But what are amino acids?
In simple terms, they are what make up all proteins. Next to water, protein makes up the greatest portion of our body weight, hence amino acids play an important role in our health. Critical to having a healthy body, they build and repair cells and tissue, carry oxygen and are part of the enzyme system. There are also many other body functions they perform, including regulating every biochemical reaction.
Muscles, ligaments, organs, glands, nails, hair, blood, lymphatic fluid, the central nervous system and the brain is mostly made of various proteins. Some simple plant proteins may only contain 4 or more different amino acids while complex proteins such as meat and beans contain up to 20 different amino acids. The stomach will take a piece of protein and break it down into amino acids. Some amino acids are essential because the liver cannot convert or manufacture them and have to be taken from the food we eat. More details in: Amino acids.