Search Term: " Non-Essenial "
21 matching the search criteria.
How Much Protein Should You Eat?
November 05, 2016 01:48 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: How Much Protein Should You Eat?
Protein is the major staples of a strong diet along with carbohydrates and fats. Eating them in the proper proportions will help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Despite what you may have heard, most people don't have a problem getting enough protein. The more important thing to focus on is eating the right protein.
So how much protein per day should you eat? The USDA, in their My Food Pyramid guidance system, suggests 0.8g - 1.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. So what the heck does that mean? To determine this for yourself, multiply your weight by 0.45, and that gets you your weight in kilograms. So an 180 lb. The male would weigh 81 kilograms. Multiply that by 0.8 - 1.2 and that person would need about 65g-100g of protein per day.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, one of the main building blocks in our body. They are even found in our DNA. Many are produced by the body (called non-essential amino acids), but others are only obtained from food called essential amino acids. You can get these necessary amino acids from supplements, but the best source is food.
Why are these amino acids so important in burning fat?
Amino acids combine to create structural proteins in the body. Without them, we wouldn't be able to repair and build muscle tissue, which helps keep our metabolism high and helps us burn fat - even resting. Amino acids come from protein sources. If you don't eat enough protein in your diet, you lack the amino acid combination's to keep your body functioning properly.
There are many sources of protein, but not all are good for you. Some protein-rich food also contains a lot of saturated fat. So, you need protein sources that are low in saturated fat but high in the proteins that the body needs to break down and retrieve the essential amino acids.
Here are some examples of lean proteins:- Red meat - Red meat is full of protein. Leaner cuts such as eye of the round will come with less fat. Grass-fed beef is the best when you can find it because it contains fewer hormones and other unhealthy byproducts.
-Fish - Certain fish and shrimp contain protein, as well as other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids (a member of the "good fats" category). They are good for heart health and overall well-being. Try salmon, mackerel, trout, or tuna.
L-Leucine as an essential Amino Acid
May 31, 2014 06:54 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: L-Leucine as an essential Amino Acid
L-Leucine is a a-amino acid with the chemical formulae HO2CCH(NH2)CH2CH(CH3)2. It is a hydrophopic amino acid to its aliphatic isobutyl side chain. L-Leucine is an essential amino acid since the human body can’t synthesize it, and it therefore must be ingested.
What is an essential amino acid
These are the amino acids that can’t be synthesized by the body of the organism hence it must be supplied in the diet. These amino acids is important not because they are important than others, but simply because the body can’t synthesize them.
Phenylalanine, L- Leucine, Valine, Tryptophan, Threonine, meyhionine, iso - Leucine, lysine and histidine are some of amino acids regarded as essential for humans beings.
The main difference between essential and non-essential amino acids is somehow since some proteins can be synthesized from others. The sulfur containing amino acids such as L-Leucine may sometimes be referred to as an essential amino acid.
Effects of L-Leucine deficiency
Majority of amino acids are important in the human diet. An experiment carried out by William Cummings Rose showed that lack of L-Leucine results to symptoms of exhaustion, nervousness and dizziness. Results further showed that these symptoms were encountered to lesser extent whenever human subjects were deprived of an essential amino acid.
In plants and other micro-organisms, L-Leucine is synthesized from pruvic acid by several enzymes. These enzymes include:
· a-Isopropylmalate synthase
· a-Isopropylmalate isomerase
· Acetolactate synthase
· Acetohydroxy acid isomeroreductase
· Dihydroxyacid dehydratase
Importance of L- Leucine
L-Leucine is used by the adipose tissue, liver and the muscle. In muscle tissue and adipose L-Leucine is used in the formation of sterols. Ironically the combined usage of L-Leucine in the muscle and adipose is seven times greater than its use in the liver.
L-Leucine is also used in stimulation of the muscle protein synthesis. In dietary , L-Leucine is used in to slow down the degradation of muscle tissue by increasing the synthesis of muscle proteins in aged rats however this does not work in elderly men. L-Leucine helps you lose weight and spare muscle when dieting.
However L-Leucine can’t be associated as the main reason in muscular growth for the entire populatin. L-Leucine activates the mammalian target that regulates the growth cells in rats.
Negative effects of L- Leucine
L-Leucine cause neurologic complications which may be fatal if not control in time.
Studies also show that over activity of the liver is caused by taking L-Leucine supplement, excess L-Leucine may also cause pellagra, whose symptoms include dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and eventually death.
What Is Beta Alanine And How Does It Improve My Athletic Performance?
January 16, 2014 05:32 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: What Is Beta Alanine And How Does It Improve My Athletic Performance?
Beta-alanine is classified under non-essential amino acid; which imply that the body is able to produce.
Amino acids are the building components of proteins. Beta-alanine is a precursor to the compound carnosine; which, functions by regulating the acidic environment resulting from active muscles. In a case where the cellular environment inside the muscle becomes too acidic, then the muscle ceases to function. To prevent this carnosine slows down or attenuates the development of an acidic environment allowing an athlete to perform better or exercise with more work load.
What is Carnosine
Carnosine is very effective at controlling the hydrogen ions that cause then negative effects of lactic acid. Carnosine is understood to be one of the main muscle buffering substances contained in skeletal muscle. Therefore when carnosine prevents the arising of an acidic environment which characterizes a high-intensity exercise, the athlete is able to exercise at high intensities for a longer period.
When carnosine is ingested directly through the mouth it is rapidly converted into beta-alanine and histidine by the enzyme carnosinase as soon as it enters the blood stream. It is thus ineffective when carnosine is ingested directly. However,separate ingestion of beta-alanine and histidine results in these two compounds re-conversion to carnosine after absorption into the skeletal muscle.
Beta-alanine has great benefit in improving athletic performance and exercise intensity, and the building of lean muscle mass.
Research indicates that beta-alanine is the amino acid that highly affects intramuscular carnosine amount as it is the rate-regulating substrate in this chemical reaction (Dunnett and Harris 1999).
Recommended Use for Beta Alanine
It is highly recommended that beta-alanine be taken in daily dosages in order to be highly effective, with dosage amounts varying from different expert opinions as well as dependant on the athlete preference.
Studies have indicated that 28 days dosage of 4 to 6 g/day of beta-alanine supplementation resulted in an approximately 60% improvement of intramuscular rates (Harris et al. 2005; Zoeller et al. 2007)
Why Should I Be Taking The Supplement PABA?
January 11, 2014 04:05 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Why Should I Be Taking The Supplement PABA?
What Is PABA?
PABA, which is the acronym for Para-AminoBenzoic Acid, is an antioxidant that is made in the human body by friendly intestinal bacteria. It is considered by some people as a B complex Vitamin. But it is actually an amino acid, not really a vitamin. Sometimes it is called Vitamin Bx. PABA is non-essential nutrient found in liver, mushrooms, whole grains, molasses, spinach and brewer’s yeast. PABA offers many health benefits. An ever increasing number of people are turning to this nutritional supplement for its beneficial properties.
Health Benefits of PABA Supplement
The great benefits of taking of Para-AminoBenzoic acid include, but not limited to treat, cure or improve arthritis, vitiligo, anaemia, headache, and hair loss. PABA is used to treat vitiligo which is a skin disorder caused by the local destruction of the pigment-producing cells of the skin. A person with vitiligo loses his or her skin pigmentation, resulting in the appearance of the white skin patches. Experts suggest that a regular intake of 100 mg of PABA supplement 3 – 4 times each day along with the PABA injections can help in the repigmentation and improvement of the skin area affected by vitiligo.
According to many experts, including medical practitioners, infertile women may become pregnant by taking the regular intake of PABA supplement. Taking 100 mg PABA four times a day will contribute to the maintenance of good health. However, how much PABA supplement your body requires will depend on your overall health. More and more people are using PABA supplement to PABA has been tested and proven to help to shield the skin against UV (Ultra Violate) ray of the sun. This nutritional supplement has been used to treat other skin disorders such as sunburns and eczema.
Para-AminoBenzoic Acid is a food or nutritional supplement that is available from both bold natural and synthetic sources but it is not considered an essential nutrient. Do not take more than 400 mg of PABA supplement without consulting your doctor. Finally, PABA supplement is natural and can be taken by both children and adults. So, use this great nutritional supplement to fight certain health problems and improve your health and mind.
The Role of Glycine in Collagen and Its Remarkable Health Benefits
March 17, 2013 08:41 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: The Role of Glycine in Collagen and Its Remarkable Health Benefits
Collagen is basically made up of several amino acids and one of which is glycine. This particular amino acid accounts 1/3 of the entire composition of collagen. It can be found in the third position in the sequence of the amino acids. One of the fundamental roles of this amino acid is that it reduces the water solubility of collagen by a hundred folds. Contrary to the fact that it's considered as a non-essential amino acid, glycine has many health benefits aside from being a part of the collagen synthesis. The details below present some of the most essential information that you ought to know about this collagen component. Here they are:
Glycine Synthesizes Normal DNA and RNA
DNA and RNA are genetic materials necessary for the proper cellular formation and function. Glycine prevents the breakdown of the muscle tissues by increasing the body's creatine levels which is a compound that builds muscle mass. High concentration of this amino acid can also be found in the skin and connective tissues in the body and it keeps them flexible and firm. Without glycine, the body won't be able to repair damaged tissues.
Glycine Keeps the Central Nervous System Healthy
Studies had shown that this amino acid is an inhibitor of the neurotransmitters that can cause seizures, hyperactivity and bipolar depression. As a matter of fact, it can be converted into serine which is a neurotransmitter beneficial in the treatment of schizophrenia. Researchers found out that schizophrenic patients exhibited significant improvements after adding glycine with their anti-psychotic medication. It was also found out that it improves memory. Glycine Promotes Proper Function of the
This amino acid is known to induce bile acid production which is used to digest fats. It is also often included in most over-the-counter gastric antacid agents to prevent and treat acid reflux. Glycine Provides Glucose Specifically, this non-essential amino acid is also considered as glucogenic amino acid. That simply means that it provides glucose in the body. One of its benefits includes regulation of blood sugar levels, so it can be helpful in treating symptoms manifested by low energy and fatigue.
