Amino acids are often referred to as the “building blocks of protein”. Proteins are synthesized through the condensing of amino acids, forming chain molecules held together by peptide bonds.
The sequence and number of these bonds determines the type of protein and its function, in a similar way to our use of different letters of the alphabet to form different meanings when used in combination.
More about Amino Acids
The potential number of unique proteins then is staggeringly huge. Of all the known and potential amino acids, some twenty are key in the synthesis of protein.
Some organisms are able to synthesize all of the proteins they need to function, whereas other organisms must be provided essential amino acids through their diet or some other external means.
Those that cannot be synthesized by an organism itself, and yet are crucial to said organism functioning, are known as essential amino acids.
Human beings are able to produce ten of the twenty key amino´s. We must therefore find the remaining ten in our diets, or by means of supplementation.
Deficiency in as few as one kind of essential amino acid can lead to wasting of muscle fiber and other negative effects, and since the body does not store amino acids in the same way that it stores, for example, sugar, we must ensure a constant supply of them in order to remain optimally healthy.
Types of Amino Acids and its availability
Essential amino acids for human beings include leucine, lysine, methionine, typtophan, valine, ylalanine, arginine and histidine.
Methionine, phenylalanine and arginine are slightly different from the others in that they are synthesized by the body but in insufficient quantities to carry out their primary roles, and therefore supplementation is needed.
Other than taurine, glyine and GABA, the majority of amino acids come in what are known as D or L forms, which are the opposite to one another.
L-form amino acids occur naturally in the living tissue of plants and animals, and are common in the formation of human protein and other biochemical processes.
D-form amino acids are less compatible in terms of human needs. As described above, amino acids bind together to form proteins.
A protein is a bio-molecule that is an essential part of any living thing.
All proteins, whether in the smallest bacteria of the largest mammal, are biochemically similar, strings of amino acids linked into long chains.
Protein is used by the human body to create muscle and organ tissue, bones, glands, hair, and numerous other key features.
Branched chain amino acids, also known as BCAA´s, are comprised of three key amino´s – L-leucine, L-valine and L-isoleucine.
They can be found in the protein structure of every living thing on the planet, and our primary source of them comes from our diet in the form of meat and vegetables.
Studies have shown that, as well as being a necessary component of any life form, supplementing an average diet with higher levels of BCAA´s may lead to improved neurological function.
These claims are still undergoing testing, but many people already swear by BCAA supplementation as a key part of their nutritional programs, citing increased alertness and mental capacity, as well as heightened energy levels, as the main beneficial side-effects.
They also play a key role in neuro-transmission – the sending of electro-chemical messages to and from the brain, and in the synthesis of hormones such as insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels.
They help repair and regenerate tissue as well as building it.
All living tissue has some capacity to synthesize amino acids and process them to some degree, but the liver is the primary site of amino acid manufacture and specialization.
The vast majority of protein consumed by a human being will be processed in the liver, where the amino acids are partially oxidized and produce glucose and glutamine.
These supplements are used for many different reasons and can have a wide spectrum of health benefits.
Supplements are generally categorized into individual amino acid supplements, complexes or in liquid form.
Sometimes they are sold as what are known as chelates, which are believed to have increased effectiveness compared to base amino acids.
Is there any negative impact on our health of consuming Amino acids?
Some amino acids produce no side-effects when consumed to excess, though others can lead to anxiety and increased heart rate.
You should always consult a healthcare professional before undergoing a course of amino acid supplementation.
Most of the essential amino´s can be found in the typical foodstuff that we consume as part of our daily diets, including meat, fish and vegetables.
But because a deficiency in even one of these essential amino´s can cause problems, supplementation is a safe and easy way to ensure that you get all the nutrition your body needs in order to operate at maximum effectiveness, without the hassle of extensive dietary planning.
It is also the case that there is no sure way of telling the nutritional content of food as a piece of chicken, for example, can carry substantially in its quality and nutritional value. Supplementation, on the other hand, is a sure thing.
Glutamine is an amino believed to be effective in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems, and may benefit sufferers of diseases such as ulcerative colitis, or Crohn´s disease.
Aromatic amino acids, or ArAAs, are common in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and therefore certain complexes may be effective in the treatment of psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.