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Amino Acids


Essential Amino Acids

An essential amino acid is one that can not be synthesized (made) by your body, and must come from an external source. They are required to make proteins and perform other important duties. Proteins are involved in everything you think and do, including the structure, function, repair of your brain and body.

Most foods contain a quantity of several essential amino acids, so you are probably getting enough if you eat balanced diet. For those who want to take supplements, doing so only 1 or 2 days a week is a good option. Perhaps taking them only when you feel you need to. In addition, don't forget to drink enough water and ingest an adequate amount of vitamins & minerals.

Essential Amino Acids:
--- Histidine.
--- Isoleucine.
--- Leucine.
--- Lysine.
--- Methionine.
--- Phenylalanine.
--- Threonine.
--- Tryptophan.
--- Valine.



Histidine (L-histidine)

Histidine is needed by the human body to utilize minerals like copper, iron, manganese, zinc. It can improve cognition, increase wakefulness, aid with digestion, help rid the body of dangerous heavy metals. For some it can help treat allergy symptoms and reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain.

In addition to performing other actions, histidine is a precursor to histamine. Histamine acts a neurotransmitter and inflammatory agent in immune response, where it helps defend the body from harmful substances like bacteria and viruses. Vitamin B6 helps convert histidine to histamine in the body.

Foods that contain histidine include soybean products, spirulina, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, cheese, eggs, pork, turkey, lamb, chicken, fish, beef.
Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-500 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 500-1000 mg.



Isoleucine (L-isoleucine)

Isoleucine, as well as leucine and valine, are essential amino acids that are also classified as a branched chain amino acids. Vitamin B7 (biotin) is necessary for the breakdown and use of isoleucine by the human body. Excess levels of isoleucine are related to insulin resistance.

Among other functions, isoleucine is required to maintain energy levels (through glucose) when a person is physically active. Foods containing isoleucine include soybean products, spirulina, lentils, spaghetti, peanuts, eggs, cheese, turkey, chicken, fish, beef.

If you eat a balanced diet with some of the foods listed above, there is probably no need for isoleucine supplements.
Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-1000 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 1000-2000 mg per day.



Leucine (L-leucine)

Leucine, as well as isoleucine and valine, are essential amino acids that are also classified as a branched chain amino acids. Vitamin B7 (biotin) is necessary for the breakdown and use of leucine by the human body. Excess levels of leucine are related to insulin resistance.

Leucine is required by the human body for various actions related to body fat, muscle tissue, the liver, other duties. It is also converted to acetyl coenzyme A, which is important to many bodily process, including energy production.

Foods containing leucine include eggs, soybean products, spirulina, cheese, chicken, fish, turkey, beef, pork.
Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-2000 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 2000-4000 mg per day.



Lysine (L-lysine)

Lysine is required by the body for various processes including production of important chemicals like antibodies, enzymes, hormones. It is necessary for building muscle protein, absorption of calcium, recovery from injury and surgery.

Some individuals take lysine supplements to reduce anxiety, and also treat cold sores (herpes simplex). Other individuals take large doses of lysine and vitamin C to treat heart disease, this is referred to as Pauling's therapy.

Foods containing lysine include soybean products, seeds, nuts, beans, cheese, eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, beef, pork.
Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-1500 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 1500-3000 mg per day.



Methionine (L-methionine)

Methionine is important for many functions of cells and is involved in the production of new blood vessels. It may speed recovery from wounds and has been utilized to treat acetaminophen overdose and liver disorders. High levels may increase cancer risk and a diet with reduced methionine may help treat cancer.

Foods containing methionine include nuts, beans, eggs, cheese and dairy products, fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork. Methionine and cysteine are sulfur amino acids. When taking a methionine supplement some recommend taking cysteine with it, at a 2.5 to 1.0 (methionine to cysteine) ratio.

Methionine Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-500 mg.
Cysteine Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 20-200 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Methionine Daily Requirement: 500-1000 mg per day.
Cysteine Daily Requirement: 200-400 mg per day.



Phenylalanine (L-phenylalanine)

L-phenylalanine is associated with different functions including as a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine. In the body phenylalanine is converted to tyrosine. When one is taken as a supplement, they are often combined.

Phenylalanine and tyrosine can be stimulating and may interfere with sleep if taken near bed time. L-phenylalanine supplements are sometimes taken to treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, vitiligo. Do not confuse with D-phenylalanine (more info here).

Foods containing phenylalanine include soybean products, nuts, beans, cheese, milk, eggs, pork, beef, chicken, fish.
Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-1200 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 1200-2400 mg per day.
The daily requirement includes phenylalanine/tyrosine.



Threonine (L-threonine)

Threonine is an essential amino acid. Like all the essential amino acids, it is necessary so the human body can produce proteins. Threonine is also a precursor to glycine. Glycine is an amino acid that also acts as a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the body.

Threonine is involved in various bodily functions including metabolism and the immune system. Foods containing threonine include soybean products, spirulina, seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, sesame seed, cheese, turkey, chicken, fish, pork, beef.

Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-750 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 750-1500 mg per day.



Tryptophan (L-tryptophan)

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin (a neurotransmitter), melatonin (a hormone), niacin (vitamin B3). Low levels may result in reduced serotonin, which can contribute to problems including impaired thinking, depression, gastrointestinal disorders.

Tryptophan supplements can be taken on an empty stomach, but might be absorbed better if combined with carbohydrates, while avoiding protein. Supplementing tryptophan may cause drowsiness, if it does try taking it later in the day or before bed.

Foods containing tryptophan include spirulina, soybean products, spinach, seeds, nuts, cheese, eggs, beef, pork, chicken, turkey.
Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 25-200 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 200-400 mg.



Valine (L-valine)

Valine, as well as isoleucine and leucine, are essential amino acids that are also classified as a branched chain amino acids. Valine is used for energy in muscles. It may increase glycogen synthesis. In the liver, valine can be converted to glucose.

Supplementing might help stimulate the immune system. However, excess levels of valine (and the other branched chain amino acids) are related to insulin resistance, which is a resistance to insulin that causes increased blood sugar levels.

Foods containing valine include soybean products, spirulina, seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, cheese, eggs, beef, poultry, pork, fish.
Amino Acid Supplement Dose: 50-1300 mg.
Frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Daily Requirement: 1300-2600 mg.




Notes

The best way to ensure you are getting enough of the required essential amino acids in your body is to eat a well balanced diet that includes foods, or drink, that contain amino acids.

Foods that are high in amino acid content include those high in protein. For those who do not get enough of the foods listed above in their diet, taking a supplement that contains amino acids is an option.

Taking large doses of a single amino acid supplement may cause an amino acid imbalance or other problems. If your diet leaves you short of one or more amino acids and you decide to take supplements, start by taking them in minimal amounts.

The daily requirement amount listed above is based on weight. The low number is based on person that weighs 110 pounds (50 kilograms). The high number is based on person that weighs 220 pounds (100 kilograms).

If you are taking more than one amino acid supplement, you can take them together at the same time. For most amino acid supplements, it is probably best to take them on an empty stomach

An empty stomach means taking them at least 30-60 minutes before and 60-120 minutes after eating. If you have to take them with food, avoid taking them with anything that contains protein, which may interfere with absorption.


Links

RDA essential amino acids calculator.
Non essential amino acids.
Conditionally essential amino acids.
Proteinogenic amino acids.
Essential amino acid page at wikipedia.





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