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The Importance of Amino Acids in Your Daily Regime
Amino Acids and Athletic Performance
There has been considerable research on the protein needs of athletes. Most experts and studies indicate that athletes who do endurance training or intense bodybuilding should consume up to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. High altitude athletes may need as much as 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram per day. This is up to twice the recommended daily allowance for protein for the average individual who does not exercise. Those athletes who under-eat protein can suffer from malnutrition or injuries during training exercises. More than the recommended amount for athletes does not help an athlete gain muscle mass, however.
Anabolic Amino Acids
One speculated benefit of amino acid supplementation is that those hormones that stimulate growth hormones in the body, such as Ornithine and Arginine, will increase the muscle mass of the athlete, changing the body composition and causing increases in muscle size. This can be accomplished by altering the diet or increasing the amount of amino acid supplementation using amino acid supplements. It is important to use a crystallized protein supplement and one that is NSF “Certified for Sport” so that this allows professional athletes to use the product without fear of become tested positive for illegal substances or anabolic steroids.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA), such as Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, generate energy for the body that is exercising and are called “ergogenic” amino acids. They reduce the exercise-caused degradation of protein and reduce muscle loss during intense exercise. Remember that the body will use muscle for energy if it ca not find energy anywhere else. By consuming these enzymes during intense activity, you increase your fat free muscle mass and increase the muscle to fat ratio. Secondly, BCAA enzymes are able to reduce exercise-induced fatigue. The enzymes are taken up by the muscles during exercise so that oxidative metabolism (metabolism using oxygen instead of muscle) takes place.
Eventually, the BCAA enzymes are used up during exercise and this triggers another amino acid, L-tryptophan, to increase and enter the brain. L-tryptophan induces a sudden psychological and physiological need to rest, signaling the time to stop exercising and is probably the cause of over-training syndrome, low energy, loss of periods, depression, appetite loss, weight loss, immunosuppression and poor performance in athletes who are overdoing it. BCCA supplements help reduce over training syndrome by reducing the ratio of BCCA to L-tryptophan.
Glutamine also supports muscle growth and development. Researchers have found that glutamine provides fuel as well for white blood cells, preventing the immunosuppression seen in overt raining syndrome.
Many professional athletes are turning to an all natural amino stack called gHP Sport. The main reason is because it’s NSF “Certified For Sport” and they know they can take gHP Sport without fear of losing their career due to banned substances.
Amino Acids and Weight Loss
Some amino acids seem to be helpful against obesity by allowing the body to burn fat more efficiently and by suppressing the appetite. Obesity is considered a cofactor in clogged arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes and the increase in certain cancers. The particular amino acids implicated in weight loss are carnitine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. Science tells us that most overweight individuals do not eat the degree of calories required to explain their weight gain. They just tend to burn calories at a lower rate than thinner people and store the calories as fat.
A number of studies have indicated that genetics has a great deal to do with your weight. Identical twins tend to be more strikingly similar in weight than are fraternal twins. Fat storage in overweight individuals depends on the enzyme known as lipoprotein lipase (LPL). Researchers believe that LPL determines the number of nutrient molecules that the fat cell takes up during storage. Repeated bouts of crash dieting actually cause weight gain because LPL is increased during the weight loss phase. The body adapts to the lower caloric intake and stores as much food intake as possible.
Many researchers suggest that amino acid supplements may be helpful in weight loss programs. Carnitine transfers the fatty acids back out of the fat cell and makes it possible to burn them. This increases the body metabolic rate of the body and helps reduce muscle weakness in weight loss. Carnitine is made from Lysine and Methionine, which are both essential amino acids and we do not manufacture what we really need. Tryptophan, in addition, helps reduce the body from craving for carbohydrates and Phenylalanine decreases appetite by improving the amount of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, in the brain.
