Are There Free Amino Acids in the Body

Free amino acids are found in the body as a result of digestion of food protein and the absorption of amino acids as well as a product of protein breakdown in cells. Free amino acids account for about 1 percent of the amino acids in our body, the rest of course would be part of peptides and proteins. Most cells in the body have a small assortment of free amino acids, meaning they are independent and not linked to other amino acids as part of peptides and proteins. In addition there is a small amount of amino acids circulating in the blood, although this increases after a protein containing meal. Circulation provides a delivery system for diet derived amino acids to get to all tissue as well as a means for amino acids to be exchanged between tissue such as during fasting and exercise. Free amino acids in cells and in the blood are collectively referred to as the "amino acid pool" and these amino acids are available to make new body protein or amino acid-derived substances (for example, neurotransmitters, hormones, metabolic factors).

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