Glycine May Help With Cancer
Preliminary studies considered this amino acid as another breakthrough in cancer treatment. Results suggested that it can prevent the development of cancerous cells as it acts as an inhibitor of angiogenesis which is a process in which tumors, benign or malignant, develop their own blood supply.
Sources of Glycine
High-quality protein foods such as white meat from fish and chicken, beans, legumes, eggs and milk are known to be the main sources of this amino acid. Glycine supplements are also available in tablet or powder forms and can also be one of the components of many amino acid supplements. Except for some people complaining about having stomach upset and dizziness after taking glycine supplements, there are no other noted adversarial or severe side effects of glycine. If taken properly, such supplementation is extremely safe.
Who Should Not Take Glycine?
Those individuals suffering from kidney and liver diseases should never take glycine. Pregnant women should never take as well. People taking antispatic medication are not allowed also since there could be interference between the drugs and glycine. It's always best to consult a doctor first before taking such supplement.
Those are all the most notable benefits of glycine. The point here is that it is not just a mere part of a collagen but it also has a number of health benefits.
The Health benefits of L-Arginine
June 08, 2012 08:10 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: The Health benefits of L-Arginine
What is L-Arginine?
L-Arginine, also referred to as Arginine, is a non-essential amino acid-it's produced naturally in the body-and it is vital for the normal functioning of pituitary gland. This substance comes from natural sources such as nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, popcorn, chocolate, brown rice, raisins, carob, oatmeal, gelatin desserts, protein rich foods, and whole wheat bread. Men, whose seminal fluids consist of up to 80 percent of this amino acid, especially need L-Arginine as a deficiency could cause infertility. L-Arginine is not only obtained from food sources but through supplementation as well. As we age, the production of this amino acid decreases in the body and this is thought to cause many degenerative processes associated with aging. Thus, Arginine is vital for maintaining your overall health as well as sexual health.
Deficiency of L-Arginine can delay sexual maturity, impair insulin production, cause liver lipid metabolism and glucose tolerance.
Functions of L-Arginine
L-Arginine amino acid performs various functions in the body, including:
It is a component of collagen, enzymes, ejaculate, hormones, connective tissues, and skin. It plays an important role in the manufacture of protein molecules such as insulin and creatine. It's a precursor of nitric oxide as well as other metabolites.
Health benefits of L-Arginine
Although the benefits of Arginine supplements are debated, proponents state that Arginine converts into nitric oxide inside the body and enlarges or dilates the blood vessels. This helps better circulation and it's one of the reasons it is used to cure erectile dysfunction. This amino acid produces positive results as it enhances blood circulation, especially to the genitalia. Arginine is also a key component in sperm and seminal fluid production, so it's used to treat sterility in men. Other health benefits of L-Arginine include:
Aids in muscle-building
Helps maintain blood-sugar levels
Increases immune function
Increase fertility in females
Improves blood flow and decreases clogged arteries
Increases sperm count
Helps in liver detoxification
Maintains nitrogen balance
Promotes body fat burning
Promotes better bone density
Provides anti-oxidant properties
Reduces effects of alcohol toxicity
Reduces blood pressure
Reduces heart and vascular disease, cholesterol risk and stroke
Helps reduce body fat
Helps remove excess ammonia
Aids faster healing of wounds
L-Arginine anti-aging properties
One last benefit to note about L-Arginine is the fact that it simulates the production of human growth hormone (HGH), IGF, and testosterone. As your body ages, it produces less and less of these hormones which directly affects the aging process. These hormones are responsible for reducing body fat, keeping the skin elastic, and increasing sexual stamina. While your body won't turn into that of a teenager, taking L-Arginine supplements can make you feel and look younger.
Just as other forms of supplementation, you should take caution while using L-Arginine. This means that you have to get a doctor's approval before you take this drug. You should carefully follow the drug's instructions on dosage and frequency. As long as you take L-Arginine with care, you can greatly enhance your overall health and wellbeing.
Health benefits of Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids
March 08, 2012 06:50 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Health benefits of Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids
What AreThe Benefits Of Omega-3-6-9?
In order to maintain the normal function of the body, it is important that our diet consists of the right amounts of various fatty acids. These are organic compounds made up of carbon chains of various lengths, with one end having an acid group and a hydrogen on the end all attached to the carbons in the chain. Omega-3-6-9 fatty acids are vital ingredients that play important roles in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids are referred to as essential fatty acids because they cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained from foods such as nuts, fish or plant oils such as canola and sunflower. These essential fatty acids exists in three types, alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid each with an important role to play in the body.
The alpha-linolenic acid help to reduce the high risks of stroke and heart disease by lowering cholesterol level and slowing down the production of harmful triglyceride in the liver while at the same time raising the level of high-density lipoproteins, HDL or good cholesterol in the body. They also prevent the accumulation of harmful fat in the arteries and promote the elastic nature of the blood vessels.
Both eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids promote the development of the eye and brain, reduces risks of cardiovascular diseases, and may aid in preventing Alzheimer's disease. A study based on eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids conducted on a ten year period on individuals who had high risk of death from heart disease revealed a 40% decrease in cardiovascular disease and a dramatic reduction in mortality rate.
Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from chicken, eggs, dairy products and various plant oils such as corn oil, rice bran oil among others. In association with its derivative, the alpha-linoleic acid they aid in production of prostaglandin which plays a vital role in promoting the normal function of the brain, nerve and immune system.
They also help in reducing incidences of coronary artery disease by lowering the level of cholesterol in the arteries. By consuming the right amounts of essential fatty acids, a balance is achieved and both essential oils work synergistically to promote the overall health of the body by preventing various inflammatory disorders.
Omega-9 fatty acids are a class of unsaturated fats commonly found in animals fats and vegetables and are also called monosaturated fats or oleic acids. They are usually produced by the body unlike the essential fatty acids but can also be obtained from various plant oils such as sunflower, olive, canola as well as other mono-saturated fats. Research studies have revealed that the mono-saturated fatty acids may help in reducing the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.
This is because, they have been found to play an important role in increasing the level of high-density lipoproteins or good cholesterol and decreasing the level of high-density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol in the body. They also prevent the unwanted plaque deposits in the arteries and this reduces the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Despite the fact that Omega-3-6-9 individually play different roles in the body, it is clear that striking a balance of the essential fatty acids plus non-essential fatty acids is important for promoting the overall health of the body.
What Is the best Free Form Amino Acid to Take?
September 19, 2011 02:43 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: What Is the best Free Form Amino Acid to Take?
These days many of us are more and more conscious about our health and we also are able to figure out that if we would like to move further towards a healthier condition we also need to build muscle. That may not be what your trainer says but a good one will do so because healthier means less fat and more muscle. Leaner muscle will be able to give us more energy thus more vitality, in general we simply will be able to get more out of life than if we had plenty of fat to carry around. However please do note that I am not talking about being a body builder and build bulks and bulks of muscle. That part really depends on you and what I mean is it depends on your weight, your height, your current health and a lot of other factors which are unique to you. So now you may ask, what does this have to do with free form amino acids? Well lean muscle could not be built without amino acids because they are the building blocks of muscle tissues so for us to understand the purpose of free form amino acids and what it can do for us let’s look at more details and thereafter we will be able to figure out as well what may be the best free form amino acid to take.
Free Amino Acids
Free form Amino Acids are basically single amino acids which are ready for use in other words it does need to be digested by the body. This is the reason why it is known more as “pre-digested”. You see, if we get all our amino acids from food what happens is all the protein that is supposed to be derived from it will not be entirely assimilated and a lot of partial proteins will be left undigested and this is what is known as peptides. In this form, it can cause problems for the body as it is useless and in this case will cause imbalances in different areas of your body and may cause allergic reactions. On the other hand free form amino acid will skip all of that because it will be readily available to make all the enzymes and hormones that the body needs and eventually create healthy muscle tissue and nervous tissue.
The Best Free form Amino Acid
I really can’t pinpoint just one awesome product that is out there as the best but what I can do is tell you what to look for to possibly have the best wherever you may be. First off is to find a well balanced formula of essential amino acids because they stop working for a certain period of time if it is not well balanced in the body. Then make sure that it has a lot of essential amino acids so that your body will be able to produce a wider range of non-essential amino acids for more health benefits. Second is that you need to look for high quality crystalline free form amino acids because reduced soy or milk proteins still have peptides which may cause allergic reactions. Lastly, check for good sulfur and molybdenum content to aid strengthen the liver as it is responsible for all protein processing and cleansing of toxins.
What are the Essential Amino Acids we must get from our Diet to Survive?
August 17, 2011 12:13 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: What are the Essential Amino Acids we must get from our Diet to Survive?
Amino acids or the building blocks of protein are very important in overall functioning of the body. Proteins, to mention, are responsible for the build up of most of our body parts specifically our muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, tissues, glands, nails and hair. Moreover, the repair and preservation of those parts still rely on proteins. Amino acids can be of two different forms which are the non-essential and essential. On this selection, we will be focusing more on the latter.
Essential amino acids are those which cannot be produced by the body therefore it has to be supplied through our diet. This category of amino acids includes tryptophan, lysine, methionine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine and phenylalanine.
Tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, can be acquired from peanuts, meat, turkey, fish, milk, dried dates, cottage cheese, banana, oats and chocolates. A deficiency of this can bring up serious neurological problems, depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties.
Another essential amino acid is methionine. The production of sulfur and other compound needed for a healthy growth and metabolism depends on the presence of this amino acid. Fish, whole grains and dairy are its sources.
Lysine, which is effective in the treatment and prevention of herpes, is present in soybeans, green beans, lentils, spinach and amaranth. Low levels of lysine can also compromise the levels of niacin and this leads to pellagra.
Tissue healing, muscle metabolism and keeping the equilibrium of nitrogen levels in our body are the functions of valine. It has proven to be efficient in the treatment of liver and gallbladder disorders. Deficiencies that results from drug addiction are can also be reversed by this amino acid. Its sources are peanuts, soy proteins, dietary products, grains, meat and mushrooms.
