Are you interested in healthy nutrition? Then you are certainly aware of the importance of…
Perhaps you are also currently faced with the question of whether a certain amino acid or a product containing a group of amino acids could support your health. You may have read something interesting on this topic or come across it in connection with a recommendation for a calorie-reduced diet.
There are many different views on amino acid supplements and protein in general. This can be very confusing. There are very committed advocates for these products and equally stubborn opponents of amino acid supplements.
In the following article, we have compiled the relevant information on amino acid products for you. We would like to give you an overview.
Amino acids: What functions do they have for our organism?
Amino acids are also known as protein building blocks. They are the basis of protein in chains of varying lengths. Depending on the length of the chains, we speak of proteins or peptides. Protein or protein is probably also known to you as one of the 3 essential macronutrients besides carbohydrates and fats.
The protein building blocks have different functions in the human organism:
- the building material for all tissues like muscles, skin and organs.
- converted into other substances such as nerve messengers and neurotransmitters.
- starting materials for the formation of hormones, enzymes and other proteins.
All amino acids have the following in common: They are subject to constant change because they undergo multiple conversion processes.
Many reactions and processes are unthinkable without the presence of certain amino acids. For example, you may think of the formation of an important thyroid hormone or other processes in the human immune system.
Our ability to enjoy a restful night’s sleep depends among other things on the protein building block Tryptophane.
According to scientific research, this protein building block not only forms the messenger substance Serotonin. It also intervenes directly in various functions of the sleep-wake cycle. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us relax, calm and peaceful.
The different types of amino acids
Not all amino acids are the same. Protein building blocks can have the most diverse characteristics.
You may come across the term “proteinogenic amino acid” more often. These protein building blocks are the building materials in the human body. Of the approximately 20 representatives of this group, eight cannot be formed by our organism itself.
These are the essential amino building blocks.
- and Lysine.
We have to ingest them anew with our food.
There’s also a group we call semi-essential. They are essential in certain phases of life or under certain circumstances.
Other properties of protein building blocks
Protein building blocks are also differentiated according to
- what pH value they have,
- whether they can be converted into sugar and thus into quickly available energy,
- whether they contain sulphur or their underlying structure is right- or left-handed.
They can also be branched. Here there is a special group, the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. This trio is called “Branched-Chain Amino-Acids“, abbreviated BCAA.
Many athletes find products with BCAA useful support for performance and muscle building.
The amino acid pattern
Perhaps you have been able to conclude from the above that protein building blocks and protein are important for health and well-being. Some scientists have taken this idea further. They consider the essential amino acids, in particular, to be particularly valuable.
Over 99% of essential protein building blocks can be converted into the body’s own protein.
As a result, essential amino acids seem to shape the amino acid pattern typical of humans. The concept of the amino acid pattern is based on the assumption that all these building blocks must be present in certain quantities at the same time. Only then is the conversion into the valuable endogenous protein successful.
Consequently, you are probably asking several questions at this point:
- What is the human need for protein and essential amino acids?
- Can there be a deficiency of them?
It is precisely these questions that ignite the many discussions about protein and protein building blocks. On the one hand, there is the view that we tend to consume too much protein as part of our western diet. Other people see a deficiency in abundance.
Who is right?
Our need for amino acids and the satisfaction of needs through supplements
The need for protein can vary greatly from person to person.
Factors such as
- state of health,
- sporting activities and
Your own body weight also plays a major role in determining your individual protein requirements. In general, a requirement of 0.8 g/kg bodyweight is assumed.
The requirement in old age increases to at least 1.0 g/kilogram bodyweight. In infants and toddlers up to 2.5 g per kilogram body weight. Pregnant women and nursing mothers have a lower increase in requirements so that they need between 7 g and 23 g more protein than the average person.
Athletes often cover a potentially increased protein requirement with protein supplements. Not all nutrition experts and medical practitioners consider this to be sensible.
They believe that the protein requirement can be met at every stage of life with a balanced diet. Countless reports from athletes and some studies seem to confirm the positive effects of the additional amino acids.
The World Health Organization WHO has set minimum daily requirements for essential amino acids.
Here are the WHO recommendations in mg per kg of bodyweight:
- Phenylalanine – 25
- Leucine – 39
- Methionine – 15
- Lysine – 30
- Isoleucine – 20
- Valine – 26
- Threonine – 15
- Tryptophan – 4
From these recommendations, you can see that these acids may be present in very different amounts. If we follow the theory of the amino acid pattern, a very specific ratio between the individual amino acids results.
The key question is, therefore: Are we always able to meet this demand with food in the right ratio and the required quantities?
