The 101 of Amino Acids


Amino acids are the cellular building blocks of protein in your body.

Amino acids play a role, either directly or indirectly, in nearly every physiological function.

Each amino acid serves multiple purposes and works in concert with other amino acids.


What Are Essential Amino Acids?


Technically, the term amino acids refers to the general chemical class and consists of more than 300 individual compounds.

Out of the 300, there are 20 dietary amino acids that occur in proteins in the body.

Eleven are non-essential (NEAAs), meaning that the body can synthesize them.

Nine are essential (EAAs), meaning they must be obtained from the diet.

The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, and tryptophan.


The Relationship Between Amino Acids and Protein


Amino acids are the cellular building blocks of protein.

When amino acids are connected together by peptide bonds, amino acids form a polypeptide, which is another word for protein.

Muscle is the main reservoir of amino acids in the body and requires protein to grow in mass.


Muscle Health & Amino Acids Play A Key Role In

  • Hair, nail and tissue protein synthesis
  • Healthy triglyceride and LDL levels maintenance
  • Blood glucose level regulation
  • Metabolism regulation
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Liver health
  • Neurotransmitter production
  • Injury and illness recovery

How Important Are EAAs in the Synthesis of Muscle Protein?


The short answer? Very!

Studies* have shown that ingesting essential amino acids significantly improves muscle protein synthesis in multiple age groups including the elderly.

When exercise was added to EAA supplementation, respondents experienced over twice the results of muscle protein synthesis!

When EAAs were provided at rest, the increase in muscle protein synthesis was an average of 141%.1

When EAAs were provided after exercise, the increase in muscle protein synthesis was an average of 290%.1

In addition, the effectiveness of amino acids was 100% greater after resistance exercise than when consumed at rest.1


  • 1.Biolo G, KD Tipton, S Klein, RR Wolfe. An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein. Am J Physiol 273 (Endocrinol Metab 36): E122-E129, 1997

Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) vs. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)


You may have noticed other products on the market featuring Branched Chain Amino Acids as key ingredients.

What’s the difference between Branched Chain Amino Acids and Essential Amino Acids?

And why are EAAs better?

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are a group of three Essential Amino Acids (EAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

Hence, all BCAAs are EAAs, but not all EAAs are BCAAs. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are called "branched chain" because they’re the only amino acids to have a chain that branches to the side.

While BCAAs are vital for energy production and muscle metabolism, BCAAs alone do not stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

In fact, the few studies measuring the response to BCAAs have shown a decreased rate of muscle protein synthesis.1

This makes only using BCAAs somewhat like fielding a baseball team with only three players, leaving you little chance of winning the game.


  • 1.Robert Wolfe, Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (unpublished, 2016), 63.

Why Whey, Pea and Other Protein Powders Aren’t Enough


The role of protein in food is not to provide our bodies with proteins directly, but to supply the amino acids from which the body can make its own proteins.

When we eat foods that supply each essential amino acid in adequate amounts, our body supports protein synthesis.

MyoHealth contains all 9 Essential Amino Acids and is clinically-proven to support optimal protein synthesis for the body to convert beyond energy to build lean muscle mass.

Studies showed MyoHealth is more effective than whey protein isolate:

    •  3x greater anabolic response
    •  Greater net gain of muscle protein
    •  Faster acting

Muscle As You Age

The older you get, the higher the rate of muscle loss you experience.

Muscle serves many metabolic functions beyond physical movement. 

This includes supporting bone health, enabling greater survival in the case of heart failure and cancer, and providing proper brain and nerve function.

Why We Need Dietary Amino Acids

Protein is composed largely of amino acids. 

When we eat protein, it is digested, and the amino acids are absorbed into the body.

Did you know there are thousands of different proteins in your body, all with specific functions?

Not counting water, those proteins comprise about two-thirds of your body mass.


Every protein in your body is in a constant state of breakdown and synthesis.

It's this balance between the rates of breakdown and synthesis of a protein that determines whether you are gaining protein (anabolism) or losing protein (catabolism).

Most people are in a steady state where the overall synthesis of proteins balances the breakdown of proteins.


Reversing Catabolic Muscle State with EAAs

The breakdown of body proteins provides a steady supply of amino acids to produce new proteins.

Even though there is a constant supply of amino acids coming from protein breakdown, we still need to get amino acids from the food we eat.

This is because all amino acids that are released in the process of protein breakdown are not available for reincorporation into protein via protein synthesis.

While some non-essential amino acids can be produced from other molecules in the body, other amino acids released because of protein breakdown are irreversibly degraded and excreted as CO2, urea, and ammonia.

Since we are losing protein and cannot make what we need (our body cannot produce the 9 essential amino acids), the only answer is to eat protein that contains the essential amino acids.

By eating sufficient essential amino acids through a balanced approach of food and MyoHealthTM products, the rate of protein synthesis can match or even exceed the rate of protein breakdown.

At that point, you have growth, strength, and restored vitality that leads to greater quality of life as well as a reduction in risk of disease.

Looking for the results of studies and human clinical trials?

  • Muscle mass sustainability:

  • 1.Wolfe RR. The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease. AM J Clin Nutr 84(3): 475-482, Sept 2006
  • 2.Biolo G, KD Tipton, S Klein, RR Wolfe. An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein. Am J Physiol273 (Endocrinol Metab 36): E122-E129, 1997.
  • 3.Volpi E, H Kobayashi, M Sheffield-Moore, B Mittendorfer, RR Wolfe. Essential amino acids are primarily responsible for the amino acid stimulation of muscle protein anabolism in healthy elderly adults. Am J Clin Nutr 78:250-258, Aug 2003.
  • Amino acid ingestion improves muscle protein synthesis in the young and elderly:

  • 4.Am J Physiol Endocrimol Metab 286; E321-E328, 2004. First published October28, 2003; 10:1152/ajpendo.00368.2003.
  • 5.(High Leucine mixture stimulated muscle protein synthesis) Katsansos CS,H Kobayashi, M Sheffield- Moore, A Aasland, RR Wolfe. A high proportion of leucine is required for optimal stimulation of the rate of muscle protein synthesis by essential amino acids in the elderly. Am J Physiol Endocriol Metab 291:E381-E387, Aug 2006
  • 6.(Arginine also stimulated synthesis by increasing muscle blood flow) Zhang X-J,Chinkes DL, Wolfe RR. The anabolic effect of arginine on proteins in skin wounds and muscles is independent of nitric oxide production. Clin Nutr 27:649-656, Aug 2008.
  • Muscle mass and strength:

  • 7.Borsheim E, QU Bui, S Tissier, H Kobayashi, AA Ferrando, RR Wolfe. Effect of amino acid supplementation on muscle mass, strength and amino acid ingestion. Am J Physiol 284: E76-E79, 2003.
  • 8.Tipton KD, E Borsheim, SE Wolf, AP Stanford, RR Wolfe, Acute response of net muscle protein balance reflects 24h balance after exercise and amino acid ingestion. Am J Physiol 284: E76-E79, 2003.
  • 9.Borsheim E, KD Tipton, SE Wolf, RR Wolfe. Essential amino acids and muscle protein recovery from resistance exercise. Am J Physiol 283:E648-E657, Oct 2002.
  • 10.Kim HK, Suzuki T, Saito K, Yoshida H. Kobayashi H, Kato Katamama M. Effects of exercise and amino acid supplementation on body composition and physical function in community-dwelling elderly Japanese sarcopenic women: A randomized controlled trial. Am J Geriactric Soc 60: 16-23, 2012.