Enhanced Diagnostic Tools
Essential versus Non-Essential Amino Acids
The human body requires 20 naturally occurring amino acids for its proper functioning. There are 8 essential amino acids for humans: phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, and lysine. They are called essential because the body does not manufacture them but must be ingested in the diet. Therefore a proper diet should be balanced and must include all the essential amino acids. Foods that contain a good and varied amount of amino acids, including the essential ones should be included in our daily diet. Plant sources such us quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, amaranth, among others contain a balanced set of amino acids.
Peptides and Amino Acids
What is an amino acid? Is a molecule made up of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen that make up peptides and proteins; there are 20 naturally occurring amino acids found in most living organisms
What is a peptide? Peptides are strings of amino acids that make up essential components of our bodies; proteins and enzymes are made up of various lengths of amino acids. The human body requires of 20 amino acids for its proper functioning.
The word peptides or oligopeptides refer to strings of amino acids(AA’s) of up to 50 AA’s (this is an arbitrary length); is used to primarily to differentiate between short and long strings of AA’s; long strings of AA’s are known as proteins; keep in mind that in many situations the words can be used interchangeably.
For example human insulin is a 51 amino acid long hormone/protein; it can be referred as a peptide or protein (in any case it is made up of a string of amino acids). Insulin is a peptide and has a molecular weight of 5808 Daltons. It is produced and secreted by the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Various deficiencies of insulin produce diabetes.
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