Can my body make all the amino acids I need?

Chad Kramer
Chad Kramer on behalf of dotFIT
No, our bodies only produce what is known as the non-essential amino acids (NEAA). The other amino acids, known as the essential amino acids (EAA), which the body cannot produce, must be supplied from diet and/or supplements. These include the following: Tryptophan, Lysine, Methionine, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Threonine and Phenylalanine. Complete proteins like eggs, dairy, meats (including fish and poultry) and soy are examples of complete proteins that contain all the EAA and NEAA and can supply all amino acids/protein needs.

Below are a list of the essential amino acids and sources of foods that contain them:
  • Tryptophan: dietary sources include chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey and peanuts.
  • Lysine --  dietary sources include green beans, lentils, soybean, spinach and amaranth.
  • Methionin: dietary sources include fish, whole grains, and dairy.
  • Valine (a Branched Chain Amino Acid AKA BCAA): dietary sources include dairy products, grain, meat, mushrooms, peanuts, and soy proteins.
  • Leucine (BCAA): dietary sources include cottage cheese, sesame seeds, peanuts, dry lentils, chicken, and fish.
  • Isoleucine (BCAA): dietary sources include eggs, fish, lentils, poultry, beef, seeds, soy, wheat, almonds and dairy.
  • Threonine: dietary sources include dairy, beef, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • Phenylalanine: dietary sources include dairy, almonds, avocados, lima beans, peanuts, and seeds.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.