Leucine can be obtained from chicken, fish, cottage cheese, lentils, peanuts and sesame seeds. It functions in muscle protein build up and is the main medium in tissue building process. Inability to acquire such makes a person prone to protein wasting since leucine, together with valine and isoleucine, serves as energy and protein reservoirs.
In boosting energy levels, blood sugar regulation, muscle build - up and repair as well as hemoglobin development, isoleucine has shown its relevance. Its dietary sources are fish, poultry, beef, dairy, eggs, lentils, seeds, soy, almonds and wheat. Isoleucine deficiencies may result into neurological disturbances such as confusion, depression, irritability, fatigue, headache and dizziness.
Threonine is significant in synthesis of antibodies. Beans, nuts, seeds, dairy, poultry, eggs and beef are rich in threonine. A low level of this amino acid causes disorders of the skin and weakness.
Adrenaline and noradrenalin which are stimulates the central and peripheral nervous system requires phenylalanine to perform their function. Phenylalanine can be acquired from peanuts, seeds, almonds, lima beans and dairy. Liver damage, weakness, skin lesions, lethargy and slowed growth are results of its deficiencies.
In summary, our body needs networks of essential amino acids for its proper functioning. Eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle is the secret towards maintaining your optimum general health.
May 08, 2009 10:00 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
L-Cysteine is what is known as a non-essential amino acid, meaning that it can be biosynthesized by the body and hence not an essential part of your diet. Due to its possessing a thiol side chain, it is termed a hydrophilic amino acid with an affinity for aqueous systems. Because of this it is relatively highly reactive, and is therefore an important component of a large number of enzymes and proteins.
Although, after all, it is not an essential amino acid, deficiencies can occur in the young and in the old, and also in those suffering certain metabolic diseases. Dietary sources include high-protein foods such as chicken, turkey, pork, dairy products and vegetables such as cereals, broccoli, garlic and onions.
The biochemistry of this amino acid begins with another amino acid known as serine, and also methionine. The latter is fist converted to homocysteine, which is then combined with serine to form cystathionine. This is then converted into cysteine and alpha- ketobutyrate. The thiol group is highly reactive and gives cysteine its biological properties.
L-Cysteine possesses strong antioxidant properties due to the thiol group which easily undergoes redox reactions. However, it is for its detoxification effect on the body that the amino acid is mainly taken as a supplement. It is, therefore, these properties that we shall discuss first.
Cysteine can reduce the toxic effects of alcohol, such as a hangover or the more serious liver damage. The by-product of alcohol metabolism that does most damage and is responsible for the majority of the negative after-effects of excessive alcohol consumption is acetaldehyde. L-Cysteine converts acetaldehyde into the more acceptable acetic acid, and so prevents the aldehyde from having too much of a negative effect on your health and well-being. However, the results obtained from such studies have been from animals only, and the therapeutic effects of cysteine have not yet been tested on humans.
What has been tested and is known is that L-cysteine is effective in the detoxification of heavy metals in the body. A common source of heavy metal toxicity is mercury from amalgam fillings in the teeth. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared in 1989 that dental amalgams are a hazardous substance under the Superfund law, many people still have them in their mouths.
The thiol group and L-cysteine has a high affinity for mercury and other heavy metals, as previously stated, and a supplement can be used to remove from the body any mercury leached from mercury-based tooth fillings. It can also be used to bind to copper, lead and cadmium. Lead and cadmium are particularly toxic to the human body, and even though lead is no longer used in plumbing or paints, and cadmium in toys or paints, there are still many sources of these two heavy metals available that can lead to human toxification.
An L-cysteine supplement can be used to remove these heavy metals from the body. Any proteins containing cysteine will tightly bind heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, molybdenum, cobalt and mercury, and allow them to be excreted by the body in the usual fashion. This direct involvement in heavy metal detoxification is a very useful property of this amino acid.
Another detoxification application of L-cysteine is in direct involvement in protecting cellular glutathione levels, and also the prevention of the death of liver cells by acetaminophen poisoning. The latter is of particular interest to many people since acetaminophen is better known as paracetamol, and since this is a freely available over-the-counter drug, overdoses are not unknown. The result of an overdose is the necrosis of liver cells, with eventual liver failure and death.
The treatment of choice is N-acetylcysteine. If used within 10 hours of the overdose it is extremely effective, and even from 16 to 24 hours it is better than other controls. It is believed that the acetylcysteine liberates cysteine which, when available to the liver, enables the biosynthesis of glutathione. Glutathione can then maintain the production of the fifth metabolite required for the specific detoxification of the paracetamol/acetaminophen.
L-Cysteine is also an essential component in the biosynthesis of coenzyme A, an enzyme essential for the production of energy from fats and carbohydrates. It is also a very important component of hair, from which it is commercially produced. Without an adequate intake of L-cysteine the growth of healthy hair would not be possible.
There are several supplemental uses of L-cysteine including the treatment of bronchial conditions for which the amino acid can help to liquefy and clear mucus from the airways and lungs. It is also used to protect against side effects of chemotherapy treatment of cancers and for medical treatments for excessive exposure to radiation.
However, there are certain situations in which L-cysteine should be avoided when at all possible. Diabetics should not use it, and neither should those suffering from cystinuria, whereby large quantities of amino acids, including cystine, are excreted in their urine. L-cystine, incidentally, is formed by oxidation of L-cysteine.
Paradoxically the amino acid is one of the several hundred additives made to tobacco by the cigarette companies. Although, as with the majority of tobacco additives, its purpose is unknown there are two possible reasons for its inclusion. L-Cysteine is a known expectorant, so it could be added to promote the expectoration of mucus in the lungs which is promoted by smoking, and it also increases the production off the antioxidant glutathione that is depleted in smokers.
There are several other non-medical uses for the amino acid, but it is for is its detoxification properties that it is most used as a supplement. However, because it is largely derived from human hair or duck feathers, it may not be classed as kosher or halal in spite of many claims made to that effect, though the more expensive source of microbial fermentation from corn sugar can be.
The substance is recognized as safe by the FDA, and must be labeled as L-cysteine when it is present in a preparation intended for its therapeutic effects. Keep in mind however, that it should be avoided by diabetics.
Detoxify With L-Citrulline
April 13, 2009 03:51 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Detoxify With L-Citrulline
L-citrulline is an alpha-amino acid, first isolated from the watermelon in 1930: hence the name, citrullis being Latin for that fruit, the skin of which is rich in the substance. It is used to enhance performance in sports, particularly through aiding recovery after exercise, and also helps the liver to detoxify the blood.
It is not an essential amino acid in that it is produced by the body and need not be part of your diet. It is a precursor to arginine, which involves the sustained release of nitric oxide in the endothelium that promotes increased flow of blood and the blood vessels as described further below. One of the biochemical pathways for its biosynthesis involves the urea cycle, whereby the toxic ammonia is detoxified into an easily excreted form through its conversion to urea.
The urea cycle consists of five reactions, and citrulline is formed in the second of these. In the first of these, ammonia reacts with bicarbonate to form carbamoyl phosphate, the phosphate coming from the two molecule of ATP used to energize the reaction. These are converted to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and the carbamoyl phosphate then reacts with ornithine to form citrulline, which takes part in step three that eventually leads to the formation of urea.
The second way in which L-citrulline can be biosynthesized is from the oxidation of arginine, a natural amino acid. Arginine is oxidized into N-hydroxyarginine, and then into L-citrulline with the release of nitric oxide.
So that's how it is produced in the body, but how does it help sportsmen, and what part does it play in detoxification? Its effect on recovery after exercise is connected with blood flow. Energy is created in the mitochondria that are contained in every cell off the body. Among the raw materials needed for the production of energy are glucose and oxygen: glucose obtained from the carbohydrates in your diet, and oxygen transported by the hemoglobin or red blood cells.
Both of these rely on blood flow: greater the volume of blood transported to the cells then the greater the ability of these cells to produce energy. During periods of exercise, a good supply of blood is required to provide the raw materials needed for the energy demand of the muscles involved in the exercise. Not only that however, but recovery after exercise involves the replacement of electrolytes, the glycogen used in extensive aerobic and anaerobic exercise and protein replacement, particularly where catabolism has occurred.
In order to supply these raw materials at an adequate rate, it is necessary for the flow of blood to the appropriate muscles to be sufficient. A major restriction to increase blood flow is elasticity of the blood vessels and cells. Although a healthy heart is capable of providing the necessary quantities of blood, and hence of nutrients, any restriction to the flow could cause dangerously high blood pressure.
Nitric oxide plays a signaling role in enlarging blood vessels to allow an increased blood flow when it is needed by the body. It can provide more blood to the stomach during digestion and to the muscles during exercise and recovery.
During hard exercise, nitric oxide can act as a pump that provides blood during exercise and also during recovery. It can therefore provide more rapid gains in lean mass, increased endurance and faster muscle recovery. The way it does this is to send a signal to the smooth muscles to relax; smooth muscles such as those found in veins and arteries, so resulting in vasodilation therefore allowing increased blood flow.
It is the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels, which uses the nitric oxide to provide the relaxation signal to the smooth muscles surrounding it. In fact, it is the effect of nitric oxide that enables those living at high altitudes to develop increased stamina and speed over those at lower altitudes, and find more world records seem to be broken during athletics meetings, such as Olympic Games, held at high altitudes. This is because the production of nitric acid is increased at higher altitudes with slightly lower oxygen levels. This is the same effect that is used by vasodilators such as amyl nitrite and Viagra that work by increasing nitric oxide levels in the smooth muscle wall of the blood vessels.
It should not be surprising therefore, that L-citrulline should work in a similar way, since it is intimately involved in the production of nitric oxide. Although this is now generally understood, what part does supplemental citrulline play in the body if it is a non-essential amino acid?
Supplemental L-citrulline is useful in supporting the detoxification of ammonia in the liver when supplies of ornithine carbamoyl transferase is naturally in short supply. This is the enzyme that catalyzes the reaction between ornithine and carbamoyl phosphate to form citrulline. Supplements can then help in the removal of ammonia from the blood, and also provide material for the continued production of nitric oxide support muscular activity and its recovery after exercise.
