By now, you've probably heard a lot about the importance of protein to your body and for weight loss. But you may not know as much about the organic compounds that combine to make up those proteins: amino acids.

Sometimes called the "alphabet soup" or "building blocks" of life, your body uses amino acids for everything from tissue growth and energy production to immune function and nutrient absorption.

There are 20 well-known amino acids commonly used by the body. Nine of these amino acids are classified as essential, which means the body cannot make them itself, so they need to be consumed from food: these are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. If one of these amino acids isn't present in your diet, the body will be forced to break down proteins to obtain it, possibly leading to muscle loss.

The best sources of these essential amino acids are animal proteins like meat, eggs and poultry, which contain all nine. You can still get all your essential amino acids from vegetarian proteins like legumes and grains if you mix and match them, but you may also need to take a supplement since vegetarian foods contain these amino acids in much lower amounts.

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The other eleven amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. They are classified as "nonessential," but that name is misleading since they still serve many important health functions.

Nonessential just means that the body can usually make them by itself, which means you don't need as much from food. However, these amino acids may still need to be supplemented under certain health conditions, such as while your body is battling disease.

Amino acids may also help the body stay healthy during the physical stress of weight loss. Several studies have found that dieters whose program included supplementation with amino acids lost more fat and less muscle. This is why our signature drops are so important for achieving your fastest and healthiest weight loss! Let's take a closer look at the 8 amino acids that are part of our dieting superblend.

1. L-Alanine

This amino acid is involved in sugar and acid metabolism, increases immunity, and has been show to reduce cholesterol in animals. It also provides energy for muscle tissue, the brain, and the central nervous system.

2. L-Glutamine

L-glutamine provides fuel for intestinal and immune cells, helps maintain the barrier between your intestines and the rest of your body, improves insulin sensitivity, and has been shown to prevent obesity in animals fed a high-fat diet. It has also been shown to improve survival in critically ill patients and to reduce fatigue and decrease muscle soreness during and after exercise.

3. L-Histidine

This amino acid, which is often used in treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, is thought to work by regulating the immune system in a way which reduces inflammation. It also helps your body make histamines, which are part of your body's defense system. Finally, it has antifungal properties and can combat anemia.

4. L-Leucine

This "branched chain" amino acid has been found to enhance muscle growth, weight loss, and exercise performance. It can also increase "good cholesterol" and help regulate blood sugar levels.

5. L-Lysine

L-lysine can reduce anxiety and lower your levels of stress hormones like cortisol, which can interfere with weight loss. It can help your body absorb and hold onto calcium, and is sometimes used to prevent and treat cold sores. L-lysine may also improve your eye health and lower your blood sugar and blood pressure.

6. L-Methionine

L-methionine can help the body produce other important molecules that can play a role in muscle maintenance and weight loss, like creatine, glutathione, and taurine. Its role in DNA methylation can also reduce cancer risk.

7. L-Ornithine

L-ornithine is crucial for the removal of bodily waste. It also helps promote endurance, wound healing and physical strength while reducing exercise-induced fatigue.

8. L-Threonine

L-threonine can support the production of connective tissue, support bone and liver health, and boost the immune system. It is also sometimes used to treat neurological disorders involving spasticity like Lou Gehrig's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Now that you have a better idea what amino acids are and how important they are to the body, maybe you'll think twice about skipping your next dose of drops!

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