Difference Between Essential and Non Essential Amino Acid

Protein is an important component of our diet. It helps build strength and muscles. It repairs the cells and supports growth. The makeup of this protein includes amino acids.


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Amino acids are organic compounds that are responsible for producing proteins. There are two kinds of amino acids, namely, Essential and Non Essential Amino Acids. Their categorization is established upon the body’s ability to synthesize them.

Key Takeaways

  1. The body cannot synthesize essential amino acids, which must be obtained through diet.
  2. The body can produce non-essential amino acids not required from dietary sources.
  3. Both types are crucial for protein synthesis and overall bodily function.

Essential vs Non Essential Amino Acid

Essential amino acids are those that can’t be synthesized by the body and must come from food sources. There are 9 essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids are those that our bodies can produce even without getting them from external food sources. There are 11 non-essential amino acids.

Essential vs Non Essential Amino Acid

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The amino acid that an organism’s system cannot produce is known as an essential amino acid. Therefore, it must be taken in from external sources and included in the diet.

Out of twenty amino acids, there are nine that are called essential amino acids. Yet another term used for these amino acids is indispensable amino acids.

The amino acid that an individual’s system can create and synthesize by itself is called a nonessential amino acid. One does not need to include them in their dietary habit.

From the twenty amino known to humanity, eleven are nonessential. These amino acids are quite beneficial in ousting toxins from the body.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEssential Amino AcidNon Essential Amino Acid
DefinitionAn individual’s body cannot produce them on its own.The body is capable of creating these amino acids on its own.
FunctionThey work to repair and build muscle tissues. For the formation of the neurotransmitters in the brain, they produce precursor molecules.They work to remove toxins, help in the functioning of the brain, and are also efficient in synthesizing RBCs and WBCs.
SourcesAs they need to be included in the diet, their sources include egg, chicken, quinoa, meat, etc.The body creates them by itself after breakdown the already existing amino acids.
NumberThere are nine essential amino acids.These are eleven in number.
DeficiencyOne may likely face a deficiency of these as they are not self-produced by the body.Even though it’s rare to experience a deficiency of these, it still might occur due to poor health or starvation.

What is Essential Amino Acid?

It is not possible for the body to create the essential amino acids on its own. Therefore, it needs to be accessed through external sources, which means it must be included in the diet.

In totality, there are nine such essential amino acids. For a high degree of net protein utilization, it is necessary that one must have an intake of balanced essential amino acids.

All in all, twenty-one amino acids are known to exist, and these are common to all living organisms. Out of these, nine essential amino acids cannot be synthesized from scratch by an organism at a speed quick enough to meet the requirement of the body.

The daily recommended intake of these amino acids varies and keeps changing over time.

These essential amino acids are important for building and repairing muscle tissues of the organism’s body. It also undergoes a process that catalyzes the production of precursor molecules.

These molecules, in turn, assist in the development of neurotransmitters in the brain. Because they are obtained from external sources, it is usual for them to become deficient in the body.

These amino acids are acquired through food items. These food items include eggs, meat, quinoa, chicken, vegetable protein, etc. The intake that is required for these amino acids on a daily basis is higher in minors as compared to fully grown adults.

essential amino acid

What is Non Essential Amino Acid?

The body of an individual is capable of creating nonessential amino acids. An individual’s body makes them by using the essential amino acids that have already been consumed.

They are also produced when the existing proteins disintegrate. That is the reason why one doesn’t need to consume them from external sources.

Out of the total number of amino acids, these are eleven in number. They are synthesized within the human body in various ways. They are considered to be the building blocks of protein that carry out multiple essential functions.

They are extremely helpful in the removal of toxins. It also accelerates the functioning of the brain. Also, it assists in synthesizing Red Blood Cells and White Blood Cells in the body.

Apart from this, they serve many other functions. Usually, one doesn’t encounter a deficiency of these unless they are sick or aren’t receiving enough nutrition.

Since they are produced within the body by themselves, they need not be taken in from food items. A majority of these amino acids are formed from alpha ketoacids by undergoing a chemical process known as transamination.

They are also said to be created from the disintegration of glucose present in the body.

non essential amino acid

Main Differences Between Essential and Non Essential Amino Acid

  1. The body of an individual does not manufacture the essential amino acid as opposed to the non essential amino acids that the body is capable of manufacturing on its own.
  2. Essential Amino Acids are to be taken in from external sources, that is, via food, whereas non essential amino acids produce themselves. They do so by breaking down the protein components already available in the body or by using the pre-existing essential amino acids that may have been consumed by an individual.
  3. Out of the total number of amino acids existing in organisms, nine are essential, and the rest eleven are non essential amino acids.
  4. Essential amino acids serve to repair as well as build the tissues of muscles, whereas non essential amino acids work on removing certain toxins that are present in the body as well as help in synthesizing WBCs and RBCs.
  5. One can encounter a deficiency of essential amino acids, but it is quite unlikely for one to be found deficient in non essential amino acids.
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  1. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/78/2/250/4689932
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