Ammonia itself is a by-product of intensive exercise, and without the urea cycle the body would rapidly become polluted. It is a very toxic product, and causes the death of thousands of people each year. This is generally in people who suffer liver and kidney disease, and the ammonia can be broken down and excreted.
Your brain cells are particularly sensitive to ammonia, and as levels increase the effect progressively ranges from drowsiness thru tremors to coma and eventual death. Any condition, therefore, that reduces the body's capability of metabolizing ammonia is potentially very serious, and any supplement that can help prevent this is valuable.
L-citrulline is believed to help in such situations, although any condition affecting the efficiency of the kidneys or liver and that can cause toxicity due to ammonia or any other toxic substance, should be referred to your physician. It is for its effect in increasing blood flow to provide sufficient raw material, for both the energy needed for high levels of exercise and for muscle recovery, that citrulline is predominantly used as a supplement.
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L-Arginine An Amino Acid Essential Or Not You Be The Judge?
January 06, 2009 04:01 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: L-Arginine An Amino Acid Essential Or Not You Be The Judge?
L-Arginine is an amino acid that is one of 20 needed by the body for its existence. To some, it is not what is known as an essential amino acid, since it can be biosynthesized by the body, but arginine is termed a conditionally essential amino acid in that we must include some in our diet because our biochemistry does not produce all that our body needs, particularly during the growing years.
Amino acids are the building blocks of life, and are the units from which proteins and ultimately our DNA are built. In fact DNA contains the blueprints for every protein used by our bodies, including all the enzymes without which our biochemistry could not occur. When a supply of a particular protein is needed, the DNA template provides the sequence of amino acids needed to produce it.
Of the 20 amino acids we need, only 10 can be produced by our body: the other 10 must be included in our diet and are termed 'essential' because they are an essential part of our diet, just as vitamins and minerals are. Without an adequate supply of essential components, we cannot survive, and if the essential amino acids are depleted in our diet then the body will break down muscle tissue to release them.
Although L-arginine is termed a 'conditionally' essential amino acid, it is included by many among the 10 regarded as being essential. Hence, depending upon who you read, it can be either essential or non-essential. That is because, as inferred earlier, arginine is needed for growth and development, and there is insufficient in the diet to meet these needs. Therefore, while it is essential in cases where growth is still taking place, it is not in those where normal growth is complete.
Proteins are essential for all animal life, forming not only the enzymes, or biochemical catalysts, but also muscles and DNA among other bodily tissues. Protein is also a necessary part of our diet, and it is from protein, animal or vegetable, that we get the amino acids in our diet. L-arginine is one of these, being available from all meats and seafood’s, and vegetables rich in protein such as soy, seeds, nuts and grains.
So what does arginine do for us, quite a lot in fact, many of its functions being related to our health? Arginine plays an important role in the healing of wounds, especially bone, assisting the immune function, decreasing blood pressure and speeding up the repair time of tissue. However, it possesses other properties such as increasing muscle mass, helping to increase male fertility and improving the circulation.
It also helps to remove ammonia from the body, and is a precursor for the biosynthesis of nitric oxide (NO2). It is in the way that L-arginine works with the nitrogen stores of the body that we will focus on here, prior to touching on its other properties.
L-Arginine transports, stores and excretes nitrogen, and used biochemically to manufacture nitric oxide. This oxide of nitrogen plays a very important role in your body, and is produced in every cell of your body. Nitric oxide helps in the dilation of your blood vessels, allowing a reduction in blood pressure, better circulation and helping to prevent a mans man-hood dysfunction, all of which are due to its relaxing effect on smooth muscle contraction and the promotion of the increased blood flow necessary for men and their functions. It is also important to your immune system and nervous system.
It works in a similar way to the effect of nitroglycerine on the heart: this is converted in the body to nitric oxide which relaxes the blood vessels and so reduces the amount of work needed by the heart. The way in which L-arginine forms nitric oxide is by the action of the enzyme nitric oxide synthase.
The amino acid is also an important component of the Citric Acid or Kreb's cycle, where it reacts with ammonia which is a toxic by-product in the generation of energy in the mitochondria. Ammonia is converted to urea by L-arginine and excreted from the body. This is another way in which L-arginine is involved in the storage and use of nitrogen-containing compounds in your biochemistry.
It was mentioned earlier that arginine is an essential amino acid for children. Studies have indicated that it supports the release of the human growth hormone from the pituitary gland although the amount released through supplementation of the amino acid varies widely between individuals. The growth hormone maintains the production of proteins and muscle tissue in the body cells. This reduces as we age, and arginine becomes non-essential, the smaller amounts needed in our biochemistry being manufactured by the body.
The anabolic effect of the supplement is believed to increase the effectiveness of exercise intended to increase muscle bulk and reduce the percentage of body fat, and many take L-arginine as a supplement while undergoing such anabolic fitness and exercise programs. It is normally best to start with low supplement levels and work up due the potential side effects (diarrhea and nausea).
Arginine is an important component in the body's healing mechanisms for both tissue and bone, and studies have confirmed accelerated healing of wounds and fractures with arginine supplementation. Although the mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood, there is evidence that it may be connected with the nitric oxide pathway and increased blood flow, and also with its effect on the immune system in reducing inflammation at the healing site.
Diabetics, however, should be careful with substances that promote the release of growth hormone, and children with incomplete bone growth should also use such agents only under medical supervision. With diabetics, their condition could be either exacerbated or improved, and those with herpes and some psychotic conditions should also be careful.
Nitrogenous compounds are essential to life, and L-arginine plays a significant role in the storage, use and secretion of them. Without it life would not be possible, although it is its visible uses, such as the effect of nitrous oxide on blood flow and of proteins on muscle metabolism, for which it is best known to those that use it, either as a supplement or as a remedy. Pure supplement form is available at your local or internet health food store.
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L-Alanine Non Essential Amino Acid
January 05, 2009 04:31 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: L-Alanine Non Essential Amino Acid
L-Alanine is one of 20 amino acids that are used by the body to manufacture the proteins essential for life. Each protein possesses specific biological properties that are imparted by the sequence of amino acids it contains. Proteins control the chemistry that takes place within the cells of our body, and comprise all of the enzymes that catalyze the body's biochemistry.
Amino acids are also the building blocks of DNA that determines the genetic make-up of individuals, and that also provides recipes or templates for the production of proteins from amino acid sequences. There is a different DNA template for every protein required by the body that determines which of the 20 amino acids are needed, and in what order they are to be combined with one another to manufacture the desired protein.
10 of these 20 amino acids can be synthesized by your body's biochemistry, the other 10 being essential parts of your diet. If you fail to include just of these 10, then your body will break down its proteins until it has obtained a sufficient supply of that amino acids for its needs. That involves muscle and other tissue degradation, and is one of the symptoms of malnutrition. Amino acids are not stored, and a daily supply is essential to avoid these symptoms.
L-Alanine is one of the ten that the body can manufacture, and used by the body to help build protein and also to enable the body to make use of glucose to generate energy. It does so as part of what is known as the glucose-alanine cycle. During anaerobic exercise, such as in weightlifting and sustained running, muscles produce lactate and also alanine.
The alanine is passed on to the liver where it is converted to energy via its conversion to glucose. This is not a particularly efficient means of creating energy because a byproduct of the process is urea, the removal of which in turn requires energy. However, it serves its purpose as an energy source once the liver is depleted of glycogen. In fact that is the major use to which alanine appears to be put by the body: the conversion of glucose to energy.
The way the glucose-alanine cycle works is that a process known as transamination produces glutamate from the amino groups of amino acids that are degraded during exercise. Glutamate is then converted to pyruvate by means of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase, with the production of alanine and alpha-ketoglutarate. This is a reversible reaction, and after the alanine has been carried by the bloodstream to the liver, the reaction reverses with the regeneration of pyruvate that undergoes gluconeogenesis (generation of glucose).
The result of this is glucose that returns to the muscle tissue to provide more energy. The glutamate is broken down to the ammonium ion in the mitochondria, which in turn enters the urea cycle with the production of urea.
In a nutshell, then, the glucose-alanine cycle removes glutamate and pyruvate from muscle tissue to the liver where glucose is generated from the pyruvate and returned to the muscle. Since gluconeogenesis involves the expenditure of energy, and this occurs in the liver rather than in the muscle, all the energy in the muscle can be used for muscle contraction.
L-Alanine possesses other properties, among them the ability to help maintain the health of the prostate. A study of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) indicated that treatment with L-alanine, glutamic acid and glycine over a period of three months reduced the symptoms. However, make sure that you consult your physician before using alanine in this way. This is not because there are any known adverse side effects, because there are not, but because it I always wise to so with any supplement taken with a view to treating any medical condition.
A less obvious application derives from the fact that it forms a stable free radical when deaminated. Deamination can be initiated by radiation, and so the concentration of this free radical can be measured to ensure that the correct dose of radiation is being given in dosimetric radiotherapy. It is not always easy to control the dose accurately, and this property of alanine allows it to monitored and to ensure that it is neither too low to have the desired effect, nor dangerously high.
Although it is a non-essential amino acid, and can be produced by the body, a dietary supply or supplement is advantageous if extra energy is required. Good dietary sources of L-alanine include meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, brewer's yeast, corn and legumes among others. Supplements are also available, and useful for body-builders, weightlifters and others involved in anaerobic exercise. Due to the glucose-alanine cycle, it can possibly provide energy when lactate build-up would otherwise lead to muscle cramps.
Those for whom a supplement could be useful are athletes and others who are trying to build muscle and stamina, or reduce their body fat and also the obese and overweight for the same reason. There is also evidence that a combination of the amino acids alanine, glycine and arginine can help to reduce arterial plaque from oxidized low density lipoproteins, and can also help to reduce high blood pressure.
Deficiencies are rare, although groups that do not eat meat should be careful to eat foods with a good alanine content. There are no known side effects of a deficiency since the body will generate what is needed for normal purposes, and while the supplement appears to have no side effects, it is advisable that pregnant and lactating women should first seek medical advice. The same applies if you suffer from hypertension or diabetes. High doses of alanine might also affect those with kidney or liver disease.
