Main image courtesy of Rocky Mountain IV Medics.
Amino acids play a role in a variety of different body functions, and they provide benefits which include an improved protein and energy synthesis, metabolism, controlled muscle growth, improved brain health, and weight management.
Our bodies need amino acids to make the structural proteins and enzymes to form biochemical reactions. The body also uses amino acids for hormone production and neurotransmitters, and we need a variety of amino acids in our diet. The nine essential amino acids include phenylalanine, leucine, lysine, valine, isoleucine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, and histidine.
In this article, I will explain some of the best foods and supplements to get more amino acids into your diet. Main points will include:
- Main benefits of amino acids
- Amino acid deficiency
- Foods rich in amino acids
- My very own collagen supplements
- Amino acid precautions
Main Benefits of Amino Acids
As mentioned previously, amino acids provide benefits for a variety of different body functions. Check out some of the most effective benefits of amino acids!
A healthy and balanced amino acid level is very important for developing and maintaining muscle strength. Getting the proper amount of amino acids can help boost the body's nitrogen supply and maintain the level of amino acids in your skeletal muscles.
Increase Muscle Growth
When taken before, during, or after exercise, amino acid supplements can help minimize the breakdown of protein that would typically occur during the workout. They also help maintain a positive balance between the synthesis and breakdown of muscle protein.
Lignans, particularly leucine, help stimulate the generation of new mitochondria, which are organelles that process fatty acids and glucose for energy. A balanced amino acid supplement can increase the number of these structures in muscle, allowing it to generate more ATP during exercise.
Muscle stores a small amount of energy in the amino acid known as creatine phosphate. This substance is produced by the kidneys, liver, and it can be quickly consumed. Leucine is an ideal supplement for people who need to maintain a steady supply of energy during a vigorous exercise!
Blood Glucose Levels
People with type 2 diabetes might be able to lower their blood sugar levels by taking amino acid supplements, without having any impact on the insulin levels.
A combination of amino acids and proteins can accelerate the metabolism of fat, which can help lower body weight. One of the amino acid compounds that can help with the burning of fat is cysteine, which has several antioxidant properties.
When consumed in large quantities, the amino acid phenylalanine can suppress appetite and help you burn fat.
Improved Athletic Ability
New muscle proteins are created by replacing the metabolically degraded or damaged ones. This process helps speed up recovery and improve functional capacity and muscle mass.
Amino acids can improve the function of the muscle by increasing its strength and mass. They also help it use its energy efficiently by breaking down fatty acids and glucose.
Studies have shown that amino acid supplements can help improve performance when it comes to exercise. One of the most promising performance enhancers is leucine, which can help improve both endurance and high-intensity training.
People with low serotonin levels are more prone to depression. It is believed that taking supplements of the amino acid tryptophan can help reduce some symptoms associated with the condition.
A study conducted by the BDN stated that taking a gram of amino acids daily can boost happiness and increase energy levels. The results of the study revealed that taking the supplement significantly altered how participants processed their emotions.
Increased Blood Flow to Muscles
In order to meet the needs of the active muscles, the heart must pump more blood per minute. This increases the heart's output and oxygen delivery to the muscles.
When the heart pumps more blood, the blood vessels in the muscles dilate, which then allows the majority of the blood to go to the muscle. The molecule nitric oxide is responsible for this process.
In order to increase the production of nitric oxide, the amino acid citrulline is commonly used as a supplement. It can help boost the blood flow to the muscles, and people who are planning on taking amino acid supplements should also include citrulline in their formulation.
Less Brain Fog
The balance of amino acid concentrations in the blood can be altered during a strenuous exercise, which can result in an increase in the production of serotonin in the brain. This is a known inducer of fatigue and sleepiness, and it can make you feel tired and worn out.
To prevent this from happening, you should take a balanced amino acid formula that contains a combination of essential amino acids. This formula will help decrease the production of serotonin and prevent the brain from taking in the amino acid tryptophan.
Amino Acid Deficiency
A deficiency of amino acids is a condition that affects the various functions and activities of the body. It can lead to various health conditions such as fatigue and low blood pressure, and one of the most common causes of this deficiency is a lack of protein. Besides protein, other factors like protein aging and indigestion can also cause amino acid deficiency.
