9 Essential Amino Acids, Benefits & Plant Based Sources


Amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of proteins, are compounds that play many critical roles in our bodies.

Our bodies need 9 essential amino acids for vital processes such as building proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters.

There are 9 essential amino acids that perform important role in our body are isoleucine, leucine, histidine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

They’re involved in many processes, including tissue growth, energy production, immune function, and nutrient absorption.


Phenylalanine: It helps to create other amino acids such as tyrosine, used to help produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine. It is also a precursor for hormones in the thyroid, regulating your metabolism. It also helps develop other important brain chemicals and aid in the regulation of adrenaline. Plant based nuts that contains phenylalanine are almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts. Seeds are pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds. Nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter. Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans.
As Phe is an essential amino acid, having inadequate phenylalanine leads to growth restriction, microcephaly, and developmental problems. It may also cause eczema, fatigue, and memory problems in adults.

Valine: helps stimulate muscle growth and regeneration. Some of plant based valine sources are asparagus, sweet potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, soy beans, lentils, cauliflower, broccoli. Deficiency of this amino acid valine may cause insomnia and reduced mental function.

Threonine: plays a role in fat metabolism and immune function. Threonine is largely found in peoples’ brains and spines, namely, the central nervous system. It changes into glycine in the body, this chemical helps in the production of collagen, elastin, and muscle tissue. When glycine is combined with methionine amino acid, it helps in the prevention of liver failure and the processing of fatty acids. Threonine is easily found in various soy products such as soya beans and nuts like almonds and pistachios. Kidney beans, lentils, chia seeds, flax seeds are also good sources for Threonine.  If you have a Threonine deficiency specifically, you may suffer from digestive issues, increased liver fat, mental fogginess, and other problems.

Lysine: plays important roles in protein synthesis, calcium, iron and zinc absorption, and the production of hormones and enzymes. Also important for energy production and immune function. Lysine functions in the body by helping to produce a variety of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones. It is also very important for the creation of collagen in the body. We use Vimergy’s L-lysine product as a plant based collagen. It is a trusted brand recommended by Medical Medium. Vimergy’s products are naturally free of soy and gluten. They are also made without unnecessary additives or preservatives and are vegan friendly. Common plant based lysine sources are pistachios, cashews, lentils, edamame, chickpea, black bean, buckwheat, amaranth, macadamia nuts, kidney beans, soy beans.   Low protein diet and lysine-deficient diet reduce growth and bone metabolism. The impact of low protein diet could be related to the lysine deficiency, which have an impact on the calcium intestinal absorption and on collagen synthesis. As a result you may experience fatigue, nausea and dizziness.

Tryptophan: It is must-have for serotonin production – known as the happy hormone, serotonin plays a crucial role in regulating mood and also in promoting feelings of wellbeing and positivity, also regulates our appetite, sleep, and mood.
Plant-based sources of tryptophan include leafy greens, sunflower seeds, watercress, soybeans (one cup of soy beans contain 535mg of Tryptophan), oat bran (Containing 315 mg (113% RDA) of tryptophan per cup), pumpkin seeds ( 1 cup (or 129 g), you’ll get 0.74 g of Tryptophan), mushrooms, broccoli, and peas.
Greens like spinach are high in tryptophan, at 80 mg per ounce. Potatoes also contain 80 mg of tryptophan per ounce. Additionally sea veggies like kelp, seaweed, and spirulina are all fantastic sources of tryptophan. These veggies contain about 3 percent of your daily tryptophan requirement.
Deficiency of the amino acid tryptophan is believed to account for the symptoms associated with Hartnup disease. Tryptophan is essential for the creation (synthesis) of nicotinamide, which is also supplemented through nutrition as a vitamin (also known as vitamin B3).
Research also suggests getting more probiotics in your diet may increase tryptophan in your blood, helping more of it reach your brain. You can take probiotic supplements or eat probiotic-rich foods, such as plant based yogurts and fermented foods such as kimchi.

Methionine: Helps to tissue growth and the absorption of zinc and selenium, and vital minerals. It is responsible for helping the bodys’ detoxification and metabolism. Its role in the body is to help remove heavy metals such as mercury and lead from our bodies. Sulfur traces found in this amino acid operate as an antioxidant, protecting cells from harm of free radicals. Common plant based methionine sources are soy beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas, butterbeans, fava, prunes, figs, apricots, raisins, gojiberries, wild rice, teff, Brazil nuts, pinto beans, mung beans, basmati rice, spelt, wheat, coconut, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, chia, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds.
Methionine deficiency can decrease the activities of antioxidant enzymes such as  Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (Cat), and the glutathione (GSH) system all serve to protect against the toxic effects of oxidants. The mitochondria, where many oxidation-related chemicals such as MDA exist, would be damaged, resulting in their release into the cytoplasm due to membrane collapse.

Leucine: helps muscle repair, regulate blood sugar levels, stimulates wound healing, and produces growth hormones. It is arguably the most important amino acid as it helps to build muscle mass by helping activate a pathway responsible for protein synthesis. Plant based leucine sources are soy beans, brown rice, lentils, Brazil nuts, peanuts, cashews, pinto beans, black beans, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, edamame. Persistently low leucine levels can result in decreased appetite, poor feeding, lethargy, poor growth, weight loss, skin rashes, hair loss, and desquamation.

Isoleucine: It is amino acid for immune function, muscle metabolism, energy regulation and the production of haemoglobin. It has also been found to help in the formation of blood clots. Common plant based isoleucine sources are found in legumes, seeds and grains such as oats, hemps, lentils, flaxseeds, chia, barley, wheat, beans, rice, and some nuts such as sunflower seeds, almonds. Isoleucine deficiency is most common in older people and can lead to the weakening and wasting of muscle, and tremors.

Histidine: Our body uses this amino acid to produce histamine, a neurotransmitter that is vital to immune response, digestion, sexual function, and sleep-wake cycles. It’s critical for maintaining the myelin sheath, a protective barrier that surrounds your nerve cells. Common plant based histidine sources are usually nut based such as pumpkin seeds, quinoa, tempeh, tofu, buckwheats, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, pine nuts, walnuts.  Low histidine levels have been associated with rheumatoid arthritis or a deficiency of the B vitamin folic acid. Salicylates (aspirin-like compounds) and steroids can also decrease histidine levels.