Amino acid, any of a group of organic molecules that consist of a basic amino group (―NH)2, an acidic carboxyl group (―COOH), and an organicRgroup (or side chain) that is unique to each amino acid. The termamino acidis short forα-amino [alpha-amino] carboxylic acid. Each molecule contains a centralcarbon(C) atom, called the α-carbon, to which both an amino and a carboxyl group are attached. The remaining two bonds of the α-carbon atom are generally satisfied by ahydrogen(H) atom and theRgroup. Amino acids can be called the “building blocks” of protein and are an important part of every human body. There are twenty different amino acids –nine of which are called “essential” and eleven of which are labeled as “non-essential.” The human body needs all twenty of these amino acids, in varying degrees, to be healthy and fully functional. All twenty have distinct chemical structures and are used for different roles –such as forming neurotransmitters, forming hormones and producing energy. But their primary role is to build proteins.Nonessential amino acidsare synthesized by most of the cells, including hematopoietic lineages.The essential amino acidsthe body needs to obtain them from the diet.
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