An amino acid that is a constituent of most proteins. It is an essential nutrient in the diet of vertebrates.
- Key essential amino acids are valine, leucine, isoleucine, tryptophan and methionine.
- Two known enzymes catabolize the essential amino acid tryptophan in mammals.
- For example, eggs are high in alanine and methionine; whey protein is high in tryptophan and threonine.
Late 19th century: from tryptic 'relating to trypsin' + Greek phainein 'appear'.
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