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What is a complete Amino acid profile?

A complete amino acid profile refers to the presence of all nine essential amino acids in sufficient quantities that the body cannot synthesize on its own and must obtain from dietary sources. These essential amino acids are critical for various bodily functions, including protein synthesis, tissue repair, and nutrient absorption. The nine essential amino acids are:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

Importance of a Complete Amino Acid Profile

A complete amino acid profile is important for several reasons:

  • Protein Synthesis: Proteins are made up of amino acids, and a complete profile ensures that the body can produce the proteins needed for muscle growth, enzyme production, and other vital functions.
  • Muscle Maintenance and Growth: Essential amino acids are particularly important for athletes and bodybuilders for muscle repair and growth.
  • Immune Function: Amino acids play a role in the production of antibodies and other immune system components.
  • Metabolic Pathways: They are involved in various metabolic pathways, influencing energy production and nutrient metabolism.

Sources of Complete Amino Acid Profiles

Some foods naturally contain all nine essential amino acids, making them complete protein sources. These include:

  • Animal-based proteins: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
  • Plant-based proteins: Quinoa, soy products (tofu, tempeh, edamame), buckwheat, and chia seeds.

Combining Foods to Achieve a Complete Amino Acid Profile

While many plant-based foods do not individually contain all essential amino acids, combining different plant-based sources can provide a complete amino acid profile. This practice is known as complementary protein combining. Examples include:

  • Rice and beans
  • Peanut butter and whole-grain bread
  • Hummus and pita bread


Understanding and incorporating a complete amino acid profile in your diet is essential for maintaining optimal health. Whether through consuming complete proteins from animal or plant sources or combining different plant-based foods, ensuring you get all nine essential amino acids supports overall bodily function, muscle maintenance, immune health, and more.

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Dr. Roland Geyer

10+ years experience in NMR-based metabolomics and diagnostic.

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