Main Functions of Amino Acids in cellular nutrition

Amino acids are building blocks for polypeptides and proteins. They play essential roles in many other biological functions. Amino acid roles range from maintaining brain function up to detoxification and maintenance of immune function. Knowledge of these functions can help us understand deficiencies and improve our health.

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Amino acids are the building blocks of polypeptides and proteins and play important roles in metabolic pathways, gene expression, and regulation of cell signal transduction. There are 3 main categories of amino acids: Essential, Nonessential and Conditional Amino Acids. Aside from aiding in the production of proteins, amino acids also play several roles in bodily functions.

Functions of Amino Acids

Formation of proteins:

Peptide bonds join and convert amino acids into protein and peptides.

Formation of Glucose:

Glucogenic amino acids are converted to Glucose in the body.

Transport and storage of ammonia:

Glutamine plays a role in transport and storage of amino nitrogen in the form of ammonia.

Enzyme activity:

Cysteine has an important role in the activity of certain enzymes.


Both free amino acids and some amino acids found in protein can potentially act as buffers . Histidine can serve as the best buffer at physiological pH.

Detoxification reactions:

Glycine , Cysteine, and Methionine are involved in the detoxification of toxic substances.

Formation of Biologically important compounds in the body.

Main functions of Amino Acids

The Dry Blood Spot analysis test is an extremely useful tool when analysing amino acid deficiencies and related symptoms. These are some of the most common amino acids to look out for when analysing a blood spot test report. The clinician plays an important role in being able to read and report back to the patient, and thus, can work out the best treatment solution in the future.


Phenylalanine is the precursor to dopamine, and excitatory neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Dopamine is associated with the pleasure centres of the brain, and plays a role in how we are able to plan, think, focus, and create interest in certain things. Phenylalanine is also the precursor to the Thyroxine hormone, which also plays vital roles in digestion, heart and muscle function, as well as brain development. This specific amino acid also plays a role in collagen formation.

Leucine/ Isoleucine

Leucine and Isoleucine are two of the 3 major Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), all of which are involved with muscle strength, endurance and muscle stamina. Muscle tissues use BCAAs as an energy source. It is also required in the formation of haemoglobin. Leucine helps to stimulate insulin production, which aids in the proper formation of bones.


This is a non-essential Amino Acid and is converted to nitric oxide and L-arginine. It forms an essential component to ensure health and vitality of the heart and blood vessels. Nitric oxide and L-arginine boost the health of the body’s immune system.

Other vital amino acids to look out for include:

  • Valine
  • Methionine
  • Tyrosine
  • Alanine
  • Threonine
  • Arginine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Glutamine
  • Ornithine


Amino acids are the building blocks for polypeptides and proteins, and play essential roles in many other biological functions. Amino acid roles range from maintaining brain function up to detoxification and maintenance of immune and gut function. When taking a Blood Spot Amino Acid Test, it is important to look out for deficiencies or surplus amino acids in the blood. These reports can tell us a lot about the individual’s amino acid production and consumption, and what measures to take to restore balance.

How do I Become a Functional Medicine Practitioner to learn more about Amino acids in Nutrition?

The Institute of Integrative Medicine is a global leader in the field of Integrative Medicine Education. Integrative medicine aims to be at the forefront of modern technology and new discoveries. Amino acids are essential requirements for biological functioning. Understanding these specific functions can help maintain health and improve lifestyle. We offer certified online courses helping you to take charge of your practice and improve the quality of life for your patients. Find out more about the courses we offer today!

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