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  • HOME >> NUTRITION >> WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS?

      Amino Acids are the chemical components or building blocks of PROTEIN, which the body requires for growth, maintenance, repair and the manufacture of various hormones, antibodies and enzymes. They all contain nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.

      There are twenty-four amino acids in all, they are either essential or nonessential. They are often referenced with the letter "L" in the front of them.

      Essential amino acids, meaning that the body cannot synthesize them in sufficient quantities to satisfy the nutritional requirements for good health and that they must be included in the your diet. There are eight of them: L-isoleucine, L-leucine, L- lysine, L-methionine, L-phenylalanine, L-tryptophan, L-threonine, and L-valine. Two others, L-arginine and L-histidine, are essential for children.

      Nonessential aminos are manufactured internally in the quantities the body requires. Their names are glycine, L-alanine, L-asparagine, L-aspartic acid, L-citrulline, L-cysteine, L-cystine, L-glutamic acid, L-glutamine, L-ornithine, L-proline, L-serine, taurine, and L-tyrosine.

      There are three amino acids called Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's). They are Leucine, isoleucine and valine. They're very important for muscle repair and muscle growth following heavy weight training. They are responsible for fifty percent of post training amino acids; supply 10-20 percent of your high intensity workout energy; during the day they supply one third of your amino acid; they comprise 70 percent of your body's protein.

    The nine essential amino acids are:

    L-HISTIDINE - Vital to to tissue growth, important in the production of red and white blood cells

    L-ISOLEUCINE - Found abundantly in most foods. Isoleucine is found in especially high amounts in meats, fish, cheese, most seeds and nuts, eggs, chickens and lentils. In the human body Isoleucine is concentrated in the muscle tissues. Isoleucine is necessary for hemoglobin formation and in stabilizing and regulating blood sugar and energy levels. One of the branched chain amino acids that promotes muscle growth and recovery. The other two are leucine and valine.

    L-LEUCINE - is intricately involved in a large number of critical metabolic processes, ranging from the production of red and white blood cells to regulating antibody activity. Histidine also helps to maintain the myelin sheaths which surround and insulate nerves. In particular, Histidine has been found beneficial for the auditory nerves, and a deficiency of this vital amino acid has been noted in cases of nerve deafness.

    L-LYSINE - L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that is crucial for body proteins. Children must have this for bones and proper growth. It aids in the production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes. It is very important for the formation of collagen. It helps with tissue repair and helps lower triglycerides. Whether it is a sports injury or surgery, include this for recovery because it helps build muscle protein. It is very important in healing and preventing cold sores and herpes viruses. If you are deficient in lysine you will be irritable, have very little energy, bloodshot eyes, hair loss and problems concentrating.

    L-METHIONINE - Removes poisonous wastes from the liver and assists in the regeneration of liver and kidney tissue.

    L-PHENYLALANINE - his amino acid is used to treat depression. The brain uses it to create norepinephrine. It aids in learning and helps obesity. Helps overcome depression and elevates moods. It also helps with pain. CAUTION: Do not use if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or with preexisting pigmented melanoma (specific type of cancer).

    L-THREONINE - One of the amino detoxifiers. Prevents fatty buildup in the liver.

    L-TRYPTOPHAN - Stimulates secretion of serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect on the body. Used in treatment of insomnia, stress, and migraines.

    L-VALINE - One of the branched chain amino acids that promotes muscle growth and recovery. See L-ISOLUECINE

    The Branched Chain amino acids are

    their best sources are meat, fish, fowl, eggs and dairy products. In addition, CYSTEINE (cystine) and TYROSINE, sometimes classified as NONESSENTIAL

    AMINO ACIDS, are now considered semi essential because if the diet contains them (meat, milk, fish, poultry and legumes are good sources), the body can use them in place of two essential amino acids methionine and phenylalanine, respectively to make protein.

    The nonessential amino acids?

    L-ALANINE Major component of connective tissue Key intermediate in the glucose-alanine cycle, which allows muscles and other tissues to derive energy from amino acids Helps build up the immune system

    L-ARGININECan increase secretion of insulin, glucagon, growth hormones Aids in injury rehabilitation, formation of collagen and immune system stimulation Precursor of creatine, gamma amino butric acid (GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain) May increase sperm count and T-lymphocyte response

    L-ASPARAGINE An important factor in the metabolic processes of the nervous system

    L-ASPARTIC ACID Involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to muscle energy. A building block of the immune system immunoglobulins and antibodies

    L-GLUTAMIC Helps memory and concentration and aids in neutralizing the catabolic effects of cortisol, which is released from strenuous exercise.

    L-GLUTAMINE It is converted into L-Glutamic Acid in the brain and feeds the brain, preventing fatigue and depression. This amino acid also increases GABA that is needed. It improves intelligence and is useful in helping control alcoholism. It reduces the desire for chocolate. It is considered anti-aging. For depression, fatigue and impotence, begin with 500 mgs. daily increasing to 2000 mgs. over a period of two months.

    L-GLYCINEVital fir the manufacture of amino acids in the body and in the structure of red blood cells. Glucose and creatine phosphate (CP), two substances turn to energy production.

    L-PROLINE A major ingredient in the formation of connective tissue.

    L-SERINE Takes part in the the production of cellular energy and the formation of acetylcholine, a paramount brain chemical that aids memory and the function of the nervous system.

    L-TAURINEThis amino acid is very important to white blood cells, the central nervous system, the heart muscle, and skeletal muscle. It is a building block of all amino acids. It is an important part of bile; it plays a part in digestion of fats. It helps absorption of fat soluble vitamins and helps control cholesterol. The body synthesizes this amino acid-- it is not found in most animal protein. It is helpful in hypoglycemia, hypertension, edema, heart disorders and artherosclerosis. A deficiency can cause hyperactivity, epilepsy and poor brain function.

    The information on these pages were derived from medical, nutritional and media publications. It is not intended for medical or nutritional claims, but for informational and educational purposes. Please consult your doctor before consideration of the use of supplementation. These supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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