Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life as well as a source of energy by the body. When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. The human body uses amino acids to make proteins to help the body:
- Break down food
- Repair body tissue
Amino acids are classified into three groups:
Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food.
The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
"Non-essential" means that our bodies produce an amino acid, even if we don't get it from the food we eat. They include: alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid.
Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress. They include: arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.
Tryptophan is needed for normal growth in infants and for nitrogen balance in adults.
The body uses tryptophan to help make niacin and serotonin. Serotonin is thought to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood.
In order for tryptophan in the diet to be changed into niacin, the body needs to have enough: Iron, Riboflavin and Vitamin B6.
Tryptophan can be found in: Cheese, Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Milk, Nuts, Peanut butter, Peanuts, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Soy, Tofu and Turkey.
A branched-chain essential amino acid that has stimulant activity. It promotes muscle growth and tissue repair. It is a precursor in the penicillin biosynthetic pathway.Leucine, isoleucine and valine, make up about one-third of muscle protein.
An isomer of LEUCINE; it is important in hemoglobin synthesis and regulation of blood sugar and energy levels.
An essential branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) important for hemoglobin formation; unique among amino acids for its regulatory roles in metabolism, including translational control of protein synthesis and glycemic regulation
Together, insulin and leucine allow skeletal muscle to coordinate protein synthesis with physiological state and dietary intake.
Histidine is required for the production of HISTAMINE.
S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) is produced in the body from Methionine
SAMe might be helpful for depression, osteoarthritis, and a liver condition that can occur during pregnancy.
Methionine is an important cartilage-forming substance and plays an important role in the synthesis of other proteins, such as carnitine or melatonine. It also has a fat-dissolving effect and reduces the depositing of fat in the liver.
Besides cysteine, methionine is the only sulphur-containing amino acid.
The cartilage in the joints requires sulphur for its production. If there is not enough sulphur available in the body, this can have negative effects for the healthy individual over the long term. Those who suffer from arthritis can experience negative effects such as a prolonged healing process for the damaged tissue, if there is a sulphur deficiency at the beginning of the illness.
Lysine plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. Lysine appears to help the body absorb calcium, and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage.
Not enough lysine can cause fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, slow growth, anemia, and reproductive disorders.
Some studies have found that taking lysine on a regular basis may help prevent outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes.
Phenylalanine is a precursor of MELANIN; DOPAMINE; noradrenalin (NOREPINEPHRINE), and THYROXINE.
The body changes phenylalanine into tyrosine, another amino acid that’s needed to make proteins, brain chemicals, including L-dopa, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, and thyroid hormones. Because norepinephrine affects mood, different forms of phenylalanine have been proposed to treat depression. Symptoms of phenylalanine deficiency include confusion, lack of energy, depression, decreased alertness, memory problems, and lack of appetite.
Threonine is found in eggs, milk, gelatin, and other proteins; in the body it is changed to a chemical called glycine, which works in the brain to reduce constant and unwanted muscle contractions.
It is used to treat various nervous system disorders including spinal spasticity, multiple sclerosis, familial spastic paraparesis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease).