How Many Amino Acids Are There, 20 or 21?

A common question we hear is: how many amino acids are there, twenty or twenty-one?

While we have other blog posts that discuss amino acids in more detail, we wanted to answer this question properly in an article of its own. 

There are a total of twenty-one amino acids, of which nine are essential, and a further eleven regular amino acids produced naturally by the body.

So, the remainder of this blog post will discuss more on essential amino acids, amino acids, and the role of each.

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are made up of proteins, commonly referred to as “the building blocks of life.” 

There are a total of twenty-one amino acids, all of which are responsible for different roles throughout the body.

Each amino acid is a large block of proteins, all different shapes, and sizes. In fact, some amino acid strands form together to create larger shaped proteins.

What are essential amino acids?

Out of the twenty-one amino acids, nine of these cannot be naturally produced by the body. These are known as essential amino acids. And guess what: you need them to survive.

Essential amino acids can be found in various foods, including poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and even Brussel sprouts. 

Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to obtain all of the essential amino acids, providing your body the tools it needs to thrive, and well, survive.

Why is there confusion between 20 and 21?

So, why is there so much confusion surrounding the numbers twenty and twenty-one?

Well, there were originally twenty amino acids. However, another one was more recently discovered.

The problem is that many people are unaware of the latest discovery. Furthermore, most textbooks are also not updated, so those learning about amino acids in schools are unaware of the twenty-first.

To conclude 

The body makes a total of twelve amino acids by itself. However, you must acquire the remaining nine through your diet.

Eating foods such as fish, meat, eggs, and a varied range of vegetables is the best way to ensure a healthy, happy, and well-functioning body.

Oh, and next time a topic comes up about amino acids, be sure to let everyone know of their latest arrival – number twenty-one.

To find out more about amino acids or to view our full range of amino acids for purchase, click here.

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