Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Amino Acids Boost Brain, Adrenal, Thyroid and Heart

Protein is the second most abundant substance in our body, only water is more plentiful. Proteins are composed of amino acids, linked together by peptide bonds. When we eat protein the body must break these bonds in the digestive tract. Then single amino acids, or amino acids in short chains, are absorbed into the body, where they are reassembled into whatever substance the body needs. Some amino acids can be manufactured in the body from other amino acids and are thus called non-essential. They are alanine, aspartic acid, arginine, citrulline, glutamic acid, glycine, hydroxyglumatic acid, hydroxyproline, norleucine, proline, and serine. The amino acids that the body cannot produce and need to be taken in through the diet are called essential. They are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Branched chain amino acids have a branch in their structure. They are leucine, isoleucine and valine. Amino acid complexes can be used for many different health and performance enhancing purposes. Recently high protein diets have made protein a popular supplement for weight loss. Protein slows the rate at which sugar enters the body. By avoiding spikes in blood sugar protein minimizes the storage of sugar as fat. Individuals with blood sugar imbalances, like diabetes and hypoglycemia, will benefit from protein’s regulation of blood sugar. Protein also builds muscle tissue, which burns more energy than other body tissue and can lead to weight loss. Athletes, people who perform physical labour and anyone who is physically active requires protein to repair their tissue and build more lean tissue. People who are recovering from illness or long periods of inactivity require protein to rebuild their body tissue. The immune system is dependent on protein to make cells that protect our body. Frequent colds and flus and chronic infections are signs that the body may need more protein. The benefit to using amino acid supplements over protein is that the amino acids are easier for the body to absorb. There are a large variety of amino acid supplements and amino acid processing techniques. In general, look for amino acid supplements prefaced by the letter L (such as L-arginine). These are more similar to the amino acids in the body than are amino acid supplements prefaced by the letter D. Amino acid supplements are available as tablets, powder, liquid and capsules. The quality of amino acid supplements is apparent in their price. Higher quality formulas use superior processing techniques, have the amino acids in proper ratios for optimal absorption and avoid adding binders and fillers. Here are some of the more common processing techniques and types of amino complexes: Free-Form – Free form amino acids do not have to be digested. They are absorbed through the small intestine, into bloodstream and become quickly available to muscle or other tissues. They help to prevent muscle breakdown. They tend to be more expensive as a supplement. Di-Tripeptides - Two or three molecule amino acids that are quickly digested and absorbed. May significantly increase the amount of amino acids that the muscle takes in because of the slightly slower rate of intake. These supplements are costly and not widely available. Protein tablets – Protein powder is compressed into tablets for ease of intake. This protein is no different than the protein powder supplements. Amino acids are still in protein chains and the body still needs to break them down. Branched chain amino acids – These amino acids have a branch in their structure. When taken in by the muscle the branch can be broken to release energy. Muscles can use this energy during contractions. Branched chain supplements can have different ratios. Optimal ratio for normal use is 2:1:1 (leucine : isoleucine : valine). These supplements are relatively expensive. The strategy behind using amino acids for optimal uptake into the muscles is a science unto its own. If you are interested in optimizing your athletic performance obtain more information about amino acids from reputable fitness sources. Do not take high amounts of supplemental amino acids if you have impaired kidney function. Pregnant women should only consume amino acids under the supervision of a health professional. Certain amino acids can be toxic in excessive amounts, including aspartic acid, glutamic acid, homocysteine, cysteine, serine, and tryptophan. Take amino acid supplements at least 1/2 hour before or after a meal to maximize their absorption. If you take an individual amino acid supplement for longer than one month, take it with an amino acid complex. This will ensure that you do not deplete the levels of any amino acid in the body.

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