Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Amino Acids for Good Health

Amino acids are a group of organic compounds that are essential for all life forms. There are hundreds of different types of amino acids, although only about 20 are used to create the thousands of different proteins that form muscles, organs, and other vital body parts. Among the 20 fundamental amino acids used to create protein, some can be generated naturally by the body however most must be provided through diet or supplementation. Amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body and are received through supplements or food are called essential amino acids. In some cases, non-essential amino acids such as taurine and arginine are actually semi-essential because the body does not have the ability to create these molecules.

Certain non-essential amino acids have some of the most profound effects on general health. Arginine supplementation, for instance, is known to increase the body’s production of Nitric Oxide. NO dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and prevents cholesterol buildup, thereby protecting the body against cardiovascular disease.

Recommended Amino Acids:
Arginine: Arginine is a non-essential amino acid however the body does not produce enough of it to receive its potentially dramatic health benefits. Arginine is critical to healing wounds, removing ammonia from the body, supporting the immune system, and releasing hormones. It is the sole precursor to the synthesis of Nitric Oxide, which is critical for heart health.

Tryptophan: Tryptophan is a precursor to the compounds serotonin and niacin. It is one of the 20 standard amino acids and is an essential amino acid in the human diet. As tryptophan leads to serotonin, serotonin in turn is converted to melatonin. Serotonin is a calming neurotransmitter and melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone. Therefore, tryptophan is considered a safe and effective sleep aid. Tryptophan may also be effective as a natural antidepressant.

Taurine: Taurine is not an essential amino acid however boosting Taurine intake may have multiple health benefits. Obesity may be related to low levels of taurine, and some research suggests increased levels of taurine may be able to decrease weight and blood sugar in diabetics. In addition, taurine may assist in alleviating muscle fatigue in strenuous workouts and raise exercise capacity.

Lysine: Lysine is an essential amino acid and is necessary for every single protein in the body. Lysine is critical to calcium absorption, building muscle protein, recovering from surgery and injury, and in the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, poor concentration, hair loss, and anemia. Finally, lysine is extremely important for individuals with herpes simplex infection as it can inhibit viral growth.

Theanine: Theanine is an amino acid derivative found, among other places, in green tea. Theanine may be able to reduce stress and anxiety without the tranquilizing effects of many drugs. This substance stimulates the brain’s production of alpha waves, making you feel relaxed but alert and not drowsy. Theanine also helps the body product other calming amino acids including dopamine, GABA, and tryptophan.

Recommended Dosage
  • Arginine: 5,000 to 8,000 mg per day for cardiovascular health
  • Tryptophan: 500 to 4,000 mg per day for insomnia and depression
  • Taurine: 2,000 mg per day for cardiovascular and metabolic support
  • Lysine: 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day for immune enhancement
  • Theanine: 100 to 400 mg per day for calming benefits

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