What Is Histidine?
Histidine is an essential amino acids. Amino acids are are chemicals that are very important to life on Earth. These chemicals are what creates proteins and enzymes that allow life on the planet to occur. An amino acid has a very simple structure that is made up of an amino acid back bone and side group, or 'R' group.
The backbone of an amino acid is made up of an amine group or an -NH2 attached to a central carbon molecule followed by a carboxylic acid group, -COOH. The amine and carboxylic acid groups can donate hydrogen molecules or oxygen and hydrogen molecules to bind to other amino acids. The side chain, or R group, is located off of the central carbon and is essentially a finger print for every amino acid. Each R group is unique to the amino acid that is forms.
Amino acid structure
Types of Amino Acids
Amino acids come in two groups: essential or non-essential. Non-essential amino acids are the type that our bodies and other animal bodies can make from other chemicals. Essential amino acids are those amino acids that animals and humans must acquire in their diets because they cannot make them from other chemicals. Histidine is one of the nine essential amino acids.
Characterization of Histidine
Let's take a look at some of the characteristics of histidine.The chemical structure of histidine is C6H9N3O2. Histidine is notable because it has a ring structure in it's R group that contains two nitrogen groups. Histidine is characterized as being positively charged. When you are studying histidine you may see the abbreviation His or H. Those also refer to histidine.
Histidine is an essential amino acid.
Why Is Histidine Important?
Histidine is vital to life. Firstly, the nitrogen in the histidine side chain is used to capture protons form other molecules to shuttle them away and regenerate inactive enzymes. This allows the enzyme to become active again by opening up a receptor site, or a site that will allows another molecule to bind and be used for another purpose. Histidine can easily capture protons since it is positively charged and shuttle them away for use.
Histidine is also responsible for keeping a normal pH of 7 in the body by shuttling protons to maintain an acid/base balance in tissue and blood. Histidine is also vital in hemoglobin, the molecule that helps to shuttle oxygen around the body. Histidine helps to make the molecule that captures carbon monoxide unstable, causing carbon monoxide not to bind and oxygen to be more available. Lastly, histidine is also important in the Krebs cycle to produce alpha-ketoglutarate. This is a chemical that later becomes adenosine triphosphate or the energy currency of all life on the planet.
What Food Has Histidine?
Histidine is found in eggs; plant-based proteins, such as soy; dairy products; legumes and meat. Histidine can also be taken in a pill or supplemental form. By eating a balanced diet, humans should not have to worry about supplementation of histidine.
Histidine is an essential amino acid vital for animal life. Histidine has a chemical structure of C6H9N3O2. This amino acid has a ring structure that contains two nitrogens and is positively charged. Histidine is very important in hemoglobin, the Krebs cycle, proton shuttling and maintaining an acid/base balance in the blood and tissue of animals.