Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. You must get them from complete protein foods or combinations of incomplete vegetable foods. See table on the right for list of essential aminos. Your body can make non-essential amino acids by itself from vitamins and other amino acids.
The term “non-essential” can be misleading since all amino acids are essential for proper metabolism. There are some non-essential amino acids, such as glutamine, that are very essential in the process of muscle tissue repair. The 13 non-essential amino acids are listed in the table on the right.
The essential BCAAs are of special importance for athletes because they are metabolized in the muscle, rather than in the liver. This means they are more likely to be used to build muscle rather than burned as fuel for energy.