What are the Nine Essential Amino Acids?

You have probably heard of the “nine essential amino acids”, but most of us don’t know exactly what that means. You might remember something along the lines of amino acids being the building blocks of life from your days in school. Again, that doesn’t tell us a whole hell of a lot. The truth is that there are 20 amino acids which are important to your overall health. The nine essential amino acids are classified that way for a different reason.

With this in mind, today we will define essential amino acids, what makes them unique, review each individual essential amino acid, and discuss why these potent ingredients are ideal for creating a daily moisturizing cream for hard working men.

What Makes an Amino Acid “Essential”?

What Makes an Amino Acid “Essential”?

Merriam-Webster defines an essential amino acid as “any of various amino acids that are required for normal health and growth in many vertebrates, are either not manufactured in the body or manufactured in insufficient quantities”. So there are two key components which are true of all essential amino acids:

  1. They are required for proper health in humans (and other animals).
  2. They are not produced by our bodies at all or in sufficient amounts for proper health.

This is distinct from the 20 amino acids we referenced in the introduction because our bodies actually produce the other 11 amino acids in sufficient quantities. These types of amino acids are called “nonessential amino acids”. Nonessential amino acids include glutamine, alanine, glutamic acid,  arginine, glycine, asparagine, tyrosine, aspartic acid, serine, proline, and cysteine.

The Nine (9) Essential Amino Acids 

The Nine (9) Essential Amino Acids

Now that we understand the meaning of essential amino acids, what are the nine essential amino acids which we must find from outside sources?


Known for being hydrophobic (naturally repels water), valine is found in abundance near the interior of a wide range of proteins. Valine is quite similar to threonine, another essential amino acid. Valine is a key amino acid when it comes to muscular and tissue strength and rebuilding tissue.


A potent antioxidant, histidine also may protect the skin from sun damage. For skin health, these two factors combine to keep skin healthy, protected, and youthful. Histidine is often used as a stabilizing agent for the protein building process. 


Isoleucine is one of the more unique essential amino acids as it aids the body in the healing process, detoxification process, auto-immuno process, and even with the production of certain hormones. For skincare products, these natural healing properties all help skin to repair and restore itself.


Leucine is one of three branched chain amino acids. Leucine is used as a source of energy during rigorous activity and is a key component in tissue repair, muscle building, and recovery. This not only prevents muscles from deteriorating, but actively builds new muscle as well.


Another essential amino acid responsible for tissue and muscle repair, lysine specifically aids with collagen production. Collagen is a vital component of healthy skin, muscles, and connective tissue. Lysine is also used to treat, prevent, and manage cold sores. 


Like Isoleucine, methionine is an effective detoxifying agent for situations like acetaminophen overdose. This is partially due to methionine’s ability to increase healing, support liver health, and even prevent liver damage. When used on skin, the antioxidant properties of methionine fight free radicals, preventing premature aging. 


Phenylalanine is another core essential amino acid for synthesizing proteins and enzymes. In other words, this is a true building block of your body. As part of this process, phenylalanine can also synthesize L-Tyrosine, a nonessential amino acid which helps moisturizers penetrate deeper within the skin to restore, renew, and repair damaged skin.


Like lysine, threonine is responsible for promoting the formation of collagen in addition to elastin. Elastin is a protein which is named after the “elastic” properties it gives to our skin. Without threonine and elastin, our skin would be weak, dry, and unable to respond to outside stimuli.


Tryptophan is probably most famous for those sleepy evenings after Thanksgiving turkey. In reality, that tired feeling is much more likely due to overeating than tryptophan itself. However, tryptophan is effective in treating symptoms of PMDD, to assist with quitting tobacco products, and even athletic performance. Tryptophan is the only essential amino acid with no direct benefits when used as a topical.

HEFF for Hands, Elbows, and Feet Contains 18 Amino Acids to Repair Damaged Skin

HEFF for Hands, Elbows, and Feet Contains 18 Amino Acids to Repair Damaged Skin

HEFF daily moisturizing cream for men harnesses the power of 8 essential amino acids and 18 total amino acids to deliver unparalleled relief for dry, cracked skin. Our product was scientifically formulated by a team of doctors, chemists, and researchers with a singular goal in mind: create a product that can repair, restore, and renew very dry and/or damaged skin. The final result is a daily use moisturizing cream for hands, elbows, and feet. HEFF utilizes all three of the moisturizing pillars to offer deep relief for even the most cracked, chapped, and beat up skin.
Every purchase of HEFF supports military and first responder personnel through Operation Gratitude. We are proud to donate a tube of HEFF for every tube purchased. To give HEFF a try today, find us at any one of the following national retailers, shop on Amazon, or feel free to contact us directly.