What are amino acids?

Amino acids are organic compounds made up of carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and nitrogen (N). In contrast to amino acids, carbohydrates and fats do not contain nitrogen (N). Amino acids are the only sources of vital nitrogen.

The 23 proteinogenic amino acids serve many purposes, including the creation of proteins and body tissues (skin, hair, muscles, blood vessels, etc.). But amino acids also play an important role in almost all metabolic processes. They influence the most important functions such as the transport of nutrients, and build enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hormones. A deficiency or imbalance of amino acids will not allow the body to function optimally.

The greatest benefits of amino acids

decrease blood pressure with amino acids

Healthy blood vessels and blood pressure

Amino acids play a role in the dilation of blood vessels and can improve their flexibility, thereby aiding in the regulation of blood pressure.

Learn what you need to know regarding the effects of arginine, vitamin B, and Pine Bark Extract on blood vessels here!

Amino acids and hair loss

Better hair volume and growth

Hair consists in large part of cysteine and methionine. Research shows that combining these amino acids with vitamins can stimulate hair growth. Thick beautiful hair needs the right nutrients!

You will find study based tipps to stimulate your hair growth with nutrients here!

Increase sexual potency with arginine

Male sexual functions

The fine blood vessels of the penis are particularly susceptible to circulatory disorders. Amino acids can help, as several renowned studies have shown.

Learn more about how amino acids should be combined!

Building muscle with amino acids

Improved muscle building

Whey protein, creatine, arginine, and BCAA. If you want to build more muscle, support your body with these amino acids.

Here you will find the most important amino acids and helpful tips for building muscle!

Energy and amino acids

Energy & Regeneration

Optimize your performance during training as well as the regeneration with the right energy mix and amino acids.

Overview of the most important energy sources for strength and stamina!

Joints, cartilage and amino acids

Joints and Cartilage

Amino acids provide essential sulfur to the cartilage of your joints.

Support healthy joints with these important tipps!

Strengthening the immune system

Stronger immune system

Amino acids are important building blocks of the immune system. They form white blood cells and aid in the body’s defense.

Your immune system requires these amino acids in addition to vitamin C and zinc.

better sleep and mood with amino acids

Restful sleep and good mood

Sleep and mental acuity are influenced by amino acids such as glutamine and tryptophan. Supplementation with these amino acids is a way of supporting sleep naturally.

These amino acids influence mood and sleep!

increase male fertility with amino acids

Improved sperm development

A child, at last? In about 60% of unintentionally childless couples, the cause of childlessness rests with the male partner. But not only arginine and carnitine are important for the generation of healthy sperm and the development of the DNA.

Here is how men can significantly improve their fertility!

Amino acids for weight loss

More effective fat burning and dieting

Protein shakes are popular for weight loss. Which amino acids really count?

Get tips for effective weight loss here!

Cholesterol level

Lower cholesterol level

Cholesterol levels can be reduced through a proper diet.

These amino acids and nutrients regulate your cholesterol!

regulate blood sugar level

Lower blood sugar level

Amino acids influence insulin sensitivity.

Learn how you can support regulation of your blood sugar!

Are there any side effects to taking isolated amino acids? Are amino acids considered to be drugs?

Isolated proteinogenic amino acids are generally well tolerated. Side effects are generally not to be expected, even at excessively high dosages. Most of them are “Generally Recommended as Safe” (GRAS) and therefore they are usually nutritional supplements and NOT drugs. But exceptions apply (see L-Thyroxin, used as a drug for thyroid gland malfunctions). For detailed information on this topic and answers to other questions, please visit the pages on the amino acid you are looking for and our FAQ page.

Which amino acid products can be recommended?

There is no single product or brand that is best for all uses.

What is important is the right combination, as well as appropriate dosage of amino acids and vitamins for your specific goal. Therefore, we have compared product ingredients with the optimal, generally recommended blends and dosages. Of course, production should meet highest standards and the shopping experience should be safe and easy.

Comparison of amino acid products

From the more than 400 products available in Europe, we have selected the five best and most well-known for each benefit area.

Selection criteria included not only composition, dosage, and quality of raw materials, but also manufacturers’ reliability in supply, transparency, and customer service. A positive customer service experience was a requisite to be on our list.

Which products are recommended? Get detailed information on amino acid products of high quality and good composition!

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23 proteinogenic amino acids

Out of the more than 400 amino acids, 23 are not just used for metabolism, creation of hormones, or nerve cell transmission, but for the building of muscle and the generation of skin and hair. These amino acids are therefore called 'proteinogenic'.

The most common classification:

20 of the 23 proteinogenic amino acids are so-called “canonical amino acids,” represented by a three-letter code (see picture on right). However, they are more commonly divided  into three groups: essential, semi-essential (also known as conditional), and non-essential.

Essential amino acids cannot be built from other amino acids:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine, leucine & valine (BCAA)
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine

Generally, the body can build semi-essential amino acids from other amino acids and vitamins. However, during growth spurts, periods of illness, or old age, the body may not be able to produce adequate amounts.

The semi-essential amino acids are:

The body can produce its own non-essential, proteinogenic amino acids, but in order to do so, it requires other amino acids, vitamins, and trace elements.

Therefore, it is also important to take in enough non-essential amino acids through a good diet:

  • Alanine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic acid
  • Glutamic acid
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine

Creatine and taurine, two other well-known amino acids, are not proteinogenic amino acids. L-carnitine is also non-proteinogenic, sometimes classified as amino-acid, in other cases as vitaminoid.

Whey protein, casein, soy protein: amino acid content and biological value

Balanced amino acid combinations are of particular importance to athletes. Whey protein, casein, soy protein and protein concentrate from cow’s milk differ in content of specific amino acids and biological value.

Amounts of individually bound amino acids in whey protein, casein, soy protein (amounts stated reflect grams of amino acids per 100 grams of protein, which can also be expressed as a percentage):

Amino AcidWhey ProteinCaseinMilk ProteinSoy Protein
Histidine (ess.)2,22,92,82,3
Isoleucine (BCAA) (ess.)6,85,76,44,5
Leucine (BCAA) (ess.)11,110,410,47,2
Valine (BCAA) (ess.)6,86,86,84,7
Lysine (ess.)9,98,38,36,2
Methionine (ess.)2,42,82,71,3
Phenylalanine (ess.)3,85,15,24,5
Threonine (ess.)8,04,65,13,9
Thryptophan (ess.)2,11,41,41,1
Alanine5,03,13,54,1
Arginine3,04,03,77,6
Asparagine & Aspartic acid11,37,37,911,0
Cysteine2,40,30,91,6
Glutamine & Glutamic Acid19,22321,819,2
Glycine2,22,12,14,1
Proline5,211,210,15,6
Serine5,25,85,65,1
Tyrosine3,56,05,33,5
Values in gramm per 100 gramm of isolated protein. "ess.": essential amino acid. Source: Arndt, Albers: "Handbook amino acids"; p. 93

Amino acids in protein powder

Glutamine