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The amino acid deficiency and its symptoms

There is a discussion among nutritionists. Some of them think we consume too much animal protein. Others fear we would suffer from a lack of amino acids. In this article we want to show you how these controversial statements fit together and how you can use amino acids for your own holistic well-being.

Amino acids have many important functions in the human organism. The need for these important protein building blocks varies from person to person and from life situation to life situation.

In the case of illness, sporting strain, in old age and under stress, the requirement can increase.

Some of the protein building blocks must be taken in with food because our organism cannot produce them itself.

Amino acids – what you should know about the topic

Amino acids are protein building blocks from which the body can produce its own proteins, among other things. The protein building blocks fulfil other functions in our body, for example, they are used to produce other important substances.

The entire metabolism also depends on the presence of various protein building blocks. Deficiencies in supply can therefore have an effect in the most diverse areas of our body.

Essential and non-essential protein building blocks

Of the approximately 20 most important building blocks for protein formation, our organism cannot produce 8 itself. They must be supplied regularly with food.

They are called essential amino acids.

These are:

  1. Isoleucine
  2. Leucine
  3. Lysine
  4. Methionine
  5. Phenylalanine
  6. Threonine
  7. Tryptophan
  8. Valine

According to some scientists and physicians, these essential representatives of the protein building blocks play a key role because they map the so-called human amino acid pattern MAP (“Master Aminoacid Pattern“).

The US-American scientist Professor Dr. Luca-Moretti has developed a theory that assigns a certain pattern of protein building blocks to every living being.

MAP consists of amino acids that can be converted particularly well into the body’s own proteins in the organism.

Essential amino acids can be converted into the body’s own proteins in the human organism to more than 99%. From this high effectiveness in the body’s processing procedures, experts such as Dr. Luca-Moretti conclude that the lack of even one amino acid in this context could lead to a deficiency or to functional disorders.

Essentielle Aminosäuren

Supply and nutrition

Essential protein components must be supplied regularly with the diet. They work together and not in isolation.

With the regular supply of essential amino acids you can have challenges, especially as a vegan, and develop a deficiency of them.

Animal foods regularly reproduce the MAP completely, and the proportions of the building blocks in relation to each other are also correct. Vegetable foods often lack one or the other amino acid, so the MAP of these foods is not complete.

When evaluating the usability of proteins in food, we speak of the biological valence. A hen’s egg has a biological value of 100 and contains all the essential protein building blocks in the right quantity.

Other foods are measured by this composition in the food industry and science. In comparison, plant foods come off worse here.

In many cases, they have to be combined in a special way to ensure the supply of the essential protein building blocks and to prevent a deficiency.

Our daily protein requirement in figures

  • Nutritionists set the requirement for protein per day and kilogram of body weight at 0.8 g.
  • Under stress, strain and physical exertion, this requirement quickly increases to 2 g/kilogram to 6 g/kilogram body weight.

These general requirement figures do not yet tell us anything about the composition of the protein intake. We cannot draw any conclusions from them as to whether our organism is supplied with all important amino acids.

For this reason, it is difficult to determine in general terms whether we have achieved a sufficient supply of protein through our normal diet.

We lack a more detailed analysis of the protein building blocks contained and the satisfaction of requirements, which would allow us to find indications of a deficiency.

How do you recognise an amino acid deficiency?

The protein building blocks are the basis for the formation of the body’s own proteins. The body’s own proteins, for their part, are regarded as building materials for physical tissue such as our skin.

Degenerative processes (e.g. during skin ageing) can therefore also be associated with deficiencies in the protein supply. In addition, various protein building blocks are the basis for the formation of other important substances.

The essential amino acids Lysine and Methionine, for example, form the vitamin-like substance Carnitine. Carnitine is important for energy metabolism and fat burning.

We also need protein building blocks for the formation of thyroid hormones and for many metabolic functions.

An amino acid deficiency can, therefore, become noticeable in various parts of the body.

Deficiencies often occur insidiously, and therefore we often do not identify the symptoms of a deficiency as an under-supply of protein.

The following deficiency symptoms can occur:

  • skin lesions,
  • hair loss,
  • listlessness,
  • a change of heart,
  • loss of physical fitness
  • and an increase in body weight.

Mängel wegen zu wenig Aminosäuren

Various studies and researches have also shown that the immune system of the human organism suffers from an insufficient supply of amino acids.

You may be able to explain this impairment of the immune system if you know that Tryptophan, Methionine and Lysine, but also Isoleucine and Valine are linked to our plasma Glutamine level.

Glutamine is believed to play a key role in the immune defence of our body.

Further consequences of deficiencies

Another possible consequence of an amino deficiency is often underestimated. Our organism as a whole is dependent on an adequate supply of proteins. Proteins are not only one of three indispensable macronutrients, but they also form the basis of our entire body tissue.

If too little of the body’s own protein is produced due to a lack of amino acids, our organism falls back on existing body protein. This, for example, can result in our muscles being broken down.

You may have already noticed this in strict weight-loss diets if there is not a sufficient supply of protein building blocks at the same time.

In its distress, the body now switches to protein-degrading processes and the muscles are reduced. As a further consequence, a reduced musculature consumes less energy, which makes weight loss more difficult.

Even those who exercise intensively increase their need for proteins and thus also for protein building blocks.

In many types of sport, emphasis is placed on building up muscles rather than reducing them. Therefore, athletes should also make sure that there are no deficiencies in the supply of valuable protein building blocks. A deficiency counteracts athletic performance.

