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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Amino Acids
THE FUNCTION OF AMINO ACIDS


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AMINO ACID & PROTEIN DEFINITION

Amino acids are the chemical units or "building blocks," as they are popularly called, that make up proteins. Amino acids contain about 16 percent nitrogen. Chemically, this is what distinguishes them from the other two basic nutrients, sugars and fatty acids, which do not contain nitrogen. To understand how vital amino acids are, you must understand how essential proteins are to life. It is protein that provides the structure for all living things. Every living organism, from the largest animal to the tiniest microbe, is composed of protein. And in its various forms, protein participates in the vital chemical processes that sustain life.

Proteins are a necessary part of every living cell in the body. Next to water, protein makes up the greatest portion of our body weight. In the human body, protein substances make up the muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails, hair, and many vital body fluids, and are essential for the growth of bones. The enzymes and hormones that catalyze and regulate all bodily processes are proteins. Proteins help to regulate the body's water balance and maintain the proper internal pH. They assist in the exchange of nutrients between the intercellular fluids and the tissues, blood, and lymph. A deficiency of protein can upset the body's fluid balance, causing edema. Proteins form the structural basis for chromosomes, through which genetic information is passed from parents to offspring. The genetic "code" contained in each cell's DNA is actually information for how to make that cell's proteins.

Proteins are chains of amino acids linked together by what are called peptide bonds. Each individual type of protein is composed of a specific group of amino acids in a specific chemical arrangement. It is the particular amino acids present and the way in which they are linked together in sequence that gives the proteins that make up the various tissues their unique function and characters. Each protein in the body is tailored for a specific need; proteins are not interchangeable.

The proteins that make up the human body are not obtained directly from the diet. Rather, dietary protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids, which the body then uses to build the specific proteins it needs. Thus, it is the amino acids rather than protein that are the essential nutrients.

In addition to combining to form the body's proteins, some amino acids act as neurotransmitters or as precursors of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that carry information from one nerve cell to another. Certain amino acids are thus necessary for the brain to receive and send messages. Unlike many other substances, neurotransmitters are able to pass through the blood-brain barrier. This is a kind of defensive shield designed to protect the brain from toxins and foreign invaders that may be circulating in the bloodstream. The endothelial cells that make up the walls of the capillaries in the brain are much more tightly meshed together than are those of capillaries elsewhere in the body. This prevents many substances, especially water-based substances, from diffusing through the capillary walls into the brain tissue. Because certain amino acids can pass through this barrier, they can be used by the brain to communicate with nerve cells elsewhere in the body.

Amino acids also enable vitamins and minerals are absorbed and assimilated by the body, they cannot be effective unless the necessary amino acids are present. For example, low levels of the amino acid tyrosine may lead to iron deficiency. Deficiency and/or impaired metabolism of the amino acid s methionine and taurine has been linked to allergies and autoimmune disorders. Many elderly people suffer from depression or neurological problems that may be associated with deficiencies of the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, and histidine, and also of the branched-chain amino acids - valine, isoleucine, and leucine. These are amino acids that can be used to provide energy directly to muscle tissue. High doses of branched-chain amino acids have been used in hospitals to treat people suffering from trauma and infection.

There are approximately 28 commonly known amino acids that are combined in various ways to create the hundreds of different types of proteins present in all living things. In the human body, the liver produces about 80-percent of the amino acids needed. The remaining 20 percent must be obtained from the diet. These are called the essential amino acids. The essential amino acids that must enter the body through diet are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The non-essential amino acids which can be manufactured in the body from other amino acids obtained from dietary sources, include Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Citrulline, Cysteine, Cystine, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), Glutamic Acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Ornithine, Proline, Serine, Taurine, and Tyrosine. The fact that they are termed "non-essential" does not mean that they are not necessary, only that they need not be obtained through the diet because the body can manufacture them as needed.

The processes of assembling amino acids to make protein, and of breaking down proteins into individual amino acids for the body's use, are continuous ones. When we need more enzyme proteins, the body produces more enzyme proteins; when we need more cells, the body produces more proteins for cells. These different types of proteins are produced as the need arises. Should the body become depleted of is reserves of any of the essential amino acids, it would not be able to produce the proteins that require those amino acids. If even one essential amino acid is missing, the body cannot continue proper protein synthesis. This can lead to lack of vital proteins in the body, which can cause problems ranging from indigestion to depression to stunted growth.

AMINO ACID DEFICIENCY

Many factors can contribute to deficiencies of essential amino acids, even if you eat a well-balanced diet that contains enough protein. Impaired absorption, infection, trauma, stress, drug use, age, and imbalances of other nutrients can all affect the availability of essential amino acids in the body. If your diet is not properly balanced - that is, if it fails to supply adequate amounts of the essential amino acids - sooner or later, this will become apparent as some type of physical disorder.

