As discussed in a previous article, amino acids are absolutely essential to the basic processes that keep your body alive. Without them, none of your 50 trillion cells would be able to function. Unfortunately, without a nutritious, well-rounded diet, you may not be consuming enough amino acids on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of amino acids and why it may be beneficial for you to take amino acid supplements.
Essential Amino Acids
Since your body is unable to produce these types of amino acids on its own, it is essential that you consume them in your diet. Here are a few that you may want to consider supplementing:
Leucine helps in regulating blood-sugar levels, promotes the growth and the recovery of muscle and bone tissues, as well as the production of the growth hormone. This amino acid is also known for preventing the breakdown of muscle proteins caused by injury or stress and, in addition, it may be beneficial for people suffering from phenylketonuria.
Lysine can help your gastrointestinal tract absorb calcium and reduce how much of this mineral is excreted into your urine. The compound can also increase the synthesis of collagen, a structural protein important in maintaining the health of connective tissue, including your cartilage, tendons and skin. Some studies show that lysine may help the body to balance stress and anxiety.
Since methionine contains sulfur, it plays an important role in building connective tissues. The production of collagen, cartilage, skin, nails, and hair all require healthy levels of methionine.
Phenylalanine is used to make brain chemicals that control mood, memory, energy, and appetite, and also manage pain. It is vital for maintaining good emotional health and stability. Symptoms of phenylalanine deficiency include confusion, lack of energy, depression, decreased alertness, memory problems, and lack of appetite.
Your body uses histidine for growth and recovery, so it is especially important for children and anyone suffering from injury or illness. Since the compound is also used to create histamine, it can help to reduce one’s sensitivity to allergens.
Isoleucine is a building block for the important structural and functional proteins your body needs to function, including the proteins that make up muscle, the antibodies used by your immune system, and a variety of hormones.
Threonine is required for the production of collagen, elastin, and muscle tissue. It helps keep connective tissues and muscles throughout the body strong and elastic, including the heart.
Tryptophan is important for digestion, skin and nerves, and the production of serotonin. Since serotonin is used by the brain to affect mood stability and sleep cycles, tryptophan is important for emotional health as well.
This amino acid helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue because it supplies the muscles with the extra glucose needed for energy production during physical activity. Valine also contributes to a smooth nervous system and to cognitive functioning.
- Part 2 – Conditionally Essential Amino Acids
- Part 3 – Non-Essential Amino Acids and How to Supplement
- Introduction to Amino Acids