Amino Acids

Non-Essential Amino Acids


The non-essential amino acids are very important for the production of proteins and many other bodily functions. They can be synthesized by the human body naturally. If you are healthy and eat a balanced diet, there is probably no need to take supplements.

If supplementing is necessary, it is usually best to take them on an empty stomach. Avoid taking any amino acid supplement with items that contain protein, it might hinder absorption. Taking large doses of one amino acid regularly can upset amino acid balance.

Non-Essential Amino Acids:
--- Alanine.
--- Arginine.
--- Asparagine.
--- Aspartic Acid.
--- Cysteine.
--- Glutamic Acid.
--- Glutamine.
--- Glycine.
--- Proline.
--- Serine.
--- Tyrosine.



Alanine (L-alanine)

Alanine plays an important role in the production and conversion of glucose to energy. Some people take alanine supplements when their blood sugar levels drop, to keep it from falling too low. Others take it when they don't get much protein in their diet

Supplements are sometimes taken by those who perform strenuous physical activity, for energy. Alanine, glycine, glutamic acid (listed below) may relieve enlarged prostate symptoms when taken daily in doses of roughly 300-400 milligrams of each.

Foods that contain alanine include soybean products, spirulina, eggs, turkey, beef, fish, pork. Do not confuse alanine (L-alanine) with beta-alanine, which is a different substance.



Arginine (L-arginine)

Arginine plays an important role in releasing hormones, cell division, wound healing, functioning of the immune system, removal of ammonia from the body. Arginine can help treat angina, coronary artery disease, clogged arteries, peripheral vascular disease.

It can increase the formation of nitric oxide and reduce blood pressure. Maintaining adequate levels of arginine is especially necessary for those with diabetes (type II) and hypertension (high blood pressure). Some athletes say arginine increases blood flow and helps them with performance.

Foods that contain arginine include soybean products, spirulina, gelatin, spinach, peanuts, shrimp, crab, turkey, chicken. Excess levels of supplements or food that contains arginine may result in upset stomach and/or diarrhea.



Asparagine (L-asparagine)

Besides being important to the function and structure of proteins, asparagine is required for development and function of the brain. It also plays an important role in the synthesis of ammonia.

Asparagine is synthesized in the human body from aspartic acid and there is usually no need to supplement. A deficiency of asparagine is rare, but could lead to symptoms that include headaches, depression, irritability, mental confusion, psychosis.

Foods that contain asparagine include soybean products, asparagus, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, dairy products, whey, eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood.



Aspartic Acid (L-aspartic acid)

Aspartic acid is the precursor to several important amino acids, including four essential amino acids: methionine, threonine, isoleucine, lysine. The body can synthesize aspartic acid from oxaloacetate and supplementing is usually not necessary.

Aspartate is the conjugate base of aspartic acid, it is formed by the removal of a proton. Aspartate stimulates NMDA receptors associated the neurotransmitter glutamate, but it does not do so as strongly as glutamate does.

Foods that contain aspartic acid include soybean products, spirulina, seeds, eggs, fish, beef. Aspartic acid and the essential amino acid phenylalanine are the two main ingredients of the artificial sweetener called aspartame.



Cysteine (L-cysteine)

Cysteine has several important functions including being a precursor to glutathione, which is an antioxidant. There is a possibility that cysteine supplements may reduce the severity of hangover and liver damage associated with alcohol consumption.

However, excessive amounts may cause symptoms that include dizziness, drowsiness, weakness. Excess levels of cysteine may heighten the risk of vascular disease in the coronary, cerebral, peripheral vessels.

Foods that contain cysteine include soybean products, horseradish, red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, brussels sprout, oats, granola, wheat germ, dairy products, eggs, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish.



Glutamic Acid (L-glutamic acid)

Glutamic acid, when ingested by humans, can drop a hydrogen atom and become glutamate, after it is in the body. Among other functions, glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter associated with learning, memory, language, speech.

If your doctor advises you to increase your intake of glutamic acid, you can eat more foods that contain glutamic acid or take supplements. Glutamic acid supplements are sold as glutamic acid or L-glutamic acid.

Foods that contain glutamic acid include soybean products, spirulina, cabbage, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, peanut butter, dairy products, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish. For the vast majority of people there is no need to take supplements .



Glutamine (L-glutamine)

Glutamine is an amino acid involved in various important bodily functions. This includes synthesis of proteins, synthesis of lipids, transporting and eliminating ammonia from the body, maintaining acid-base balance of bodily fluids.

Glutamine supplements can reduce chances of systemic infections that can develop in the stomach. Some athletes like supplements to help maintain their immune system, and after strenuous exertion to speed recovery.

Foods that contain glutamine include cabbage, beets, parsley, spinach, dairy products, eggs, chicken, fish, pork, beef. The body normally synthesizes enough, but when under stress you may benefit from food or supplements that contain glutamine.



Glycine (L-glycine)

Glycine is a non-essential amino acid that also functions as a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Large doses of 15,000 mg or more may reduce symptoms of schizophrenia. Some individuals take glycine supplements as a sleep aid that improves sleep quality.

If you decide to take glycine supplements, take them on an empty stomach for better absorption. Doses of about 100-500 mg can be calming and improve cognition. While larger doses in the range of about 500-3000 milligrams will usually induce sleep.

Foods that contain glycine include spirulina, sesame seed, soybean products, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin, banana, kiwi fruit, cucumber, eggs, gelatin, pork, chicken, turkey, beef, seafood.



Proline (L-proline)

An important function of proline is the production of proteins like collagen and cartilage. The human body can naturally synthesize proline from glutamate. There is usually no need to supplement proline.

Pauling's therapy is a large dose mixture of vitamin C and the essential amino acid lysine taken to treat cardiovascular and heart diseases. Some people add proline to Pauling's therapy for additional benefits.

Foods that contain proline include gelatin, soybean products, spirulina, cabbage, bamboo shoots, asparagus, spinach, yogurt, cheese, whole milk, chicken, beef, pork.



Serine (L-serine)

Serine is important to metabolism. It is also a precursor to nucleotides and phospholipids, and the neurotransmitters glycine and D-serine, which are important to the brain and nervous system.

Some people take serine as a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Although results are limited, other conditions that people utilize serine to treat include fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease.

Foods that contain serine include soybean products, spirulina, nuts, cheese, whole milk, eggs, turkey, fish, pork, beef. If you don't get enough in your diet, serine supplements may help with cognition, increasing energy levels, clearing foggy thinking.



Tyrosine (L-tyrosine)

Tyrosine is an amino acid that, besides being important to synthesizing proteins, also acts as a precursor to the very important neurotransmitter dopamine, which is converted to norepinephrine (noradrenalin), then epinephrine (adrenalin).

Tyrosine supplements can improve cognition, increase energy, reduce anxiety, reduce depression, reduce levels of pain. To be safe, hyperthyroidism sufferers should avoid tyrosine. There is a chance it could raise thyroid levels even higher.

Foods that contain tyrosine include soybean products, spirulina, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lima beans, avocados, bananas, eggs, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, fish, turkey, chicken, pork, beef.