This does not mean, however, that eating a diet containing enormous amounts of protein is the answer. In fact, it is unhealthy. Excess protein puts undue stress on the kidneys and the liver, which are faced with processing the waste products of protein metabolism. Nearly half of the amino acids in dietary protein are transformed into glucose by the liver and utilized to provide needed energy to the cells. This process results in a waste product, ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to the body, so the body protects itself by having the liver turn the ammonia into the much less toxic compound known as urea, which is then carried through the bloodstream, filtered out by the kidneys, and excreted.

As long as protein intake is not too great and the liver is working properly, ammonia is neutralized almost as soon as it is produced, so it does no harm. However, if there is too much ammonia for the liver to cope with - as a result of too much protein consumption, poor digestion, and/or a defect in liver function - toxic levels may accumulate. Strenuous exercise also tends to promote the accumulation of excess ammonia. This may put a person at risk for serious health problems, including encephalopathy (brain disease) or hepatic coma. Abnormally high levels of urea can also cause problems, including inflamed kidneys and back pain. Therefore, it is not the quantity but the quality of protein in the diet that is important. See Nutrition Basics Index and Nutrition Guidelines Index for more information about nutrition and dietary guidelines.

It is possible to take supplements containing amino acids, both essential and non-essential. For certain disorders, taking supplements of specific amino acids can be very beneficial. When you take a specific amino acid or an amino acid combination, it supports the metabolic pathway involved in your particular illness. Vegetarians, especially vegans, would be wise to take a formula containing all of the essential amino acids to ensure that their protein requirements are met.

  • Amino Acid Complex Supplements & Products






  • AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENT PRODUCTS


    Products and supplements containing amino acid complex.

  • Amino Acid Complex Supplement Products


  • QUALITY SUPPLIES & PRODUCTS



    AMINO ACID COMPLEX PRODUCTS

    HERBSPRO PRODUCTS

    HerbsPro: Amino-9 Essentials Powder, Now Foods, 330 Grams
    Complete Free Form blend of all 9 essential amino acids. Dietary supplements helpful in sports. GMP quality assured.
    HerbsPro: Amino Balance Powder, Free Form Amino Acid Complex, Anabol Naturals
    HerbsPro: Amino Balance Powder, Free Form Amino Acid Complex, Anabol Naturals, 500 grams
    HerbsPro: Amino Balance, Free Form Amino Acid Complex, Anabol Naturals, 500 mg, 120 Caps
    HerbsPro: Amino Balance, Free Form Amino Acid Complex, Anabol Naturals, 500 mg, 240 Caps
    HerbsPro: Amino Balance, Free Form Amino Acid Complex, Anabol Naturals, 500 mg, 500 Caps
    For tissue repair, reduced soreness and accelerated recovery, as well as a wealth of non-training benefits, this blend of 23 pure crystalline 100% pharmaceutical grade free-form amino acids is unmatched.
    HerbsPro: Amino Max 21, FoodScience of Vermont, 90 Caps
    A high quality, hypoallergenic amino acid formulation. Amino Max 21 is a scientifically formulated combination of 21 crystalline, free-form amino acids in the natural L-configuration. Because free-form amino acids are readily bioavailable and require no digestion by the body, they can be absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream and accompanying tissues where they are used for cellular regeneration.
    HerbsPro: Essential Amino Acid Complex, Solgar, Free Form, 600 mg, 90 VCaps (36384)
    HerbsPro: Amino Complete, Balanced Blend Complex, Now Foods, 120 Caps
    HerbsPro: Max-Amino With Vitamin B-6, Blend of 18 Amino Acids, Country Life, 180 Caps
    An easily absorbed blend of 18 amino acids yielding high biological activity. An ideal formula for athletes, and when protein demands may not be fully satisfied. B-6 aids in the utilization of amino acids. An easily absorbed Amino Acid Supplement.
    HerbsPro: Amino Acid Complete, Balanced Blend Complex, Now Foods, 360 Caps
    HerbsPro: Cher-Amino Liquid Protein, TwinLab, 16 fl. oz. (19499)
    Cher Amino Protein is a concentrated and peptide bonded free amino acid supplement contains all essential amino acid derived from natural enzyme hydrolysis of collagen protein and whey protein that help relieve muscle breakdown.
    HerbsPro: Cher-Amino Liquid Protein, TwinLab, 32 fl. oz. (19498)
    Cher Amino Protein is a concentrated and peptide bonded free amino acid supplement contains all essential amino acid derived from natural enzyme hydrolysis of collagen protein and whey protein that helps to relieve muscle breakdown. The protein in this product is a predigested collagen and whey (lactalbumin) protein and is therefore utilized 100%. Contains all the essential amino acids derived by enzymatically hydrolyzing the animal protein collagen and whey protein (lactalbumin). The amino acids in this product are naturally present in the protein. They are not added or manufactured. 15 grams per ounce. New improved formula. Predigested collagen. Enriched with predigested whey protein, a superior source of high quality amino acids.


    AMAZON PRODUCTS

    Amazon: Amino Acid Complex Complete Supplement Products

  • Nutrition Basics: Amino Acid Complex Supplement Information






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    HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS

  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index
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  • RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION

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