Amino acids are found in abundance in the human body. Nitrogen-containing substances that form the structural framework of proteins and are believed to be vital in the maintenance of a healthy metabolism are known as amino acids. Although it appears that each individual amino acid has a particular purpose when examined individually, there is inadequate scientific evidence to support the claim that any one amino acid can perform its role without the assistance of other amino acids.

As a group, amino acids have the potential to participate in chemical reactions in the body that include:

o Stimulate the development and repair of tissue

o Maintain emotional stability

o Provides protection for nerves and aids in the function of the nervous system

o Develop and maintain strong bones and proper skeletal function.

• Create the protein required for muscular development.

Catabolism is reduced to a minimum.

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o Maintain the health and function of brain tissue and neurons.

Despite the fact that most of the literature speaks to the presence of 28, 26, 24, and perhaps 23 various amino acid types in the body, it is assumed that 20 amino acids are the primary constituents of protein. For excellent health to be maintained, eight of the twenty nutrients are deemed “essential” and must be supplied through dietary food sources or supplementation. There are three of the eight that are considered branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are being researched for their potential in lowering muscle catabolism and body fat, as well as in increasing immune system strength and intellectual function.

*This statement has not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.

There are eight amino acids that are absolutely necessary.

1) Tryptophan is an amino acid that causes you to feel tired after eating turkey or other poultry. Tryptophan has an effect on serotonin levels in the brain, which can affect your mood, cravings, and proclivity to addiction. Tryptophan also contributes in the manufacture of melatonin and, as a result, has the potential to influence sleep cycles.

Research on lysine reveals that this amino acid may have a beneficial effect on inflammation as well as strengthening bones and joints, among other advantages. At the time of this writing, medical studies suggested that lysine could be beneficial in the treatment of osteoporosis and herpes.

The amino acid methionine aids in the breakdown of lipids and the elimination of excessive heavy metals from the body through the digestive tract. The amino acid methionine may be turned into cysteine, which is a precursor to glutathione, and is therefore found in many body-cleansing formulations and supplements (a tripeptide that plays a role in nutrient metabolism, the regulation of cellular events and is of prime importance in detoxifying the liver).

4) Phenylalanine is an amino acid that has been shown to be harmful to people who have PKU (Phenylketonuria). It is also an amino acid that makes up approximately 50% of the artificial sweetener aspartame. Many nutritionists believe that when phenylalanine is ingested as a standalone nutrient rather than as part of a well-balanced amino acid regimen, it can do more harm than good. Phenylalanine is a precursor of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which are associated with addictive behavior and the proclivity to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Prior to consuming this amino acid, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of doing so.

5. Threonine is thought to aid in the formation of collagen and elastin, according to some sources. Threonine has the potential to improve the immune system by boosting the generation of antibodies and T-cells, as well as by stimulating the growth and function of the thymus gland.

6) Valine is one of three Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) that the body uses to provide energy for muscle growth and repair. It promotes muscular growth and recuperation while also assisting in the maintenance of a healthy nitrogen balance in the body. It is believed that valine, as a BCAA, works in conjunction with leucine and isoleucine to reduce cortisol levels in the body, which is a hormone that is responsible for muscle catabolism.

In addition to helping to manage blood sugar levels and develop and repair muscle tissue, leucine is a BCAA. Leucine aids in the recovery of muscles after damage or stress, and it also plays a role in the regulation of energy in the body. Leucine may also be beneficial in preventing muscle catabolism.*

8) Isoleucine is a BCAA that is involved in the production of hemoglobin and the coagulation of blood (a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen).

* Isoleucine is an amino acid that helps to regulate blood sugar and energy levels in the body.

*This statement has not been reviewed by the FDA.

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Non-essential amino acids that are important

Three of the twelve “non-essential” amino acids have received widespread attention, primarily because amino acid research is still in its early stages and the significance of non-essential amino acids in the diet is still being investigated.

Glycine aids in the delivery of oxygen, which is necessary for cell formation. Glycine is essential for the generation of hormones as well as the power of the immune system.

A substance known as glutamic acid is claimed to improve mental sharpness, accelerate healing, and counteract weariness.

In addition to protecting nerve fibers, serine helps to create antibodies for the immune system. Serine is a glycogen storage molecule that is found in the liver and muscles.

When the body is in good health, the remaining nine non-essential amino acids can all be produced by the body. These amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparaginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, histidine, proline, lysine, tryptophan, valine and tyrosine.

Amino acid sources are plentiful.

Every living plant and animal is claimed to have amino acids, however they come in a variety of forms and concentrations. Among the animal sources of amino acids are dairy products, red meat, fish and chicken; among the vegetable sources of amino acids are nuts, grains, beans, peas and soy, which may be found almost anywhere that vegetable protein can be found. Recent years have seen an increase in the amount of attention paid to amino acid supplementation by nutritionists and nutritional supplement firms, although research into the health benefits of amino acid supplementation has been limited.

According to the majority of nutritionists and dietitians, the majority of people obtain sufficient amounts of amino acids through a well-balanced diet. Individuals with medical conditions, as well as those who do not consume enough protein, may be at risk of malnutrition.

Benefits and claims relating to amino acids

Despite the absence of clinical data to support their efficacy and health claims, amino acid supplements for fitness training, weight loss, and certain chronic psychological and physiological illnesses have been vigorously advertised and sold in the United States.

Of Course, Claims made by dietary supplement makers that amino acid supplementation can increase the strength and size of bodybuilders’ muscles as well as the endurance of runners and other sports have not been proven.

According to the supplement industry, amino acids are essential in the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the body, and because NO enhances blood flow, more nutrients are supplied to muscles, causing them to expand. Critics, on the other hand, argue that this development may be transient and that it is simply the product of increased water retention by muscles.

It is currently believed that the holistic use of amino acids to stabilize mood disorders, ease allergy symptoms, reduce the likelihood of heart and gastrointestinal problems, balance cholesterol and blood sugar levels, aid muscle weakness and fatigue, aid sleep and attention disorders and improve cognitive function has no scientific basis.