Amino Acids and Aging
Amino acids can affect premature aging. In fact, amino acids are considered preferable over alpha-hydroxy treatments in skin aging because they do not photosensitize the skin and result in a lesser irritation of the skin than alpha-hydroxy treatments. Amino acids are applied to skin cells and help remove wrinkles, smooth the skin, exfoliate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. The appearance of photo-damage is reduced.
Amino acids also help improve the internal aging process. For example, Arginine can help in reducing heart conditions, including clogged arteries. It is also a natural anticoagulant and may help reduce cholesterol levels. Leucine is also good for its anti-aging properties. It supports the body and the healing processing, reducing the aging process. Without enough Leucine, our body will not repair itself well. In addition, it is found to improve the appetite in those suffering from cancer. Cysteine plays an essential role in the anti-aging process because it helps us metabolize fats better. It has been shown to lessen the damage to the body due to alcohol and cigarettes. It is preventative against heart disease and cancer and boosts the immune system so you will get sick less often. There are several other amino acids that slow or reverse the aging process.
Forms of Amino Acid Supplementation
Amino acids, as mentioned, come in food like meats, dairy, soy and legumes. Sometimes the diet is enough to provide us with enough amino acids. If not, however, amino acids must be given by supplementation. Some ways to supplement amino acids include protein shakes, some of which are not very tasty but are good for body builders who can simply chug them down with water or juice. They also come in tablets, caplets and in tincture forms through health food stores or on the Internet. Amino acids also come in crystallized form, making them highly soluble and pure in the management of the several conditions helped by amino acid supplementation.
The Vitality of Amino Acids in Your Diet
Our diet provides us with all that we need in life. We thrive on carbohydrates, fatty acids and numerous types of proteins. Proteins make up the substance of our organs, glands, hair, nails, muscles and tendons and are vital to our existence. In fact, they make up the greatest part of our body weights.
The proteins we create as a part of biological processes or that we eat as part of our diet are all made from amino acids. There are twenty standardized amino acids of which several are considered (essential) because the body cannot make them and they must be eaten. Besides being the important building blocks to structural proteins, amino acids help to make aspects of coenzymes, which help our bodies enzymes work. Amino acids are also part of the creation of heme (a vital blood protein).
Scientists and nutritionists are beginning to recognize the benefit of amino acids in the aging process, for athletes of all types and for women’s health. For example, amino acids provide (myoproteins), which are muscle proteins that aid in building muscle mass and help athletes recover from being fatigued. They absorb quickly so that they can very easily be replenished when used up in sports activities.
The essential amino acids, required in our diet include the following:
There are also numerous non essential amino acids that are considered so because our bodies can create the amino acids from an internal source of body elements. These include:
· Aspartic acid
· Glutamic Acid
The Importance of Several Amino Acids
The following amino acids have special importance when it comes to enhancing bodily functions. Some are considered essential amino acids while others are non-essential amino acids that are particularly important in amino acid supplements.
Lysine is one of the essential amino acids so we need it in our diet. It is essential in the processes of growth and cholesterol reduction. It is an amino acid which is vital to the making of connective tissues in our body like cartilage, tendons and skin. Without enough lysine in the diet, people get kidney stones and a variety of other disorders. Athletes who work out a great deal are at risk for lysine deficiency. Lysine comes to our diet through protein and most protein comes from meat and dairy sources. This means that vegetarians can also suffer from lysine deficiency as are those who eat diets high in cereals and baked goods.
What is Lysine used for?
Lysine has therapeutic uses as well. For example, lysine supplements are helpful in managing herpes diseases like shingles. It can also reduce the frequency of herpes breakouts. In addition, lysine helps calcium absorption in the diet so that individuals with osteoporosis can take lysine supplements to help strengthen bones. It is the L-lysine form that works the best on the body.