Although the benefits of supplementation of L-alanine might not be immediately obvious, the results and the science indicate that it is effective in making better use of blood glucose in that the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) created in the muscle tissue is allowed to be expended on muscle contraction while the glucose-alanine cycle provides the energy needed for gluconeogenesis.
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October 11, 2008 10:26 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
The non-essential amino acid glycine is needed to generate muscle tissue and also for the conversion of blood glucose into energy. It is referred to as being ‘non-essential’ because the body can manufacture its own glycine, and is therefore not an essential component of your diet. Other uses to which glycine is put by the body includes the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Amino acids play three essential roles in the human body:
1. They are the building blocks of proteins: proteins comprise about half of the dry weight of the majority of your body cells, and without them there would be no life. They are produced using monomers known as amino acids, and there are about 20 different amino acids used to make the vast variety of proteins that make up the human body. Proteins are needed to form enzymes, the catalysts that permit the majority of chemical reactions within our bodies, and also genes, the building blocks of DNA.
2. More relevant here, amino acids play an important role in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) by phosphorylation with creatine phosphate. The more creatine phosphate available, the more ATP can be produced. Since ATP is the molecule responsible for the generation of energy, then the more ATP available the more energy is generated. Although creatine is available from many food sources, it is destroyed by cooking, and over half of what you use is made from the three amino acids, glycine, arginine and methionine. The energy produced in this way is very short-lived, and last only a few seconds - more on that later.
3. Glycine is heavily involved in the production of collagen, which is the substance that maintains the flexibility of your skin and other connective tissues while still maintaining their strength and firmness. Without glycine your skin would become slack due to the degrading effect of sunlight, free radicals and oxidation.
The non essential amino acid, glycine, is believed to offer other benefits to the human body, but it is the second of those above, the production of ATP, which interests us here. ATP is an extremely important nanomolecule, second in importance to the body only to DNA, and possibly also RNA since the two are linked. RNA makes copies of your DNA structure for use in cell division and growth.
When a cell expends energy for whatever reason, such as when I am typing this, or when your heart beats, or even when your liver synthesizes a protein, one of the phosphate groups is removed from the adenosine triphosphate molecule, and converts it to adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The ATP is then said to be 'spent', just as your energy is spent when you are tired and can exercise no more.
The ADP is then immediately reconverted to ATP in the mitochondria, a part of every cell in your body. A cell can contain hundreds, or even thousands, of mitochondria, the number depending upon that particular cell's need for energy. Hence, cells in your muscles, or in your liver where most of the body's chemistry takes place, contain thousands of mitochondria whereas those in your scalp contain a lot less. Once changed to ATP, a phosphate is again lost when energy is expended, and so the cycle continues.
Glucose is needed allow the ADP to be converted to ATP, hence the need for sugars, or the carbohydrates from which they are manufactured in your body. Each cell can contain up to a billion molecules of ATP, although the couch potatoes among you probably have a lot less! Your store of ATP molecules last about 2 to 5 seconds before being changed to ADP although more rapidly for athletes that expend a lot of energy. Then the energy stored in the form of glycogen in the liver kicks in for another 4 - 6 seconds.
Additionally, you cannot expend more energy that the (eventual) sugars that you take in your diet, which can be in the form of ordinary 'sugar' (sucrose), fruit (fructose), glucose, carbohydrates that are metabolized into sugars, or any other member of the sugar family (e.g. lactose, maltose, etc.).
Glycine is one of what are called glucogenic amino acids, which refers to their ability to provide glucose to the blood. Because it helps to maintain proper blood glucose levels, it is often prescribed for conditions that are caused by low glucose levels, such as hypoglycemia that shows symptoms of fatigue and tiredness, and also anemia and what is known as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).
The one activity of the human body, in fact that of any mammal, for which ATP is essential, is the heartbeat. Without that no mammal could survive, or any other creature that relies on a circulation system for life. The only reason you heart has to beat is to pump your blood around your body, and it is your blood that contains the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain life. Your cardiovascular health relies on lots of ATP being available to power each and every heartbeat.
Analysis of the heart during the final stages of heart failure has revealed that there is a general decrease in the myocardial arginine: glycine amidinotraferase (AGAT) gene expression, which is indicative of the necessity of this enzyme for proper heart function. The enzyme is responsible for the first stage in the biosynthesis of creatine from glycine.
Creatine is well known to athletes, and while it is available naturally from some food sources, it can be destroyed during cooking, and at least 50% of the creatine needed by the body is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. It is creatine phosphate that is broken down into creatine and phosphate, the latter of which is used by the mitochondria to regenerate ATP from ADP.
The study carried out on the reduced AGAT levels found in heart failure patients indicates the importance of glycine to heart health. Without a good supply of glycine, there will insufficient creatine produced biochemically to generate the phosphate needed to for the ATP to produce the energy required to keep the heart pumping with the required strength. The energy provided by the mitochondria is used locally by the cells in which it is produced, and within a few seconds of that production. As explained earlier, ATP stores are used up within 2 - 5 seconds, and glycogen stores within another 4 - 6 seconds.
That is why sprinters cannot keep running at maximum speed for more than around 10 seconds or so, because the immediate availability of glycine, and hence creatine, are insufficient to last longer than that. That is one reason why they have to finish those 100 meters as fast as possible, because otherwise they would run out of energy. Other than trying to win, of course!
However, when it comes to the heart, ATP stores are essential, and the cells in your heart require a constant supply of ATP from creatine, which itself depends upon your intake or biosynthesis of glycine. Since dietary sources are insufficient to meet all your needs, and destroyed by cooking, a glycine supplement is the only way to ensure a sufficient intake. You cannot undernourish your heart and remain healthy.
ATP biosynthesis is essential if that of glycine theoretically is not, but the fact that 50% of your glycine requirement has to be produced by your body and the other 50% is sensitive to heat during cooking, a supplement of glycine could be essential to many people.
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L-Carnitine For Health And Wellness
April 16, 2008 03:25 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: L-Carnitine For Health And Wellness
Research continues to mount evidence that l-carnitine can help boost energy and quality of life. Carnitine comes from the Latin word for flesh: caro or carnis. L-carnitine was discovered and isolated from meat in the early 1900s. At that time, scientists thought that l-carnitine played a role in muscle function; this was many years before technology would advance so that this theory could be proved. Today, we know that this amino acid is found mostly in tissue of the body that requires lots of energy such as the heart, skeletal muscles, and liver.
L-carnitine is considered a non-essential amino acid since the body manufactures it from l-methionine and l-lysine. Depending on one’s diet, the body manufactures most of, not all, the l-carnitine it needs every day. There are circumstances where a rare genetic disease can cause the body to not manufacture its own l-carnitine resulting in a deficiency which can cause secondary diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, chronic renal failure, diabetes, heart failure or Alzheimer’s disease. Some medications can cause a deficiency as well, check with your doctor about prescriptions.
The primary energy source for the body is long-chain fatty acids. L-carnitine plays an essential role in energy production process. This amino acid transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, where it is used to produce energy for each cell in the body. l-carnitine then removes the “acyl” group by products out of the mitochondria as they accumulate. Both the transporting in and out of the cells mitochondria is vital for continued muscle function to occur.
Researchers suggest that the limiting factor in high intensity exercise is from the availability of l-carnitine in the muscle tissue. Studies conducted with this amino acid suggest that athletes experience improved performance when supplementing with l-carnitine by reducing post exercise lactate acid levels and improving recovery from exercise stress.
Some research suggests that l-carnitine can help chronic fatigue individuals by shuttling long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria where the body manufactures energy. The bulk of this research was done on chronic fatigue patients who consumed 2 grams per day of l-carnitine. Additional research was performed on individuals over 100 years of age and the results were these individuals experiences increase physical endurance and improved cognitive activity.
L-carnitine can help cardiovascular conditions including angina, congestive heart failure, and peripheral artery disease. Recent studies showed male fertility improvement when l-carnitine was consumed on a regular basis. Men participating had better sperm motility which increases the changes of one reaching an egg and improving the odds of fertilization.
Research also demonstrated that 1 gram of this amino acid daily over three months can help one reduce weight by improving fat metabolism. This holds consistent with the findings that l-carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids (fat) into cellular mitochondria so it can be burned as energy. With a good diet and exercise plan, reports suggest that even more weight loss can be achieved.
Safety is of particular concern when adding extra supplements to one’s diet such as l-carnitine. Good news, l-carnitine is very safe at 1 – 3 grams each day, even higher doses are safe with no side effects. With the mounting evidence on the benefits of l-carnitine consumption, what is stopping you from adding l-carnitine today to your supplement diet to improve health and wellness?
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This Amino Acid may help your heart… and your heart’s desire.
May 24, 2006 05:45 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: This Amino Acid may help your heart… and your heart’s desire.
Give all to love, obey thy heart,” cries the poet, and most of us have felt the link between our hearts and our passionate feelings. In the more reasoned language of science, what connects the heart with the heat of amore is blood flowing freely through relaxed, wide-open arteries.
That’s where Arginine comes in. This amino acid (protein building block) has stirred excitement because of its ability to improve blood flow. Scientists now think that one reason nuts promote heart health, in addition to their high omega-3 content, is because they provide plenty of Arginine (as do other high-protein foods such as meat, cheese and eggs), and supplemental Arginine has been linked to improvements in cardiovascular function. This nutrient is also under the microscope as a way to promote healthy sexual functioning in both men and women.
As often as we’ve heart the heart described as a pump and the blood vessels as pipes, the plumbing analogy doesn’t entirely hold. For one thing, arteries—those vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood from the heart to the body are dynamic creations, with muscular walls that can narrow or widen as needed. One of the chemicals that control this process is called nitric oxide, and Arginine plays a crucial role in nitric oxide production.
Because the body can create its own stores, Arginine is classified as a non-essential amino-acid. However, scientists now think that getting a supplemental supply (in the form of L-Arginine) may be best for optimal well-being. In a well-designed multinational study, for example, men with high cholesterol who took l-Arginine experienced drops in both blood pressure and homocysteine, a substance associated with heart attack and stroke (Journal of nutrition 2/05). And a research team at UCLA believes that combining l-Arginine with such antioxidants as vitamin C and E may reduce inflammation that can lead to blocked coronary blood vessels.
