part of your body, that is why everyone can benefit from amino acids.

Peptide Therapy

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Athletic Performance

amino acids used in boxingSupplements of protein and amino acids are often recommended to athletes and active individuals to help boost performance and maintain muscle and tissue strength. Amino acids may help athletic performance in a variety of ways, such as

  • Increasing tolerance to pain during exercise so that athletes can push themselves further during training.
  • Modifying the way the body perceives fatigue, prolonging how long athletes can perform before fatigue sets in.
  • Decreasing the duration of recovery from overtraining.
  • Improving immune function for less frequency of illness or infection.
  • Improving performance in aerobic training.
  • Supporting blood flow for improved endurance.
  • Improving the development of lean muscle mass and overall strength.
  • Improving antioxidant production to reduce cellular damage.
  • Providing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects to reduce damage to muscles.
  • Helping prevent muscle wasting (in conjunction with resistance training).
  • Enhancing how your body metabolizes fats during exercise.


Amino acids aren’t limited to athletic performance. Supplementing amino acids can reduce natural muscle loss in aging individuals, especially when used in conjunction with resistance training. Not only that, amino acid supplementation may also help restore previously lost muscle mass in the elderly and assist with maintaining these gains for improved strength and mobility.

Can You Be Amino Acid Deficient?

NAD for anxiety and depressionA deficiency in amino acids is possible; however, this condition is very rare in the US since an amino acid deficiency typically happens when a person become malnourished. As a result, an amino acid deficiency is often marked by many of the same symptoms of malnutrition such as:

  • Severe muscle loss
  • Edema (swollen skin)
  • Thin and brittle hair
  • Memory loss
  • Weakness
  • Depressed mood
  • Hair loss
  • Skin sores or lesions.

An amino acid deficiency can also occur in individuals who have an additional condition that impairs their absorption. Amino acid levels may also be affected by prescription medications you are taking. You should be sure to go over your medications with your healthcare provider before beginning amino acid supplementation.

Amino Acids: Best Obtained from Supplements, IV Infusions and Peptide Injections, or Food?

amino acid pillsThere are three main ways to ensure you get enough amino acids every day:

  • Oral supplements
  • IV therapy or Peptide Injections
  • The foods you eat

Most people can get their daily intake by eating a balanced diet; however, some people – especially athletes who push their bodies to the limit – may need more amino acids than they can get from their food. As discussed above, the elderly may also benefit from amino acid supplementation for long-term health and strength.

Certain people may have difficulties absorbing oral supplements or food due to medication or a preexisting health condition that impairs how effectively your body can absorb nutrients. In these cases, an infusion can be an effective option, since amino acids are delivered directly into the bloodstream for a 100% absorption rate.

Whether you choose an oral supplement, an IV therapy (or Injection), changes to your diet, or a combination of all three, your goal is the same: to ensure that you are getting enough amino acids to keep your muscles strong and in good shape. Not sure whether an oral supplement, IV therapy or injection, or changes to your diet is the best choice? Let’s take a closer look at each option.

Oral Supplements

banana shake with amino acid suppplementAmino acids show up in a variety of oral supplements: in protein powders for sports performance, in drinks, as powders to make into drinks, and in pill form just like a multivitamin. As a result, amino acids as oral supplements are widely available and can be easily obtained by placing an online order or stopping by your local drugstore. Adding amino acids to your routine by way of oral supplements is a convenient option for most people since this option is as simple as taking a vitamin daily or stirring in a scoop of powder into your morning smoothie.

Oral amino acid supplements are absorbed by your digestive system, which impacts how much your body can actually use regardless of whether you choose a pill, powder, or liquid. Oral supplement absorption rates vary from person to person due to factors such as circulatory systems, gastric emptying time, and individual metabolic function. This means that your body may only use a portion of an oral supplement; the rest is excreted through your urine.

Oral supplements may be ideal for certain individuals, especially those who have an immune system disorder because they are very safe, and you are not at risk of developing an infection.


  • Readily available at your local pharmacy or supplement store
  • Inexpensive option
  • Several types of oral supplements for you to choose from to best fit your preferences and routine.


  • Not absorbed as well as other options
  • Can be a problem if you have a certain health condition
  • Can be hard on the digestive system after prolonged use

IV Therapy 

iv bag with amino acidsIV infusions typically contain specialized ingredients which are blended together in a sterile saline solution. These ingredients are chosen to address specific health goals, so the exact contents vary from one IV to another. Drip Hydration offers many proprietary blends that can address health targets from aging to immune boosts to the health of your hair, skin, and nails. In addition to our main formulas, we can consult with you to develop custom blends tailored to you and your health needs.