Arginine is considered a non-essential amino acid but it is vital for bodily functions. For men, it improves blood flow to the penis in order attain an erection and enhances sperm count. It also slows the growth of cancer cells because it improves the body’s immune system. It increases muscle mass and reduces the amount of body fat, resulting in weight loss. By releasing the growth hormone of the body, Arginine leads to the best muscle growth and maximum tissue repair in the event of injury. Like lysine, Arginine comprises a major portion of collagen and connective tissue. This makes it good for treating arthritic and connective tissue diseases. Arginine can also be converted to glucose and its storage product, glycogen, if needed.
Why Do People Use Arginine?
Heart Disease: Arginine creates nitric acid which improves blood flow to major body organs, including the brain, the legs and the heart.
Erectile Dysfunction: Nitric acid is very important in the attainment of an erection. The muscles of the penis relax, allowing blood to flow in at the time of an erection. It must be taken regularly in order to work.
Wound Healing: Arginine helps form another amino acid, Proline, that is vital for the synthesis of collagen (connective tissue).
Where can I find Arginine?
If you take an amino acid supplement, you are already covered. If not, the amino acid can be found in animal protein, dairy products, soy products and some plant proteins. One can become short on Arginine if there are infections, burns or other injuries and one may need to take a supplement to make the deficiency up.
Ornithine is a non-essential amino acid that, along with Arginine and Carnitine, is vital for the healthy functioning of the immune system. It helps the liver regenerate itself in case of injury and helps insulin function as a muscle-building hormone. Ornithine is created by the amino acid, Arginine, which is metabolized during urea (a part of urine) production. Ornithine is highly conducive to the production of growth hormone. As mentioned before, growth hormone builds muscle mass. It also improves insulin production. There are beneficial effects of Ornithine in those who have had major surgery, serious infections, cancer, major trauma or burn injuries. Using Ornithine helped to improve the appetite, quality of life and weight gain in those who took it following these illnesses. Finally, Ornithine has been shown to help those with severe liver disease, such that the disease is affecting their brain.
Where is Ornithine Found?
Amino acids generally come from the same sources, predominately in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. The recommended daily allowance is five grams per day. Deficiencies in Ornithine are rare but can occur during growth spurts, pregnancy, malnutrition or following severe traumatic injuries.
Glutamine is the most prominent amino acid found in our muscles and it helps to make muscles grow. People who have been bedridden for a long time would benefit from glutamine to build up muscle mass. It also improves the function of the brain and helps with digestive diseases. It helps reduce fatigue and has been found to be helpful in treating brain diseases like dementia and schizophrenia. The body’s immune system is highly dependent on the presence of glutamine. It is considered non-essential but in conditions when the body really needs it, the production of it is insufficient and you need it in your diet. Conditions needing extra glutamine include severe injuries, surgeries, prolonged stress, and infections.
Importance of Glutamine
- Glutamine is used to heal the body from injuries, from major to minor ones. It responds to the elevated cortisol levels present in times of bodily stress. Glutamine enhances the healing process, including those from cuts or severe burns.
- Glutamine is used also to treat inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It appears that glutamine heals the internal tissue in these conditions.
- Glutamine helps AIDS patients who have muscle loss to gain muscle back, along with other nutrients.
- Athletes who train heavily will reduce their stores of glutamine and benefit from having glutamine supplements. The athlete recovers from injury better, as well.
- Cancer patients have low levels of glutamine and require supplementation in order to improve their malnourished state. Glutamine can also heal the lining of the intestines during chemotherapy.
Sources of Glutamine
The best dietary sources of glutamine include proteins from animals and plants, including beef, fish, poultry and port, dairy products, raw spinach, raw cabbage and raw parsley.
Glycine is notable for its ability to prevent muscle degeneration and it improves the storage of sugar in the body. It allows the glucose of the body to turn into energy, making it useful for athletes needing that extra boost. It is used in the repairing of damaged body tissues and promotes healing following injury. It is a non-essential amino acid; meaning that the body is capable of producing it itself but one can still suffer from deficiency in times of need. Glycine has recently been shown by research to work with antioxidants in the management of cancer. It has been shown to be effective against melanoma (skin cancer), by blocking the formation of blood vessels inside the tumor.
