Nucleic acids

Nucleic acids are vital part of all living things. They are important parts of the genetic material of the cells. Certain foods have high content of nucleic acids in them. These are beneficial for the body! Which are these foods? And what are their health benefits?

What are nucleic acids?

Nucleic acids are chains formed of nucleotides. These nucleotides are the building blocks of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). These contain the genetic information of each cell.

Nucleic acids are essential for the cellular functions and activities. Without them, life is impossible. They contain all the information that helps the cells to grow, proliferate, reproduce and perform various functions of the body.

Nucleic acids
Nucleic acids (Source: Science Notes)

Though there is no supporting studies on them, there are some people who claim about the health benefits of consuming these acids. These acids are found in certain foods. And proponents claim that eating these foods has benefits for health.

Health benefits claimed!

The human body can manufacture these acids from the scratch. It can use amino acids that are absorbed from the gut and make these nucleic acids. These acids also come from the foods we eat.

Some of the health benefits claimed are that they can boost the immune system. Advocates also state that they aid in quick muscle recovery after trauma or injury. Moreover, they improve the digestive system functions. They regulate body metabolism and also reduce the oxidative stress in the body. Thus, they can help overcome various chronic diseases and cancer.

Though human body can synthesize these acids 100%, during times of stress the body might have to rely on external sources of these essential acids for it. Hence, one should know of the foods that are rich in them. Which foods have the highest content of these acids?

Nucleic acids
Foods rich in nucleic acids (Source: Livestrong)


It is the richest source of these compounds. 100 grams of meat has around 1.5–8 grams of these substances. Data about it is limited and old. There are no new research studies on these acids in foods.

Meat is also loaded with iron, zinc, protein, and vitamin B12. But red meat and processed meat both are bad for health. Hence, opt to consume lean and unprocessed meat for health reasons.

Fish and other seafoods

Fish contains a lot of these acids. 100 grams of it contains 1.5 to 8 grams of them. Moreover, these aquatic food items are high in omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, protein, iodine and vitamin D. American Health Association recommends having at least two servings of fish per day.

There is a word of caution here since some fish are contaminated with heavy metals. These can lead to heavy metal poisoning especially in children, pregnant and lactating mothers.

Crustaceans and mollusks have fair quantities of nucleic acids; around 0.5 to 1.5 g in 100 g. Moreover, they have healthy fats, zinc, iron, protein and vitamin B12. These too can be contaminated with heavy metals and one should be careful while purchasing.

Nucleic acids
Nucleic acids in foods (Source: Healthline)


100 g of mushrooms contain 0.5 to 1.5 g of the acids. Moreover, these are rich in vitamin B complex, dietary fiber, copper and antioxidants. They are good for gut and reduce blood cholesterol.

Read here: How to reduce risk of food poisoning with lentils consumption?

Lentils, beans and peas

These legumes have around 0.5 to 1.5 g of the acids in 100 grams. They are also good sources of protein, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, and folate. These also have antioxidants that protect against various diseases.