Nutrition and the supply of protein
The daily requirement of essential building blocks does not initially appear very high in view of the milligrams required per kilogram of body weight. Perhaps you now think that you can easily cover your requirements if you eat a reasonably sensible diet.
However, there is a challenge here: these specific protein building blocks are almost exclusively available in the appropriate quantity ratios in animal foods.
So if you are a vegan or vegetarian, for example, the supply of these valuable essential protein building blocks is not always guaranteed.
Vegans, for example, cannot provide themselves with sufficient vitamin B12 with their purely vegetable diet. It is therefore quite common for vegans to use compounds with the essential vitamin as a food supplement.
The trend is for more and more people to support their diet with amino acid supplements.
With a calorie-reduced diet, the supply of proteins and amino building blocks is also not continuously guaranteed.
Perhaps you have already been on a strict diet yourself. You have strictly regulated your food intake and in the end, you found that the notorious yoyo effect caught up with you.
If you even weighed more shortly after the diet than before, this may also be due to a lack of protein and protein components.
Our organism attacks the body’s own protein, e.g. in our muscles, if it is not sufficiently supplied with the valuable building material.
Since our muscles are responsible for energy consumption, fewer muscles mean less energy consumption and thus increased weight gain.
Example: Protein in old age – does everything work as it did in younger years?
If you yourself are already at an advanced age, you may have noticed many changes in your body. You may have the impression that some processes run differently or more slowly than in earlier years.
Perhaps you also feel tired and tired out more often, you miss your usual vitality.
The human organism changes with age, among other things, transformation processes and reactions slow down. Various micronutrients such as vitamins are no longer absorbed as well as in younger years. This is especially true for substances absorbed through the intestines.
This may also have to do with the fact that the composition of the intestinal flora has changed somewhat with age. It has been proven that the protein requirement also increases with age.
When we are confronted with the typical ageing processes such as wrinkling and skin changes, this may have something to do with proteins. For example, the collagen content in the skin decreases. Collagen is also a protein.
If we are honest, we may not always eat a balanced diet. This can endanger our supply of proteins and amino acids. If one or the other amino acid is missing for a longer period of time, this can already have an effect according to the theory of the amino acid pattern.
In any case, many people, especially older people, report increased vitality when they take amino acid supplements. If you remember the versatile functions of the protein building blocks in the human body, this experience will probably not surprise you.
Especially when our organism in advanced age no longer processes basic substances as well and effectively as it used to, protein is important. Here, an additional supply of protein and protein building blocks via supplements can make the decisive difference. This also and especially affects our performance and vitality.
Which product is particularly suitable for whom?
Compositions with protein building blocks and individual amino acids can differ. These differences concern, on the one hand, the contained protein building blocks, but also the further composition of the product.
Do you prefer to choose a product with one amino acid or a compound containing several amino acids? Is a product with all the essential protein building blocks perhaps particularly recommended?
There are no general recommendations as to which product is the best and which amino acid is ideal for you. One of the things that matter when choosing is what effect you expect from one of the amino acid products.
Amino acid products with an isolated amino acid, such as L-tryptophan or L-arginine, are selected by people who have heard about that amino acid from certain scientific studies or testimonials.
For example, some people experience Tryptophan as a sleep aid. People who suffer from high blood pressure have positive experiences with the amino acid Arginine.
Do you have a general concern about Tryptophan?
How do you recognise high-quality amino acid products?
Perhaps you find it difficult to make a specific selection from the many products on offer with special amino acids.
There are considerable differences in the quality of these preparations.
For example, particularly high-quality supplements contain no other additives.
Many dietary supplements contain technical additives which are intended to facilitate processing. However, such additives can hinder the absorption of the amino into the body.
The bio-availability is then reduced.
Bio-availability describes the intensity with which certain substances from food supplements are absorbed by the human organism. High-quality products with amino acids have a high bio-availability and therefore no additives.
Please also pay attention to where the products are produced. Made in Germany is a sign of quality because it speaks for controlled production in Germany under laboratory conditions.
Conclusion: Protein building blocks can support your well-being
A sufficient supply of proteins and their building blocks, adapted to your particular circumstances, can support your vitality and performance. A preparation that contains all the essential protein components in the correct proportion to each other seems particularly suitable for a sufficient supply.
High-quality preparations contain no additives. We at amino4u pay attention to the highest quality of our amino acid products. Side effects are not to be expected with such a premium preparation.
Especially if you have noticed lately that your vitality and well-being is decreasing, it is worth trying the essential amino acids.
Standardised products can also not lead to an excess of protein in your body when dosed appropriately.