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Updated on May 17, 2022
Does Grass-Fed Collagen Have All the Amino Acids I Need to Be Healthy?
Amino acids: We’ve all heard of them. Usually from one fitness article or another, or in ads for healthy foods.
But what exactly do they do? What does “essential” and “nonessential” mean, and what’s the difference between the two?
This article answers all those questions and more. But first, let’s address what amino acids are…
What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Without amino acids, collagen—and all other proteins—would be inexistent in your body.
These organic compounds are absolutely essential when it comes to your health and well-being, and are divided into three different groups: Essential, nonessential, and conditional amino acids…
Essential, Non-Essential, & Conditional Amino Acids: What’s the Difference?
There are a total of 20 amino acids that are needed to make up the proteins in your body. Nine of them are essential—meaning your body can’t produce them on its own and therefore must be obtained through food—and 11 of them are non-essential.
Essential Amino Acids
Essential amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine (3).
Since the body can’t produce these on its own, it’s crucial to get all nine of them from your diet. Foods like red meat, eggs, soy protein, and a high-quality grass-fed collagen supplement will do the trick—as each of these are some of the best sources of essential amino acids.
The recommended amount for each is 10 to 20 mg/kg of body weight in the form of a complete protein like the foods mentioned above (4).
For example, if you weigh in at 130 pounds (or 59 kilograms), you’ll want to consume between 590 and 1,180 milligrams (or 0.59 to 1.18 grams) of essential amino acids.
As you consistently hit your amino acid goals each day, you’ll feel the difference. From hormone regulation to increased muscle strength and endurance to better sleep, amino acids take on many roles in the body.
Non-Essential Amino Acids
Don’t worry about having to obtain these from food too—your body has these eleven amino acids covered.
Nonessential amino acids include alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, asparagine, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine (5).
Each of these is produced from glucose, which means that the carbohydrates we eat are automatically broken down into glucose—a type of sugar that is also the main source of fuel for our cells (6). And when the body doesn’t need the glucose yet, it stores it in the liver and muscles so that it’s readily available.
But wait! There is one more type of amino acid…
Conditional Amino Acids
Conditional amino acids are relevant only for those who are ill or under a lot of stress.
For instance, in the case that one has a disease like cancer, the body wouldn’t be able to meet the necessary demands of arginine—even though it’s classified as a “nonessential” amino acid (7). This is because many tumors are reliant upon arginine for growth, thus, arginine depletes.
So, it’s all the more important to continually revive the supply of all amino acids in order to keep nutrition and physiology up to par.
The 8 conditional amino acids include arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.
Which Amino Acids Are in Collagen?
An organic, grass-fed, top-tier collagen supplement has (drum roll please…) 19 of the 20 amino acids.
With just 1 to 2 scoops of this protein-rich supplement each day, you’ll have most of your amino acid needs covered.
The only missing amino acid is the essential amino acid, tryptophan (8).
The Amino Acids in NativePath Collagen
The following chart breaks down which (and how much) amino acids are in one 10-gram scoop of NativePath Collagen Powder.
The Bottom Line
So far, nearly 500 amino acids have been discovered in nature, but only 20 of them make up the proteins in the body (9).
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Don’t try to get all 20 amino acids in at one meal. Spread them out throughout the day so that your body can consistently maintain whole-body homeostasis (10).
To get 19 out of the 20 amino acids that you need, opt for a high-quality collagen supplement. It contains nearly all of the essential, non-essential, and conditional amino acids you need, with the exception of the essential amino acids tryptophan and cysteine.
Certified Health Coach and Head of Content at NativePath (aka I’m the gal responsible for ensuring that every blog we publish helps you live life a little more #OnThePath).
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.