Increase your own well-being with protein building blocks and protein

If you want to prevent degenerative processes and the breakdown of the body’s own protein, keep an eye on your supply of protein building blocks and protein.

Your well-being is closely linked to protein building blocks. Therefore, a sufficient supply of these substances is about much more.

Aminosäuren als Proteinbausteine

This interdependency is also often underestimated – similar to the defect itself.

How Tryptophane affects your mood

A typical example of the effect of amino acids on the mood is the amino acid Tryptophane. It is also considered essential.

Tryptophane is a precursor of the messenger substance Serotonin.

Serotonin deficiency is associated with the occurrence of depression, as are imbalances in this messenger substance.

Sufficient amounts of Tryptophane support

  • increased well-being,
  • resting nerves,
  • sound sleep
  • and balanced moods.

Especially in the case of an under-supply of this essential amino acid, the deficiency in the area of protein building blocks can have a direct influence on mental balance and our well-being.

Tyrosine and the thyroid hormone

Most people already have an idea that thyroid hormones are important for a good feeling of well-being.

Imbalances can lead to

  • listlessness
  • weight gain
  • hair loss
  • disturbances of the cardiovascular functions
  • and overexcitation.

We are talking about an over- or under-functioning thyroid gland. The functionality of the thyroid gland is directly related to balanced levels of the hormones involved.

The amino acid Tyrosine is directly involved in the formation of the thyroid hormone fT4. If there is not enough Tyrosine in our body, the formation of the hormone is at risk. We may develop an over- or under-function.

GABA, Serine, Glycine and burnout

We have already described above in the section on the immune system that various building blocks form the substance Glutamine. Glutamine is also needed for the formation of other substances, including the messenger substance GABA (“gamma-aminobutyric acid“).

The building blocks Glycine and Serine also play a role in this context. GABA is also important for our mental balance. Deficiencies are associated with depression and burnout, among other things.

Optimising the supply for more well-being

The connection between an adequate supply of amino acids and mental balance has a direct bearing on the personal feeling of well-being. If you optimise your supply of protein building blocks, you will probably also improve your own quality of life.

Optimisation is not only about the supply of essential amino acids. Even if this seems particularly important, Tyrosine, for example, is a non-essential amino acid and yet is important for the formation of the thyroid hormone fT4.

At this point, you may ask yourself whether a balanced diet can ensure an optimal supply of amino acids and rule out a deficiency.

Genügend Nährstoffe durch gesundes Essen aufnehmen

Is a balanced diet sufficient and what should it look like?

Opinions differ as to how a balanced diet should be composed.

A typical example is the different views on protein intake. The main issue here is how much of what we need.

Animal proteins are now suspected of being harmful to health if ingested in large quantities. However, it is precisely animal foods that contain the full MAP.

Vegetable foods, on the other hand, are generally considered to be particularly healthy, especially by vegans, but do not contain the full MAP.

Other macronutrients are also controversially discussed. Excessive carbohydrate intake is criticised because it is said to promote obesity, especially in the form of the so-called “bad” carbohydrates with a strong increase in blood sugar.

Fats are also regularly criticised.

It seems difficult to eat a balanced diet. However, there is increasing evidence that in old age, the need for valuable amino acids may be greater in order to prevent the breakdown of the body’s own protein.

The complex interrelationships among the various nutrients do not make it easy for us to put together our own diet optimally every day.

This is especially true for amino acids and protein, because it is difficult for us to estimate our needs. Since other substances also promote the function of the protein building blocks, it is important to integrate them into our diet.

Every amino acid needs helpers

Examples of other substances that support the work of the amino acids:

  • Magnesium: supports many functions and effects of protein, is partly bound to proteins and regulates the work of the protein building blocks via the body’s own receptor sites. A lack of this mineral, therefore, impairs the function of the amino.
  • Fatty acids and co-enzymes: form non-essential amino acids in the liver.

Bei Mängeln Aminosäuren als Nahrungsergänzung

Supply of high-quality food supplements

Especially in special life situations such as old age, stress or illness, an adequate supply of protein building blocks can increase our own well-being. Side effects due to the additional supply of protein building blocks are not known so far.

We recommend that you avoid an amino acid deficiency by an optimal supply. Even if the symptoms and effects of a deficiency are not immediately apparent, its consequences may be serious in the long term. This is especially true if the body’s own protein is broken down due to the deficiency.

Deficiencies could accelerate ageing and other degenerative processes, lead to the loss of muscle mass and mental imbalances.

According to current knowledge, we can avoid such consequences by eating as balanced a diet as possible, but we may not be able to do so every day. Here, the additional intake of high-quality amino building blocks is another measure for a good supply. amino4u can help you to support your balanced diet.

With sufficient protein you go through life more easily.

Maik Thies (Fitnessfachwirt IHK)

Unser Ernährungsexperte Maik Thies arbeitet seit 2011 erfolgreich als Personalcoach und Manager für Fitness- & Freizeitanlagen im Gesundheitsmarkt.

Als Fitnessfachwirt und Weltmeister im Bodybuilding gibt er sein Wissen an Menschen weiter, die körperliche und mentale Grenzen neu definieren möchten und Wert auf gesunde und ausgewogene Ernährung legen. Zu seinen Kunden zählen u.a. Skeleton Atlethen Janine Becker und Alexander Gassner, Bobpilotin Stephanie Schneider, Rallye Motorsportler Sepp Wiegand etc.

Er unterstützt amino4u dabei, die Prozesse des Körpers für Sie einfach und verständlich zu erklären und Ihnen dadurch die Möglichkeit zu geben, wieder mehr Gesundheit und Lebensfreude zu erlangen.

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