Arginine’s ability to stimulate bountiful blood flow supports enhanced intimacy, which is both genders depends on a fully activated circulatory system. In fact, Arginine’s effects on nitric oxide are similar to those of Viagra and comparable drugs except that Arginine “is much less dangerous,” according to nationally noted herbalist Ellen Kamhi.
Men and women experiencing sexual dysfunction enjoyed greater levels of satisfaction after taking an Arginine based supplement, and the ladies reported having better relationships with their partners. What’s more, Arginine has helped infertile men by making sperm stronger and healthier.
Arginine may also help keep things pumping smoothly as the gym. It promotes the release of human growth hormone, which helps muscles grow bigger, and boosts the production of creatine, which serves as a power pack for high-intensity sports. What’s more, Arginine helps the body rid itself of ammonia, a toxic byproduct of physical activity. The amino acid’s ability to enable protein creation aids not only athletes but also people recovering from wounds, including those associated with surgery and burns. (note: the herpes virus that causes cold sores thrives on Arginine; avoid supplements if your having an outbreak.)
When the mind is willing but the body falls short, let Arginine unleash your potential. –Lisa James, Energy Times.
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December 17, 2005 09:42 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: SAMe (S-Adenosylmethionine)
Supports Healthy Nervous System and Joint Function Vital For Over 35 Biochemical Reactions Necessary For Optimum Health Promotes a Healthy Mood
As the building blocks of protein, amino acids are vital to health. Next to water, amino acids in the form of proteins make up the greatest portion of our body weight. They comprise tendons, muscles and ligaments; organs and glands; hair and nails; important bodily fluids, and are a necessary part of every cell in the body.
There are over 20 amino acids, separated into two categories – essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be manufactured by your body, hence, it is essential that you obtain them from your diet. Non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by your body, however, your body must have the right combination of essential amino acids and supporting nutrients to optimize healthy protein maintenance, so supplementation may be desirable.
Amino acids are not only absolutely integral to life, they can have a profound impact upon how clearly we think and how well we feel.
SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally occurring combination of the amino acid methionine and ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the body’s primary energy molecule. In this form it is sometimes referred to as “active methionine”. Research indicates that SAMe plays a vital role in nervous system health and normal cognitive function.*
SAMe may support nervous system function by increasing the synthesis and recycling of certain neurotransmitters and enhancing the sensitivity of nerve receptors. SAMe is believed to positively affect a number of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline and norepinephrine. Although the mechanism for SAMe’s impact upon neural function is not fully understood, there is no doubt that SAMe’s capacity as a methyl donor is of critical importance.
As a methyl donor SAMe assists the body in the creation of complex organic compounds necessary for normal healthy function. Your body uses these new compounds for numerous purposes, including brain function and detoxification. This process, known as methylation or transmethylation, is vital to your body’s maintenance. SAMe may be the most effective of all methyl donors discovered to date. Research has shown that SAMe is the only methyl donor with the potential to increase transmethylation in the brain, which helps to protect it from homocysteine damage as well as increasing production of glutathione, one of the body’s most effective antioxidants.
Research into the biosynthesis of SAMe has established a clear link between SAMe and folic acid, or folate. Folic Acid has been proven to provide support for healthy nervous system function and a healthy mood, and researchers believe these two nutrients work together to beneficially affect monoamine systems, which directly affect mood and cognitive function.* SAMe has also been shown to improve the synthesis of phospholipids for use in the brain, probably one of the most beneficial effects SAMe has on brain health. The benefits of SAMe extend beyond the brain and throughout the human body. For example, it may also aid in the repair of myelin, the sheath of fatty material that surrounds nerves and nerve cells everywhere in our nervous system. It’s found in all human tissue and organs and is available for use by your body in over 35 different biochemical reactions necessary for optimal health.
SAMe may support joint health through transulfuration, a process that takes a certain amount of sulfur from SAMe to create glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates. This enhances proteoglycan synthesis, the molecule responsible for keeping articular (joint) cartilage lubricated. As mentioned earlier, SAMe is also important for the production of glutathione, a powerful free radical scavenger that defends your body from toxic agents and is necessary for liver detoxification.
SAMe was first isolated in 1952 by G.L. Cantoni at the Laboratory of Cellular Pharmacology at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Four years later, Cantoni and a co-worker found that SAMe synthesis involves methionine and ATP. They also found that it exists in the human body only temporarily, making production in a supplemental form difficult. It took nearly ten years until improvements in technology permitted SAMe research to advance. With the discovery of a method to stabilize SAMe that overcame these manufacturing problems, U.S. patents were granted to allow the production of SAMe in a stabilized form.
SAMe in its ion form, as found in human cells, has a very short life span and is rapidly metabolized into other necessary compounds as needed. Therefore, it must be manufactured in a stabilized form to prevent rapid degradation as a supplement. Once tableted, it must be enteric coated to preserve stability.
This technology was not readily available until the 1990’s, hence SAMe’s long road to mainstream popularity. Dr. Joseph Zhou, Director of Laboratory Methods here at NOW, is credited with significantly improving the analytical methodology used to assure potency levels in supplemental SAMe. His work is one of the reasons SAMe is available as a supplemental with stable, guaranteed
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Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
June 25, 2005 08:38 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are found in both plant and animal sources, although primarily in plants. The EFA family is composed of two main forms, Omega-3 and Omega-6. The following explains exactly what these forms are.
OMEGA-3: The most common forms of Omega-3 are eicosapentaenioic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid, which comes from plants and helps create EPA and DHA. Omega-3 is usually derived from fish oils. Dr. Roger Illingworth, associate professor of medicine and biochemistry at Oregon Health Sciences University, explains that Omega-3 fatty acids are “long-chained metabolic products from linolenic acid. . . When animals consume and metabolize plants rich in linolenic acid, they produce Omega-3.” EPA and DHA are liquid and remain that way, even at room temperature. It is said that they protect fish by providing a body fat that stays fluid even in cold temperatures. OMEGA-6: The most common form of Omega-6 is is gammalinolenic acid (GLA). GLA is known to provide the following benefits, among many others:
1. Helps facilitate weight loss in overweight persons (but not in people who do not need to lose any weight).
2. Reduces platelet aggregation (abnormal blood clotting).
3. Helps reduce symptoms of depression and schizophrenia.
4. Alleviates premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
5. May help alcoholics overcome their addiction.
Omega-6 is usually found in plant sources. The oils of coldwater fish such as salmon, bluefish, herring, tuna, mackerel and similar fish are known as Omega-3 fatty acids. The freshpressed oils of many raw seeds and nuts contain Omega-6 fatty acids. The most popular sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 include:
BLACK CURRANT SEED OIL: This oil is rich in linoleic acid (44%) and provides almost twice as much gamma-linolenic acid as evening primrose oil. Black currant seed oil also is an excellent source of an Omega-3 precursor known as stearidonic acid. BORAGE OIL: This oil comes from Borago officinalis, a plant with blue flowers. It is widely recommended in Europe to strengthen the adrenal glands, alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and relieve inflammation. Besides possibly helping with heart and joint function, it may also assist the growth of nails and hair. Borage oil is also an excellent source of GLA. In The Complete Medicinal Herbal, herbalist Penelope Ody asserts that it is “helpful in some cases of menstrual irregularity, for irritable bowel syndrome, or as emergency first aid for hangovers.” SALMON OIL: This oil is high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These types of EFAs are known to thin the blood, prevent clotting, regulate cholesterol production and strengthen cell walls, making them less susceptible to viral and bacterial invasion. Salmon oil has a natural ability to help the body relieve inflammation. In the ground-breaking book The Omega-3 Breakthrough: The Revolutionary, Medically Proven Fish Oil Diet, professor Roger Illingworth writes that Linolenic acid is a fatty acid with 18 carbons and 3 double bonds.
It is manufactured exclusively by plants. When animals consume and metabolize plants rich in linolenic acid, they produce Omega- 3. Plankton, a minute form of marine life, is part plant and part animal. Its plant component manufactures linolenic acid. Fish eat the plankton, and the linolenic acid breaks down in their bodies in two types of Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) . . . The liquidity of EPA and DHA serves a vital function in fish, who require body fat that remains fluid even in very cold water. Fish oils, besides containing Omega-3 fatty acids, have shown to benefit those suffering from migraine headaches, arthritis, and high cholesterol levels.
FLAX: Flax is a plant said to date back as far as 5000 B.C. It has been used since approximately 5000 B.C., making it one of the oldest cultivated crops. It is exported from several countries, including Argentina, Canada, India, Russia and the United States. The flowers are usually blue, although they are sometimes white or pink. The mucilaginous seed is, of course, called flaxseed. The oil primarily provides Omega-3/linolenic acid, and provides an average of 57 percent Omega-3, 16 percent Omega-6, and 18 percent of the non-essential Omega-9. Flaxseed oil is said to contain rich amounts of beta carotene (about 4,300 IU per tablespoon) and vitamin E (about 15 IU per tablespoon). In the October 1995 issue of Let’s Live, the history and uses of flax were highlighted by herbalist Carla Cassata. She writes, . . . It’s no wonder the Cherokee Indians highly valued the flax plant. They mixed flaxseed oil with either goat or moose milk, honey and cooked pumpkin to nourish pregnant and nursing mothers, providing them with the needed nutrients for creating strong and healthy children. It was also given to people who had skin diseases, arthritis, malnutrition as well as men wishing to increase virility. They believed flax captured energies from the sun that could then be released and used in the body’s metabolic process.
This belief has merit. Flaxseed oil, rich in electrons, strongly attracts photons from sunlight. To be effective, EFAs must be combined with protein at the same meal. This flaxseed oil/protein/ sunlight combination releases energy and enhances the body’s electrical system. Also, this combination, along with vitamin E, can be beneficial for infertile couples and women suffering from premenstrual syndrome . . . Flaxseed oil, having an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, can benefit the 40 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. To achieve optimum results, however, substances that activate the sympathetic nervous system—like refined sugar, soda, coffee, fluoride— must be eliminated. Stress must also be reduced, because it too, activates the sympathetic nervous system, promoting inflammation.