Glycine is vital to the construction of DNA and RNA, the building blocks and information storage of the body. By boosting the body’s creatine content, it helps to build our muscle mass. Glycine is not only found in muscle; it is found in skin and other types of connective tissue as well. It keeps the skin firm and flexible as well.
Glycine is important for the function of the nervous system. It puts a stop to the parts of the brain that cause seizures, hyperactivity and bipolar depression. Glycine can be changed into another neurotransmitter, serine, which may be beneficial to the management of schizophrenia. It improves memory retrieval and helps those with sleeping disorders, Parkinsons disease, Huntingtons disease and even jet lag.
What are the sources of Glycine?
Glycine is found in high protein foods like fish meat, beans, dairy products and by medical supplement.
Leucine is an essential amino acid that combines with Isoleucine and Valine in order to maximize muscle, bone and skin healing. It provides the body with energy and helps regulate the blood sugar in the body. It is a fat-burning amino acid and burns the deeper layers of fat in the abdomen and in other areas. Leucine is particularly able to convert itself to glucose (sugar) very quickly, making it excellent for the prevention of muscle loss. For athletes, it prevents the using up of muscle mass for energy so that muscle is built up during body building and other strenuous activities. Thos suffering from injuries or major surgery may wish to speed healing by taking a Leucine supplement.
Deficiencies of Leucine
Without Leucine, one can suffer from symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches, irritability and confusion. Remember, Leucine is not created by the body and must be gotten from the diet.
Sources of Leucine in the Diet
Leucine can be gotten from any meat or fish source, as well as from brown rice, beans, dairy, soy flour and whole wheat. Those who exercise a great deal but do not have the best diet may wish to consider Leucine supplements in order to prevent muscle loss and low blood sugar. Because Leucine is used along with Isoleucine and Valine, they should be taken in combination.
Isoleucine is an essential amino acid that is particularly helpful in making the bodys hemoglobin (a blood component). It also regulates the blood sugar and enhances energy. For athletes, Isoleucine is vital in the quick repair of muscle, bone and skin, following injury. Athletic endurance is improved, making it an important supplement for body builders and other athletes. It is one of three branched chained amino acids (along with Leucine and Valine) and all protect and promote recovery of muscles during and after exercise. It has not been found that deficiencies of Isoleucine causes fatigue, dizziness, headaches, depression, irritability and confusion.
How can I Obtain Isoleucine?
As an essential amino acid, Isoleucine cannot be manufactured by the body itself and must be ingested. Excellent dietary sources include seeds, any type of meat, fish, nuts, eggs, dairy, lentils, soy protein and peas. Those who exercise a lot or are body builders should consider Isoleucine supplementation. As with Leucine, Isoleucine should be taken together with Leucine and Valine. They work together to do their important jobs.
Valine is an essential amino acid that is used in combination with Leucine and Isoleucine to improve body tissue repair and for the proper maintenance of the balance of nitrogen in the body. It is also helpful in treating diseases of the liver and gallbladder, including the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy (a liver-related brain condition), and is felt to calm ones emotional state. In fact, Valine is felt to be necessary for proper mental and emotional function.
Valine is one of three branched chain amino acids (like Leucine and Isoleucine). Together, they regulate the blood sugar and give the body an extra boost of energy. When one exercises, there can be cannibalization of muscle to use as energy. Valine and its cohorts stop this process and instead promote muscle increase by providing glucose as an energy source for the body.
How can I Obtain Valine?
As Valine is an essential amino acid, you must get it through your diet or through supplementation, along with Leucine and Isoleucine. Good dietary sources of Valine include meat products, fish, dairy products, mushrooms, soy proteins sources and peanuts. Valine deficiency is possible in those with poor or restricted diets. Valine supplementation should be considered in those who are exercising a great deal, eat a low protein diet or are trying to build up their muscles. Always take Valine with Leucine and Isoleucine, as they work together.
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