Amino Acids

We talk about amino acids and the importance of them in your body. Everybody needs amino acids to survive and thrive

What is amino acid?

Amino acid is an essential block for building muscle and protein in the body. Our cells, muscles and tissue are made up of Amino acid. They play an essential role of transporting nutrients to the cells as well metabolising food so that we have some energy.

Your body needs about 20 different varieties of them. That is for us to grow and function properly. Your body makes its own amino acid. But some people need more amino acid because they train long hours.

Nine amino acids we need.

“These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

  1. Phenylalanine: Phenylalanine is a precursor for the neurotransmitters tyrosinedopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It plays an integral role in the structure and function of proteins and enzymes and the production of other amino acids (4).
  2. Valine: Valine is one of three branched-chain amino acids, meaning it has a chain branching off to one side of its molecular structure. Valine helps stimulate muscle growth and regeneration and is involved in energy production (5).
  3. Threonine: Threonine is a principal part of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, which are important components of the skin and connective tissue. It also plays a role in fat metabolism and immune function (6).
  4. Tryptophan: Though often associated with causing drowsiness, tryptophan has many other functions. It’s needed to maintain proper nitrogen balance and is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates your appetite, sleep and mood (7).
  5. Methionine: Methionine plays an important role in metabolism and detoxification. It’s also necessary for tissue growth and the absorption of zinc and selenium, minerals that are vital to your health (8).
  6. Leucine: Like valine, leucine is a branched-chain amino acid that is critical for protein synthesis and muscle repair. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, stimulates wound healing and produces growth hormones (9).
  7. Isoleucine: The last of the three branched-chain amino acids, isoleucine is involved in muscle metabolism and is heavily concentrated in muscle tissue. It’s also important for immune function, hemoglobin production and energy regulation (10).
  8. Lysine: Lysine plays major roles in protein synthesis, hormone and enzyme production and the absorption of calcium. It’s also important for energy production, immune function and the production of collagen and elastin (11).
  9. Histidine: Histidine is used to produce histamine, a neurotransmitter that is vital to immune response, digestion, sexual function and sleep-wake cycles. It’s critical for maintaining the myelin sheath, a protective barrier that surrounds your nerve cells (12).”(Healthline)

The gym sells these amino acid drinks, but I don’t really see the need for that unless you are training really hard, ie a body builder. You can usually get them from food and protein drinks

What foods have amino acids in them?

When you eat protein it is broken down into amino acids which is used for growing and maintaining muscle and these foods will help you get there.

  • fish
  • soybeans
  • salmon
  • Protein powders
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • Lots of seeds
  • Oats
  • Mung beans
  • Wheatgerm
  • Bananas
  • Chickpeas

What happens if we have too little amino acids (proteins)?

  • You lose muscle
  • Too little amino acids causes hormonal imbalance
  • Slow growth in children
  • Too little energy

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