EVENING PRIMROSE: This flower is indigenous to North America, although the oil is particularly popular throughout Europe for therapeutic purposes. It is also known as night wil - low and evening star. It is an excellent source of both linolenic and linoleic acids. Both of these nutrients must be obtained from the diet, as the body cannot synthesize them. The seeds contain gamma linolenic acid. This polyunsaturated EFA helps with the production of energy and is a structural component of the brain, bone marrow, muscles and cell membranes. Evening primrose oil has also benefited those with multiple sclerosis, PMS, hyperactivity and obesity. It is estimated that it takes about 5,000 seeds to produce the oil for one 500 mg capsule.
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
June 14, 2005 12:04 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! by Mimi Facher Energy Times, June 1, 1997
So you're feeling a little blah, a little overweight, and you're looking to drop a few of those winter pounds gained during the colder months. Maybe you've dabbled with diets and jogged around the neighborhood a few times but you're still packing unsightly bulges. If so, you may be considering the idea of turning to supplements to help you drop those pounds. Well, two types of diet supplements now generally available, combined with a diet and exercise program, may be able to help you trim those stubborn pounds.
The first type of supplement, called metabolic optimizers, which include ephedra, caffeine and salicin (derived from willow bark), boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn calories faster. The second class, lipotropic substances, aid the body in fat mobilization, causing greater utilization of stored fat. These products include chromium, carnitine and hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Both classes of supplements have been around in various forms for quite a while but are now enjoying greater popularity among dieters.
Trying to cope with a weight problem is a dilemma expanding throughout modern society. According to a 1995 Harris poll, nearly 75% of Americans are overweight. Although it's well known that the way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in, supplements may be able to help you burn off extra calories.
Thermogenesis and You
Metabolic optimizers are supposed to aid weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process in which fat is burned to produce body heat. Fat that isn't burned is stored on the hips, thighs, stomach, etc. Thermogenic agents are designed to counteract your body's fat storage mechanisms by causing your body to maintain a higher metabolic rate-turning your internal thermostat up to burn fat faster. The thermogenic process can be jump-started by a number of factors including cold, exercise, certain dietary nutrients and metabolic optimizers.
The ephedra herb, also known as ma huang is one of nature's earliest medicines, known for over 5000 years to the Chinese, who used it to relieve allergies, coughing, wheezing and cold and flu symptoms. In the US, ephedra has been available since the 1800s.
The ingredients in ephedra include the alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. Concentrated forms of these substances are used in today's over-the-counter cold, allergy and asthma relief formulas.
Ma huang's effectiveness as a weight loss aid is tied to its appetite suppressant and stimulant properties. By speeding up action of the thyroid gland, the ephedrine found in the herb acts a thermogenic agent, boosting the rate at which the body metabolizes fat and promoting weight loss. According to Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, "When used as part of a total package that includes diet modification and exercise, ma huang can be highly effective in the short run because it increases the speed of the body's metabolism and suppresses appetite."
Because of their strong stimulant effect, ephedra and its derivatives have engendered some controversy. However, in its long history, billions of doses of ephedra have been consumed without problem. But ephedra supplements should only be used as directed on product labels. People with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, thyroid or prostate dysfunction, high blood pressure and those taking MAO inhibitors, pregnant or nursing should avoid this herb.
Salicin Burns Fat
Salicin, a substance derived from willow bark-which is also the original source for aspirin, a related compound-can boost the burning of fat when combined with ephedra. An animal study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while ephedra boosted calorie burning by almost 10%, when ephedra was combined with aspirin, extra calorie burning just about doubled. Another study in the Internatioanl Journal of Obesity showed that when overweight women took aspirin and ephedrine during a meal, their bodies burned off more calories than normal. (Eating a meal produces a thermogenic effect as your body expends energy in digestion. That's why dieters are told not to skip meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate, decreasing your calorie expenditure.)
Similar studies also show that caffeine, the stimulant that gives coffee its eye-opening kick, can also boost ephedra's thermogenic properties. But before using these combinations check with a health practitioner knowledgeable about nutrition. Aspirin or salicin may cause stomach upset in some people (although salicin is generally tolerated well.)
Carnitine: Lipotropic Amino Acid
To get carnitine into your system, you don't have to take it as a supplement. Your body already makes this vitamin-like substance. However, your body doesn't make that much. And it is said to be especially low in people with heart disease.
This non-essential amino acid (said to be non-essential because human bodies produce it) is a key ingredient in the formation of mitochondria membranes. Mitochondria are tiny structures in your cells that burn fats for energy. Consequently, sufficient carnitine is necessary for the movement of fat into the mitochondria where it is consumed. When not enough carnitine is present, the breakdown of long chain fatty acids slows down.
Said to improve the recovery rate for athletes (it may limit the production of lactic acid, a waste product in muscle tissue), carnitine can also lower cholesterol levels, boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and decrease serum triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart disease). Not bad for a nutrient that coaxes fat into those teeny, ceullular, mitochondrial furnaces.
Go for the Chrome
Chromium-based supplements work as lipotropic agents by aiding insulin use in the body. This essential trace mineral is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Michael Janson, author of The Vitamin Revolution in Healthcare and President of the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), "Chromium is important for proper insulin activity. Insulin moves sugar into the muscle cells, where it is burned off as energy. Chromium improves the activity of insulin, and since insulin causes fat deposition, less of it means less fat deposition." Chromium has also been shown to build muscle tissue and to reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.
Although the body's minimum requirement is low, the American diet tends to be deficient in chromium, in part because the mineral can be difficult for the body to absorb. The fact that, in nature, chromium is most powerfully concentrated in brewer's yeast, wheat germ and liver-items most Americans rarely eat-probably hasn't helped either. Other natural sources of chromium include whole grains, molasses and beef. But it is estimated that 50% of Americans are chromium deficient. An early study found that overweight adults taking a chromium supplement lost an average of 22% body fat, while maintaining or gaining lean body mass. In another study, athletes consuming 200 mcg. of chromium a day showed an average loss of 7.5 lbs. of body fat after six weeks, without a corresponding loss of muscle tisue. Overall, although some studies question chromium's precise effects, many experts are optimistic about this substance because of its relationship to insulin in the body's metabolism.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
Another possible addition to the dieter's arsenal is HCA. In nature, HCA appears chiefly in a fruit called garcinia cambogia (sometimes also called Malabar tamarind or brindall berry), a citrus plant found primarily in Asia, where the rind is often used as a flavoring agent. HCA works by inhibiting the enzyme in the body responsible for converting carbohydrates into fat. HCA causes calories to be burned in an energy cycle similar to thermogenesis and acts as somewhat of an appetite suppressant. HCA is also said to have a role in reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
Several animal studies have shown that HCA caused significant weight loss without a reduction in lean body mass. In other words, the pounds that came off came out of fat stores, and not out of energy or muscle reserves. This means that HCA takes off not just weight but body fat, making it a potentially effective tool against weight regain.
Dr. Elson Haas, director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, CA, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, believes that HCA can be a helpful aid for dieters when used in combination with eating habit changes and exercise. He recommends an HCA and chromium blend for optimum appetite suppression. "This combination can keep the appetite down and reduce sugar cravings," he says.
Although human research data on HCA is still in the preliminary stages, the animal study results are positive, and the supplement seems to have minimal side effects in most people.
Some Overall Recommendations
You are likely to lose weight faster if you eat sensibly. This means avoiding foods high in fat or sugar (which are the most likely to add to stored body fat), but it doesn't mean starving yourself. A sensible balanced diet, along with moderate exercise, is still the best prescription for weight loss. As Dr. Haas puts it, "I'm a firm believer in diet and exercise. Using supplements responsibly can help you to lose weight provided they're combined with dietary changes and exercise. They won't work if you don't change anything." No one is suggesting that dietary supplements are a miracle cure for being overweight-as always in self-health care, there are no magic wands. But, used as directed and combined with a good diet and exercise plan, you could find that these supplements might help you work your way to a slimmer you.
Mimi Facher is a freelance writer who has contributed to Prevention, Cosmopolitan and Self.
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June 11, 2005 05:04 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Power Protein
Power Protein by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, August 4, 1999
Chances are, if you've been trying to lose weight, build muscle, or increase your energy levels, then you've been hearing about protein. This essential nutrient has stolen the spotlight of the health industry as the alleged key to vitality and a solid physique.
With books like Protein Power (Bantam) and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Avon) firmly implanted on The New York Times bestseller list, and protein bars and shakes growing in popularity, more people than ever are seeking to tap into the power of protein.
But before you go on an all-out protein-blitz, how can you decide what's best for you?
The Purpose of Protein
No doubt about it, protein performs a variety of roles. First and foremost, it is used to manufacture and repair all of the body's cells and tissues, and forms muscles, skin, bones and hair. Protein makes up the connective tissue that forms the matrix of bones; keratin is a type of protein used to make hair and nails.
It is essential to all metabolic processes; digestive enzymes and metabolism-regulating hormones (such as insulin, which influences blood sugar levels) are all made of protein. This nutrient also intricately takes part in transport functions: Without sufficient protein the body cannot produce adequate hemoglobin, which carries nutrients through the blood. Lipo-proteins are fat-carrying proteins which transport cholesterol through the bloodstream.
Protein helps regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, maintaining proper blood volume. Immunoglobulins and antibodies that ward off diseases are also comprised of protein.
Any protein that you eat that is not utilized for these purposes is stored as fat, although some may be broken down, converted to glucose and burned for energy. This can occur during intensive workouts, or when the body runs out of carbohydrates from the diet or glycogen from its muscle and liver stores.
"Even though the body can depend on the fat it has stored, it still uses muscle protein, unless it is fed protein as food," explain Daniel Gastelu, MS, MFS, and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in their book Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery). "When dietary circumstances cause the body to use amino acids as a source of energy, it cannot also use these amino acids for building muscle tissue or for performing their other metabolic functions."
One can see why it is so important to eat a sufficient amount of protein daily in food, shakes or bars. Without it, bone tends to break down, the immune system can become impaired, and muscle strength drops as the body uses up muscle protein for energy.
