I want to understand the amino acids missing in certain vegetables. I looked up the US recommendations for amino acids (source: wikipedia).
I don’t understand why they pair
- Methionine + Cysteine: 25 mg/g protein
- Phenylalanine + Tyrosine: 47 mg/g protein
I searched for a justification but I cannot find one. While I acknowledge the chemical and structural similarities between them, they are separate amino acids. If these pairs could simply be transformed from one to another, then why bother considering methionine and phenylalanine to be essential? If you could easily convert cysteine to methionine, then methionine could be manufactured by the body. Similarly, so could phenylalanine. But it is commonly assumed this does not occur. Thus, an answer based on the idea that they can be "easily transformed into one another", if true, needs to address these issues.
Here are references for methionine:
The intimate relation between amino acids and protein and nitrogen requirements is well recognized. Nutrition research has focused on the capacity of food to meet the need for nitrogen and indispensable amino acids (IAA) and led to the conclusion that the quality, not just the quantity, of protein is critical. This is especially relevant in regard to the sulfur amino acids (SAA) methionine and cysteine because of the increased understanding of their relation to chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, dementia, cirrhosis), immunomodulation, DNA transcription, and RNA translation. Considerable effort has been expended to determine whether and to what extent cysteine can spare the requirement for the IAA methionine. In vivo studies in humans generally concur that the dietary requirement of the SAA ranges between 13 and 16 mg/kg/d, but how much can be met by cysteine relative to methionine remains controversial.
Using the indicator amino acid oxidation (IAAO) approach to further examine this issue, Di Buono et al. (9–11) confirmed the mean requirement for methionine as 12.6 mg/kg/d in the absence of exogenous cysteine but noted that a safe level of intake of total SAA for the population was substantially higher at 21 mg/kg/d.
Conclusion: On the basis of the 24-h IAAO and 24-h IAAB methods, a mean phenylalanine requirement of 38 mg/kg/d is proposed for healthy well-nourished Indian adults in the absence of tyrosine intake. This finding is similar to that in Western adults.
Anura V Kurpad, Meredith M Regan, Tony DS Raj, Vidya N Rao, Justin Gnanou, Vernon R Young; The daily phenylalanine requirement of healthy Indian adults, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 83, Issue 6, 1 June 2006, Pages 1331–1336
- Why would amino acid requirements be grouped together?
- If methionine is considered an essential amino acid, wouldn't grouping it with cysteine allow a food high in cysteine to appear as though it is satisfying your methionine requirement?
- Suppose I consume 12.6 mg/kg/d of methionine, would this affect my ability to consume cysteine?
- If the recommended level of methionine and cysteine is 19 mg/kg/d and this article proposes 12.6 mg/kg/d, then is it logical to consume approximately 6.4mg/kg/d of cysteine?
- If true, would the same logic apply to phenylalanine and tyrosine?