Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are crucial to life. There are 20 different amino acids used in the human body; dogs need 18 of them. The two amino acids they don’t require are cysteine and glutamine, which they can make within their own cells. Amino acids can be found in animal sources (meat), plant sources (grains), or synthetic supplements.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. You can think of amino acids as the “alphabet” of protein-building, with 20 different letters to choose from. Proteins are made up of long strings of amino acids, like words in a sentence or lines in a poem.
There are two main types of proteins: essential and non-essential. Essential proteins are ones that your body needs but cannot make on its own, and must be consumed through food. Non-essential proteins are made by your body, so you don’t need to eat them for your body to function properly.
Amino acids are used by the body for many things, including making enzymes (substances that speed up chemical reactions), antibodies (substances that fight off disease), hormones (substances that control processes in our bodies), neurotransmitters (substances that transmit nerve signals between different parts of our bodies), hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying component in red blood cells), and many more!