Arginine and Other Amino Acids Essential to Dieters

Arginine is one of the 20 known amino acids that are vital for your survival. If you are a dieter, you are probably aiming to cut down on your overall food intake, amino acids included, to reduce the calories that can pile up as unsightly fat and cellulite. However, the roles played by amino acids are so important that avoiding them is probably not a very good idea. Moreover, intake of amino acids might even help you burn off all those excess calories.

Arginine for Weight Loss

Apart from being an essential amino acid, arginine is considered to be helpful in reducing body fat. Intake of arginine during weight training helps in attaining a leaner body by reducing body fat and improving muscle strength and bulk. It is believed that arginine helps stimulate muscle growth by promoting the release of growth hormones from the pituitary.

While there does not seem to be any obvious side effects at present, high doses of arginine appear to increase mortality rates if you recently suffered from a heart attack. Effects on the kidneys and liver are also unknown. Therefore, it is wise to consult your physician before deciding to take any arginine supplementation.

Amino Acids for Muscle Buildup

While all 20 amino acids are essential to make proteins, not all are required in the diet. Out of the 20, your cells can produce 10 amino acids from scratch, using raw materials already present and circulating in your body. These amino acids are serine, glycine, tyrosine, proline, aspartate, glutamate, alanine, cysteine, asparagine and glutamine. It is possible to be healthy even without intake of any of these nonessential amino acids.

The remaining half of the 20, however, are considered as essential amino acids because your diet is the only known source for them. These are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, histidine, arginine and leucine. Amino acids in the diet come primarily from high-protein food sources such as meat, fish and some vegetables. The highest-quality proteins – also known as high biological value proteins – are those that provide almost all the essential amino acids, and generally come from beef, pork and chicken.

Amino acids are essential primarily because they are the building blocks of all the proteins that are involved in practically every part and process in the human body. Proteins like collagen maintain the structural integrity of your body because these provide strength to cartilage, bones, muscles and blood vessels. Muscle itself is composed of proteins called actin and myosin, which are specialized for contraction and movement. The antibody defenses put up by your immune system against invading microbes are themselves proteins. All metabolic processes are dependent on protein catalysts called enzymes to make them run faster and more efficiently.

The diet should provide enough amino acids to make an adequate pool that will supply building blocks for protein synthesis. If you are aiming for a lean frame or a ripped body, high-quality proteins and amino acids should be available in your diet in order to support and sustain the growth and strengthening of your muscles while you work out.


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