5 Nonessential Amino Acids to Know 

by Melissa Chichester

Amino acids perform multiple functions related to cellular metabolism and are the building blocks of the protein.

Protein helps construct and maintain all of the critical structures in the body by repairing tissues, breaking down food, and much more. This contributes to growth and development in the human body. 

Amino acids are classified into three groups: 

  • Essential amino acids – Not made by the human body and must come from food
  • Nonessential amino acids –  Are made by the human body 
  • Conditional amino acids – Nonessential amino acids that become essential in certain circumstances 

Take note that “nonessential” doesn’t mean unimportant. There are 11 nonessential amino acids that are necessary for good health. Here are 5 of those nonessential amino acids to keep on your radar. 


L-Arginine is a source of cellular energy in the body that supports the effect of exercise.* It plays various roles in protein metabolism and helps support coronary blood flow and vascular function.*


L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps form the bioactive factors vital to cellular growth and maintenance.*


L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the blood and skeletal muscle. In addition, it’s highly concentrated in muscle, making it a popular supplement with bodybuilders and athletes. Intense exercise promotes glutamine formation and release from muscle.*

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Glycine is an amino acid produced by other amino acids. One of its most important jobs is being involved in the production of glutathione – one of the body’s most important antioxidants that naturally occurs in cells and helps fight against free radicals.* Glutathione also helps protect muscles from oxidative stress.*


L-Cysteine is an amino acid found in several of the proteins in the body, including many digestive enzymes. L-Cysteine is also one of the body’s chief sources of sulfur. 

Because NAC helps to make and replenish glutathione, taking it can help reinforce the body’s natural antioxidant defenses.*

If you’re looking for a supplement to support your overall health and wellness, NAC supplements can be a great choice.*

All living things require amino acids to make protein. Your body already makes 11 of the necessary amino acids, but others must be consumed through a healthy diet. Foods such as beef, eggs, poultry, soy, and quinoa are rich in amino acids. If you’re concerned about your amino acid intake, your physician can conduct testing to determine your personal needs. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.