Proteins are built of chains of amino acids, and 20 different kinds of these building blocks are necessary for protein synthesis within the body. Eleven of them can be manufactured by the body through a process called de novo synthesis; these are referred to as non-essential amino acids. The other nine, which must be obtained from the diet, are known as essential amino acids. (Although some amino acids are called "non-essential," in actuality they are vital: The body needs all 20 amino acids to function properly.)
Some of the more familiar non-essential amino acids include: n Carnitine helps remove fat from the bloodstream n Arginine helps burn sugar Essential amino acids include: n L-tryptophan, a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, helps create calm moods and sleep patterns n L-lysine, required for the metabolism of fats n L-methionine a component of SAM-e (a supplement intended to relieve depression and arthritis, see p. 45)
The body forms and destroys protein from amino acids in a constant cycle of synthesis and degradation. You must consume protein regularly to replace the lost amino acids that are oxidized when protein is broken down and used for fuel. The amount of amino acids lost each day depends on what you eat and how much exercise you do.
Athletes vs. Weekend Warriors
Protein intake in the general population is still adequate, notes Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Sports Nutrition at Stanford University Medical School. "But we're learning that what is true for the general population may not be true for the athletic population," she says. "With heavy training there is greater protein degradation and you need to increase your intake. Thus, protein requirements are higher for athletes than regular people."
Also, if you diet or restrict your eating in any way, you may also not be getting enough protein.
Certainly, if you work out, eating protein is important. Providing four calories of energy per gram, protein keeps blood sugar steady during exercise. After exercise, it helps replenish and maintain stores of glycogen (stored muscle fuel) and decreases the loss of amino acids, as recent research has shown (J Appl Physiol 81 (5), Nov. 1996: 2095-2104). Lab studies in animals show that protein consumed after you run, lift weights, bike, etc..., helps stimulate muscle growth (Jrnl of Nut 127 , June 1997: 1156-1159)
High-protein diets are frequently touted to promote weight loss and increased energy. One of the most influential: the so-called 40-30-30 formula, developed by Barry Sears in his book The Zone: A Dietary Roadmap (HarperCollins), which describes a diet whose calories are 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. The rationale: when you eat too many carbohydrates, your body uses these starches for energy instead of burning body fat. A high protein diet is supposed to keep your blood sugar balanced and stimulate hormones that burn body fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
Other fitness experts such as Sherri Kwasnicki, IDEA International Personal Trainer of the Year of 1998, say that while protein is a necessary component of any diet, extreme high-protein plans aren't necessary for recreational fitness buffs. However, she notes that maintaining muscle mass is the key to aging gracefully, and getting enough protein is critical for that.
Many people today won't eat meat and dairy for ethical reasons, or to avoid the antibiotics and other chemicals in the raising of poultry and cattle. But that doesn't have to prohibit adequate protein intake. All soybean products, including tofu and soymilk, provide complete proteins, which supply ample quantities of all the essential amino acids.
In the past vegetarians were told to combine particular foods to make sure they consumed all the essential amino acids at each meal. (For example, beans with either brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds or wheat forms "complete" protein.) Today, diet experts aren't so picky. Eating a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day is just as effective as combining them at one meal.
Vegans who avoid all animal products should eat two servings at sometime during the day of plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, soy products, legumes, seeds and nuts.
The newest sources of protein are bars and shakes, which are growing steadily in popularity. Protein bars now constitute about 12% of the so-called energy bar market, with sales increasing about 38% per year. These bars generally provide at least 20 grams of protein, including soy and whey protein and calcium caseinate (milk protein). The benefits: bars supply protein along with carbohydrates for energy; protein powders, on the other hand, provide quickly digested, easily absorbed amino acids.
Edmund Burke, PhD, author of Optimal Muscle Recovery (Avery), suggests "If you need extra protein, you may benefit from the convenience of a mixed carbohydrate-protein supplement... choose a supplement that's healthy and low in fat."
Amino acid supplements are also growing in popularity, reported to build muscle and burn fat, or improve mood by boosting brain neurotransmitters. The amino acids glutamine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and 5-HTP (a form of tryptophan) are all used to boost spirits and enhance brain function.
And if you still ponder the merits of those high protein diets, do keep in mind that protein may be better at controlling hunger than carbohydrates or fat since it steadies blood sugar, so it may help you stick to a reduced-calorie plan. But excess protein can't be stored as protein in the body: It is either burned for energy or converted to fat. And carbs are still the body's top energy source, so forgoing too many can leave you tired and sluggish.
Still, with so many vital functions-and a variety of sources to choose from-you can't afford to not explore the benefits of protein.
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AMINO ACIDS AND PROTEIN
June 09, 2005 09:48 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: AMINO ACIDS AND PROTEIN
AMINO ACIDS AND PROTEIN
Next to water, protein is the most abundant substance in the human body. Complex mega-molecules of protein are the structural building blocks of tissue. The thousands of different proteins in our bodies are composed of 20 molecules called amino acids. In the last 20 years, research has shown the benefits of amino acid supplementation to such diverse areas of human biochemistry as metabolism, enzyme and neurotransmitter production and antioxidant protection. Source Naturals utilizes the latest-breaking research to bring you a highly comprehensive line of amino acid supplements.
DNA provides the instruction manual for life, RNA reads the manual and the genetic information is expressed by proteins. Proteins are the most abundant macromolecules in living cells constituting 50% or more of their dry weight. They create the structure of our cells and tissues, and play an essential role in virtually all of the biochemical events that animate those tissues.
The term "protein" refers to a set of macromolecules that encompasses an extensive variety of structure and function&endash;from helical rods with the tensile strength of steel to elastic sheets to huge molecular machines with hinged jaws that snap closed to hold other molecules in place. Amazingly, all proteins, in their remarkable variety, are built out of a set of 20 simple molecules called amino acids.
Amino acids are one of the four types of small molecules out of which all life is constructed. The other three are: palmitic acid (see "Essential Fatty Acids," page #), adenine and glucose. All amino acids share a common chemical "backbone" which consists of an a -carbon atom to which four substituent groups are bonded: a nitrogen-containing amino group (H2N), a carboxyl group (COOH), a hydrogen atom and an "R" group. The "R" group or side chain (figure #) varies in electric charge, size, structure and solubility in water, giving each amino acid its distinct chemical properties. Since all amino acids (except glycine) contain at least one asymmetrical carbon atom, each one exists in at least two forms: the l form and its mirror image or stereoisomer, the d form. While both forms are found in biological systems, only the l form is present in proteins.
Amino acids are linked together like beads on a string to form proteins, sometimes called peptides because of the peptide bonds that link the amino acids together. They range in size from simple two-amino-acid dipeptides to polypeptides which contain more than 1800 connected amino acids. The chemical backbone of the amino acids and their sequence constitutes the primary structure of a protein. Polypeptide chains then fold into specific 2 and 3-dimensional configurations that are unique for each type of protein. The pattern of folds, along with the chemical nature of the amino acid side chains contained in it, give a protein its characteristic biological activity. For example, the connective tissue proteins collagen and elastin give structure to cellular organelles and tissues, while proteins called enzymes catalyze and facilitate metabolic chemical reactions.
Nine of the 20 amino acids involved in protein synthesis are considered "essential";they cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from food sources. The term "non-essential" is sometimes used to classify the other eleven amino acids. However, this word is perhaps a misnomer; a better term might be synthesizable. These amino acids are just as vital to human metabolism as the "essential" amino acids; so vital that the body can synthesize them. They are, however, more available, more versatile, and more interchangeable.
When the presence or absence of a particular amino acid will determine whether a protein can be created or not, that amino acid is called a rate-limiting factor for that protein. For example, the tripeptide glutathione, a compound that forms an important part of the body's protective mechanisms, is made of the amino acids glutamic acid, glycine and cysteine. Glutamic acid and glycine tend to be plentiful in the diet, and can be easily interconverted. Cysteine is the rate-limiting factor for glutathione; the amount of cysteine in the diet will determine the amount of glutathione that can be manufactured by the body.
Amino acids have a special role to play in brain nutrition, because all neurotransmitters are derived from amino acids or related compounds such as choline. Brain neurotransmitters, specifically, are biochemical keys to the workings of the mind. They are substances that perform chemical transmission of nerve impulses between neurons or between neurons and other cell types such as muscle. They work in the following way: an electric current (or action potential) travels down the length of a neuron, or nerve cell, until it reaches the synapse - a narrow gap between two cells. The incoming nerve impulse triggers the release of neurotransmitter (NT) molecules, which diffuse across the synaptic gap. The neurotransmitter molecules bind with receptor proteins embedded in the membrane of the post synaptic neuron and activate a physiological response. Excitatory neurotransmitters propagate a new action potential while inhibitory NT's inhibit the development of new action potentials.
The amino acid precursors of neurotransmitters are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, a structural feature of brain anatomy that prevents many substances from contacting brain tissue. Thus, it is possible to influence brain metabolism (and therefore emotional states) through the mechanism of neurotransmitter synthesis. The enhancement of neurotransmitter production is one of the most exciting advancements to occur in the field of nutrition in modern times.
A major portion of the amino acid requirement in humans is derived from the proteins in food. Successive proteolytic enzymes attack the peptide bonds, cleaving one amino acid at a time from the polypeptide chain. Ultimately, free amino acids as well as small peptides (especially dipeptides) are absorbed through the mucosal cells of the small intestine. The small peptides are then further hydrolyzed so that only free amino acids enter the liver and portal vein. This sounds like a fairly straightforward process. However, the presence of a particular amino acid profile in a certain food does not guarantee the assimilation of those amino acids when the food is ingested. There are three types of amino acids: acidic, basic and neutral; each of these classes has a different transport mediator. Therefore, there is competition for the carrier between any two amino acids in a certain class, both in the digestive tract and at the blood-brain barrier. Thus, the isolation of "free-form" amino acids is an important aid to nutritional engineering. In many cases, the consumption of high potencies of a particular amino acid allows that nutrient to overwhelm the competition for absorption. The resulting increase in blood and tissue levels will yield the benefits conferred by that nutrient.
The isolation of free-form amino acids is an important advancement in the field of nutrition science. Amino acid supplements offer a broad range of choices to complement your nutritional program.
VitaNEt ® Staff
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