Do You Know What Each of the 9 Essential Amino Acids Does for Your Body?

It’s no exaggeration to say that as the “building blocks of protein,” amino acids are essential to our survival. Each of the 20 amino acids our bodies need to function plays a specific role in muscle growth, immune function, wound healing, hormone production, and so much more.

There are nine essential amino acids and 11 non-essential amino acids. The nine essential amino acids are considered essential because you must get them through your diet—the body cannot produce them on its own.

A deficiency of any of the essential amino acids can compromise your health. Ideally, all of your food sources of protein contain all nine and you’re able to absorb them effectively. Animal proteins typically offer all essential amino acids in the correct ratios, which makes it easier to get your dietary protein. However, you may benefit from essential amino acid supplements if you have concerns about getting your daily needs met. Talk to your doctor to be certain.

Let’s look at the nine essential amino acids and what each one does for the body. You will notice much overlap in their duties.


Lysine is necessary for normal growth and tissue repair. It helps transport fats to your cells to be burned for energy. Lysine is also commonly taken to help treat and prevent cold sores. It can promote wound healing by helping to make collagen.


This branched-chain amino acid is beneficial for skin, bone, and tissue wound healing. Leucine assists with muscle building and protein synthesis. After a workout, it’s important to replace leucine either through your diet or through a high-quality essential amino acid supplement.


Valine is needed for muscle development and repair. It aids brain function and helps with fatigue prevention. Fundamentally, this branched-chain amino acid is important for everyday cognitive, nervous system, and muscle functioning.


Isoleucine is another branched-chain amino acid that’s known to help heal muscle tissue and aid in endurance. It is also important for the regulation of blood sugar, energy levels, and hemoglobin synthesis.


Our bodies convert tryptophan into 5-HTP and then turn it into the neurotransmitter serotonin as well as melatonin and vitamin B6—all of which are important for sleep, mood, and metabolism. People also take it to help themselves quit smoking. Some women take it to decrease symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


Phenylalanine aids in boosting memory and learning, and is beneficial for a healthy nervous system. This essential amino acid is used to help alleviate chronic pain, depression, ADHD, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and Parkinson’s disease.


Threonine is necessary for muscle tissue production. This essential amino acid also supports liver and digestive function while aiding the immune system, muscles, connective tissues, and the central nervous system.


Histidine is used to treat anemia in connection with kidney failure or dialysis. It can also help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and eczema and help ulcers and damaged tissues.


For acetaminophen poisoning, methionine is used to prevent liver failure. It is made of sulfur-containing molecules, which help to maintain proper cell functioning and protect your tissues. It is responsible for collagen production, keeping the skin elastic, and maintaining strong, healthy hair and nails.

As an important note, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking single essential amino acid supplements. Typically, you’re not supposed to take high doses of single essential amino acids for long periods, so be sure to get a professional opinion about what your body needs and make efforts to maintain a healthy, essential amino acid-packed diet.

About TriVita

TriVita offers science-based nutritional products manufactured in the U.S. as well as educational content and streaming events hosted by top healthcare professionals. They also provide a premier membership loyalty program that helps make wellness more affordable. The company carries essential amino acid supplements from MyoHealth. MyoHealth is the only U.S. patented formula that provides all nine of the essential amino acids. The MyoHealth Essential Amino Acid Complex comes in a capsule and two flavored dissolvable powders.

Learn more about TriVita’s mission and MyoHealth’s essential amino acid supplements at

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