Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 different amino acids which can be differentiated into two groups, based on their requirements in the human body.

  • Essential amino acids
  • Non-essential amino acids

Essential amino acids, also known as indispensible amino acids, are not produced in the body in enough quantities to meet our requirements. Out of the 20 amino acids, nine are said to be essential amino acids. The rest of the amino acids can be synthesized by transamination to meet the requirements of the body if enough nitrogen is present in the diet. The carbon skeleton of essential amino acids cannot be created and this is why indispensible amino acids are regarded as essentials in diet.

The following is a list of essential amino acids for the human body:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

The protein sources which deliver most of these amino acids are considered complete sources of protein. e.g. Milk casein, Egg albumin

Whereas, the protein sources which lack in essential amino acids are considered as incomplete sources of protein. E.g. Zein


The Recommended Dietary Allowance of essential amino acids are as follows:

Source: FSSAI


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