Intestinal Amino Acid Transport and Metabolic Health

Annu Rev Nutr. 2023 Aug 21:43:73-99. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-061121-094344. Epub 2023 Jun 7.


Amino acids derived from protein digestion are important nutrients for the growth and maintenance of organisms. Approximately half of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids can be synthesized by mammalian organisms, while the other half are essential and must be acquired from the nutrition. Absorption of amino acids is mediated by a set of amino acid transporters together with transport of di- and tripeptides. They provide amino acids for systemic needs and for enterocyte metabolism. Absorption is largely complete at the end of the small intestine. The large intestine mediates the uptake of amino acids derived from bacterial metabolism and endogenous sources. Lack of amino acid transporters and peptide transporter delays the absorption of amino acids and changes sensing and usage of amino acids by the intestine. This can affect metabolic health through amino acid restriction, sensing of amino acids, and production of antimicrobial peptides.

Keywords: amino acids; digestion; epithelial cells; membrane transport; protein restriction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids
  • Animals
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents*
  • Biological Transport
  • Enterocytes
  • Humans
  • Intestines*
  • Mammals
  • Nutritional Status


  • Amino Acids
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents