Currently many people are boosting overall health with nutrition amino acids.
The Important Role of Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins and play an important role in health and well-being. Proteins include hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, blood cells, connective tissue and cell membranes and require amino acids for their synthesis. Many other amino acids have other roles, such as being substrates for energy production. Since the body can only produce non-essential amino acids and not the “essential” amino acids, those amino acids must be acquired through diet and/or supplements.
Essential Amino Acids
The essential amino acids include:
- Histidine-conditionally classed as essential since it may be required in the diet of infants but not in adults. This amino acid is involved in connective tissue production and hemoglobin formation and stimulates gastric acids. It also helps another amino acid that protects the skin from UV radiation.
- Lysine-is essential for cell division and for connective tissue such as collagen and elastin as well as for carnitine synthesis.
- Methionine-(a sulphur-containing amino acid) required for the synthesis, utilization and/or activation of other substances. These can include hormones (adrenalin), neurotransmitters (acetylcholine), the antioxidant glutathione, nucleic acids and other nutrients (selenium, CoQ10, vitamin B12 and folic acid).
- Phenylalanine-stimulates production of some hormones, is a major precursor to tyrosine and affects gut function.
- Threonine- needed for connective tissue integrity, produces energy, is a precursor of serine and glycine and has immune properties.
- Tryptophan-a precursor for melatonin, serotonin and niacin (vitamin B3).
- Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine-(branched chain amino acids) make up approximately 35% of the body’s muscle proteins and are widely taken by bodybuilders to build muscle bulk. They are specifically for protein synthesis and make up approximately 50% of the dietary protein amino acids. They are mainly broken down in the skeletal muscle.
Non-Essential Amino Acids
The remaining amino acids help in maintaining healthy connective tissues, produce energy, help cells in the body function, and work in combination with other amino acids. These are termed non-essential amino acids and are produced by the body.
Incorporating Amino Acids Into Your Diet
Since the body needs help in providing itself with amino acids, a number of nutritionists recommend supplements. Since exercise is also highly recommended for the maintenance of optimum health, many supplements address the fact that the body needs help in rebuilding itself after exercise. When the body’s protein levels are depleted after a strenuous workout, muscle breakdown (catabolism) results.
By consuming a whey protein blend, the body can recover faster and decrease the level of catabolism. Another supplement called creatine can also minimize catabolism by entering the cell and produce more energy and muscle bulk. As with any supplements, prudence must be exercised so that no damage is caused by using any supplement excessively.