Foods Rich in Amino Acids
Since the body can't synthesize a few amino acids, we need to make sure we include amino acid-rich foods in our diet. There are a variety of food sources that contain amino acids, such as plant and animal protein. A high protein diet overall helps maintain the amino acid levels in our bodies.
Chicken is a good source of selenium and niacin. Both of these nutrients help maintain the health of your skin, digestive system, and nervous system. In addition, they can improve one's bone strength and brain function.
Poultry products contain high levels of an amino acid known as tryptophan, which is crucial for the absorption and functioning of vitamin B12. It also helps with some other bodily functions.
Tryptophan can help release serotonin, which is an antidepressant. It can regulate mood swings and keep you feeling happy!
Vegetables are known to contain various amino acids, such as methionine, threonine, valine, and histidine.
Trikeline, a component of the thyroid hormone, can be found in vegetables as they contain phenylalanine. This amino acid helps the body regulate various metabolic activities, such as blood glucose control, heart rate regulation, and weight loss. Histidine is also beneficial for the detoxification process.
One of the richest sources of essential amino acids, such as lysine, isoleucine, threonine, methionine, and histidine, is Quinoa. In addition to protein, quinoa also contains other nutrients such as dietary fiber, phosphorus, iron, and starch. It can help speed up wound healing and may even reduce anxiety as well.
There are 20 amino acids in the body, and each of them have a unique role. Eggs have a complete profile, which makes them ideal for people who want to build muscle and lose fat. They also contain various other nutrients, such as lysine, histidine and valine.
High levels of leucine are found in fruits, which helps regulate blood glucose levels. Some of the most common fruits that contain amino acids are apples, bananas, and berries. Apples are known to have around 16 amino acids, with the pulp and peel of fruits having the highest concentrations of these acids.
One hundred grams of cottage cheese contains around 25% of your daily protein requirement, along with valuable amino acids like tryptophan and threonine. Apart from being a great source of protein, cottage cheese also has calcium, which can improve bone health. Unfortunately, cottage cheese's sodium is a bit high so it's always best to consume in moderation!
Pistachios are truly not nuts, but the seeds of the pistachio tree are known for their high-quality amino acids. They also contain other nutrients such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and potassium, and can be combined with grains or beans to create a complete protein.
Turkey is known to have high levels of an amino acid called tryptophan, which is needed by the body to make the B vitamin niacin. It can also help produce serotonin, which can help boost mood and relieve stress.
Compared to other meat products, grass-fed beef is one of the most protein-rich sources of animal amino acids. It's also a lower-fat source of protein, which makes it an excellent choice for people who are looking for a nutritious meal.
Red meat contains a non-protein component that can have negative effects on our health, including heart disease and obesity. This is why it’s important to avoid relying on red meat as your primary source of protein.
Known for their ability to prevent chronic diseases, chia seeds are a plant-based protein source filled with omega-3 fatty acids. Commonly referred to as a powerhouse of proteins, you will get all of the nine essential amino acids when you eat chia seeds!
Lysine is an amino acid found in nuts that helps regulate the amount of calcium in the body. It is also important for other functions like blood clotting prevention and nerve transmission. Some nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, and cashews, contain high levels of lysine.
Dr. Emil’s Collagen Supplements
One of the most important factors within our bodies when it comes to maintaining healthy connective tissue is collagen. This protein, which is commonly found in our bodies, can help support the development and maintenance of our bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.
Collagen is made up of amino acids that can help build healthy muscles and nails, with various nutrients included such as zinc, biotin, and vitamin C. As a supplement, I offer premium collagen peptides that can help improve the appearance of our nails, hair, and skin!
Precautions with Amino Acids
An excessive amount of amino acids in the bloodstream can cause toxicities and lead to various health conditions. It can also prevent certain amino acids from working properly with the body, and might even lead to health conditions such as kidney failure, diabetes, and abdominal pain. Maintaining the proper amino acid balance is very important to prevent these kinds of health conditions from happening.
Some of the health conditions that can interact with amino acid supplements include diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid disorder. Taking amino acid supplements can lower blood pressure and glucose levels, which is harmful if you are already taking medication. As with most supplements, it’s important to consult with your doctor beforehand.
The good news about amino acids is that they are super easy to find! Whether it be amino-rich foods or collagen supplements, amino acids are everywhere!