The human body can produce ten amino acids. They are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Other amino acids have to be consumed in the diet.
There are two types of amino acids: acids that are produced by the human body and acids that are obtained from food. Amino acids that are obtained from food because they cannot be synthesized by the body are called essential amino acids. There are ten essential amino acids: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Arginine is mostly required in young children who are in an active growth phase and is not as important in adults.
The remaining ten amino acids can be synthesized by the body. Tyrosine requires an essential amino acid, phenylalanine, to be present in order to be synthesized. These ten amino acids along with the essential amino acids are required for protein synthesis in the body. Proteins drive all functions of the various organ systems of the human body.
If essential amino acids are not present in the daily diet, the body begins to break down existing proteins in order to supply the body with the missing amino acids.