amino acid: building block of proteins, necessary dietary nutrient protein: complex molecule composed of amino acids that performs vital functions in the cell; necessary part of the diet oxygen: O2, atmospheric gas required by all animals diet: the total daily food intake, or the types of foods eaten carbohydrate: food molecule made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, including sugars and starches lipid: fats, waxes, and steroids; important components of cell membranes molecule: combination of atoms that form stable particles pH: level of acidity, with low numbers indicating high acidity
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body has twenty different amino acids that act as these building blocks. Nonessential amino acids are those that the body can synthesize for itself, provided there is enough nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen available. Essential amino acids are those supplied by the diet, since the human body either cannot make them at all or cannot make them in sufficient quantity to meet its needs. Under normal conditions, eleven of the amino acids are nonessential and nine are essential.
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