Amino Acids

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 1107–1113

Dietary requirements of “nutritionally non-essential amino acids” by animals and humans

  • Guoyao Wu
  • Zhenlong Wu
  • Zhaolai Dai
  • Ying Yang
  • Weiwei Wang
  • Chuang Liu
  • Bin Wang
  • Junjun Wang
  • Yulong Yin
Invited Review

Abstract

Amino acids are necessary for the survival, growth, development, reproduction and health of all organisms. They were traditionally classified as nutritionally essential or non-essential for mammals, birds and fish based on nitrogen balance or growth. It was assumed that all “non-essential amino acids (NEAA)” were synthesized sufficiently in the body to meet the needs for maximal growth and health. However, there has been no compelling experimental evidence to support this assumption over the past century. NEAA (e.g., glutamine, glutamate, proline, glycine and arginine) play important roles in regulating gene expression, cell signaling, antioxidative responses, neurotransmission, and immunity. Additionally, glutamate, glutamine and aspartate are major metabolic fuels for the small intestine to maintain its digestive function and protect its mucosal integrity. Therefore, based on new research findings, NEAA should be taken into consideration in revising the classical “ideal protein” concept and formulating balanced diets to improve protein accretion, food efficiency, and health in animals and humans.

Keywords

Amino acids Food efficiency Health Metabolism Nutrition 

Abbreviations

AA

Amino acids

AMPK

AMP-activated protein kinase

EAA

Nutritionally essential amino acids

4EBP1

Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein-1

MTOR

Mechanistic target of rapamycin

NEAA

Nutritionally non-essential amino acids

NO

Nitric oxide

NRC

National Research Council

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guoyao Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhenlong Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhaolai Dai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ying Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Weiwei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chuang Liu
    • 2
  • Bin Wang
    • 2
  • Junjun Wang
    • 2
  • Yulong Yin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Animal NutritionChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Health and Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecology, Institute of Subtropical AgricultureThe Chinese Academy of Sciences, ChangshaHunanPeople’s Republic of China

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