What Do Amino Acids Do?

Known as the building blocks of protein, amino acids are found in all protein foods, such as grains, nuts, and legumes. They can be conditional, essential, or non-essential. Your body produces non-essential and conditional amino acids. The essential amino acids are a necessary part of your daily diet because your body can't produce them. If you don't get them, body proteins break down, which results in muscle loss and the body not being able to repair itself. When you know what foods contain the essential amino acids, you can eat accordingly to make certain that you get sufficient amounts.

What Do Amino Acids Do?

The human body requires amino acids which are the basic building blocks of tissue. They aid in combating fat buildup, act as an immune booster, and keep you strong. There 20 amino acids in the proteins of our bodies. Below are the nine essential amino acids that our bodies can't produce. You can find their specific functions below. 

1. Histidine

Histidine facilitates the growth and repair of all body tissue. It manufactures white and red blood cells. It is key in the manufacture and maintenance of oligo-dendrocytes that wrap around nerves forming myelin, a protective sheath, thus preventing unintended impulses that lead to spinal cord and brain defects. Histidine removes surplus heavy metals and protects from radiation. It aids in digestion by produces gastric juices. It is found in rice, wheat, rye, dairy, meat, poultry, and fish.

2. Lysine

L-Lysine is vitally important for growth and development. The body uses it for calcium absorption, resulting in muscle and bone growth, and mobilizing fat for energy use. It participates in the production of antibodies, enzymes, hormones, collagen, and helps mend damaged tissue. L-Lysine maintains healthy blood vessels and muscle protein. It combats fatigue and maintains a positive nitrogen balance. L-Lysine is found in lima beans, potatoes, yeast, eggs, milk, cheese, and meat.

3. Methionine

What Do Amino Acids Do? When it comes to Methionine, it breaks down and eliminates excess fat in the bloodstream. It is essential for digestion and the elimination of heavy metals from the liver and stomach. It acts as an anti-oxidant in supplying sulfur, inactivating free radicals, and increases memory recall. It is one of three amino acids that are required to produce creatine monohydrate which is a vital compound to create energy and muscle growth. Sources of Methionine are lentils, beans, onions, garlic, seeds, yogurt, eggs, fish, and meat.

4. Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine stimulates the nerve system, increases levels of dopamine, epinephrine, and nor-epinephrine. It helps your memory and elevates your mood. It aids in the absorption of sunlight's ultraviolet rays, increasing the rate of Vitamin D. It contributes to the manufacture of glutamine, the major player in the amino acid pool. You'll get Phenylalanine from almonds, avocados, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.

5. Leucine

The strongest of the three BCAAs, Leucine regulates blood sugar levels, the growth and repair of skin, skeletal muscle, and bone tissue. It aids in regulating energy and heals wounds. It plays a role in the human growth hormone and helps prevent muscle tissue breakdown. Leucine is present in most all sources of protein including beans, brown rice, whole wheat, and nuts.

6. Isoleucine

Isoleucine is very much like Leucine in nearly every way. It stimulates the release of HGH, regulates blood sugar levels, and aids in muscle recovery. But it excels in wound healing. Isoleucine promotes muscle recovery, regulates the blood-sugar levels and stimulates HGH release. It helps to form hemoglobin and blood clots, which is the body's main defense against open wounds becoming infected. Isoleucine is found in cashews, almonds, lentils, eggs, chicken, meat, and liver.

7. Valine

What do amino acids do? Valine is the third amino acid in the BCAA trio. It aids with the growth and repair of muscle tissue, maintains nitrogen balance, and sees to the proper use of glucose. Valine is found in grains, soy, peanuts, mushrooms, dairy products, and meat.

8. Threonine

Vegans have a more difficult time maintaining proper levels of Threonine because its sources are all animal products—dairy, eggs, and meat. It helps to form the collagen and elastin, the two most vital binding substances. It also maintains a proper protein balance. Threonine contributes to liver function and helps maintain the immune system through the production of antibodies. It facilitates the absorption of other nutrients.

9. Tryptophan

It is used by the body to make niacin and serotonin, which are essential for stable mood, proper brain function and good sleep. It also plays a role in producing B Vitamin. Tryptophan can be found in protein and dairy products such as turkey, fish, egg, milk and cheese, etc. 

Do You Need to Take Amino Acid Supplements?

Since you get the answer to "what do amino acids do", you may want to know if you have enough amino acids. It's best to get a complete array of amino acids from the foods you eat. A balanced diet of vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains will provide most of them. The addition of dairy and eggs will complete the amino array.

While it's important to try to get a balance of amino acids from your diet, this isn't possible for everyone. Certain situations can make it necessary to supplement with one or more amino acids. Those on a liquid diet or tube feeding should take amino supplements. Vegans need to monitor their protein intake to assure adequate variety of amino acids. Amino supplements can aid in healing from serious wounds or surgery. Athletes realize better stamina and performance using supplements. Parkinson's disease, dementia and Alzheimer's, depression, adrenal fatigue, HIV/Aids, chronic fatigue syndrome, and liver disease sufferers can benefit from amino acid supplements.

Supplements are available in capsule form or as a liquid. Choose amino acids that are in the L- form, which are easier for the body to utilize. General amino acids should be taken within thirty minutes of your meal.

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