Whereas the bioavailability (the amount of a supplement that your body can use) is very low in oral supplements, IV infusions are 100% absorbed by your body. This is because IV infusions are delivered directly into your bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system and thus avoiding absorption problems. Your body can use the maximum amount it needs and expel the rest through your urine. In addition, the ingredients in an IV treatment are immediately available for your cells to use. Whether you’re preparing for a marathon or want to maintain your muscle strength and tone as you age, IV therapy ensures that you can feel the effects of an amino acid infusion fast.

IV infusions generally take 30 – 45 minutes to administer but have additional benefits such as hydration and the infusion of other vitamins for a more comprehensive treatment. IV therapy may also detoxify your body by flushing out heavy metals that can contribute to cellular damage.

In addition to flushing out heavy metals, IV treatments could help your body process free radicals – uncharged molecules that your body naturally produces, especially when you exercise. You might prevent the accumulation of damage that can contribute to long-term disease or illness later in life.


  • 100% absorption of amino acids and vitamins in the formula
  • additional benefits such as hydration and other vitamins
  • detoxifies your body to reduce cellular damage
  • delivered directly to you for your convenience


  • Unlike a pill or drink which takes only a few seconds or minutes to ingest, IV infusions take 30 – 45 minutes to administer
  • very small chance of infection at the injection site

Peptide Injection Therapy

On the other hand, we also offer Peptide Therapy Injections. You can pick out of our six peptides that could potentially improve your overall lifestyle. We have peptides that:

  • 2x peptides that stimulate lean muscle mass and fat loss
  • Regulate stress & sleep
  • Have anti-aging properties and keep your skin healthy
  • Muscle tissue and joint recovery
  • and sexual enchantment.


amin acid rich foods on plateMost people can get their daily intake of amino acids from food. This compound is easily found in both animal and plant products, although some types may contain only part of the amino acids you need. For example, some foods may contain only essential amino acids; others may contain all of them; others still may only have nonessential types.

Natural sources of amino acids include:

  • Dairy
  • Beef, pork, chicken, and turkey
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Eggs
  • Soy products (tofu, edamame, soy milk)
  • Quinoa.
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Beans and other legumes
  • Potatoes.

Eating a balanced diet that contains multiple ingredients from this list can help ensure that you are getting all of the essential amino acids that you need to feel your best.


  • You need to eat, don’t you? You can ensure that you’re nourished and getting your daily intake of amino acids all in one fell swoop.


  • Preparing balanced meals can take up a lot of your time, energy and money.

What are the Side Effects and Risks of Amino Acid Supplementation?

Taking amino acids long-term can cause side effects including nausea, pain, and headache. You can also experience symptoms resulting from amino acid overload, prompting many healthcare providers to advise against individual amino-acid supplements. Histidine, methionine, and cysteine are the amino acids known to cause the worst side effects related to overload.

Another aspect to consider is how amino acids may interact with medical procedures and medications. While amino acids may help lower blood sugar, they also can cause interactions with diabetes medications. You should also avoid amino acid supplements before or after medical procedures due to how glucose levels may be affected. Thyroid medications may also have interactions with thyroid medications.

A responsible amino acid infusion therapy provider will conduct a health screening before administering treatment. You should be sure to disclose all medications you are taking, as well as any health conditions you may have. Your healthcare provider can use this information to determine whether amino acid supplementation is the right choice to address your health care concerns.

Our All-Inclusive IV truly has it all:

  • IV Fluids – a sterile saline solution that delivers nutrients directly into your bloodstream, rehydrates your body, and ensures 100% absorption.
  • Vitamin B12 – a B-Complex vitamin associated with preventing memory loss and improving concentration, as well as boosting energy levels.
  • B-Complex Vitamins – a complex of 8 different vitamins that perform a range of vital functions including cardiovascular support, helping your body convert food into energy, immune function, and more.
  • Vitamin C – a vitamin that plays many essential roles throughout your body, helping to maintain systems such as muscles, bones, immune support, and your circulatory system.
  • Magnesium – is a mineral involved in over 300 biochemical reactions throughout the body, and plays a large role in regulating the normal, healthy function of nerve and muscle function, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the production of proteins, and more.
  • Glutathione Push – a highly concentrated dose of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that provides immune system support, detoxifies your body, removes free radicals, boosts energy levels, and improves neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Amino Acids – are a group of organic compounds that form the building blocks of proteins that make up about 20% of the body. They are involved in almost every body function, including growth and development, healing and repair, normal digestion, and providing energy for your body.

We offer direct-delivery appointments at home, at your office, or at the gym, to name a few of the places we service. Whether you choose our All-Inclusive or another IV formula, our treatments are a great addition to your exercise routine. Our appointments take 30 – 45 minutes and can be scheduled in advance for your convenience.

Have questions? Want to know more about our IV treatment options or our custom blends? Give us a call! We’re excited to help you perform and feel your best for years to come.