As building blocks for proteins, amino acids are indispensable for the human body and other…
Natural amino acids are contained in many foods, but what can the individual protein building blocks do for you? Find out here what your body needs and why a food supplement could be useful for you.
What are natural amino acids
The body cannot produce the protein compounds itself and must therefore absorb them through food or additionally a suitable food supplement such as amino4u. These include:
Chemically, these are carboxylic acids known as COOH and an amino group NH2. Protein compounds can be recognized by the fact that the amino group always connects directly to the C atom of the carboxylic acid. The special feature is the side chains, which give them certain characteristic properties.
You have probably already noticed names like L-lysine, L-valine or D-methionine. This small letter makes a difference when you are planning to buy a dietary supplement. In short, D-acids are dextrorotatory and L-acids are levorotatory, which is called optical form. Your body is only able to properly utilize the L-form because it only has the appropriate enzymes for this purpose.
By the way, L-amino acids dominate on earth, which has an interesting background. Prof. Ronald Breslow of Columbia University has found that in the early days of the Earth, left-hand rotating structures were able to better assert themselves against the D-shape. Therefore, if high-quality food supplements such as amino4U contain only the L-forms, there is a very simple reason: Life turns left!
Outside the chemical laboratory, however, the division into essential and non-essential amino acids is common. Often the amino acid content in food is no longer sufficient to ensure an optimal supply for the human body.
In this case, it is possible to produce them biotechnologically in the laboratory. Such synthesized protein compounds are found in food, feed and also in pharmaceuticals. Our tip: Only use natural protein compounds obtained from vegetable raw materials!
Portrait of natural protein compounds
In interaction, the L-amino acids unfold their complete effect on the organism. But what are the special advantages of the small power packs?
Methionine supplies the body with sulphur and is considered a precursor of cysteine and taurine. In its metabolically active form, methionine is known as SAM. This abbreviation stands for S-Adenosyl-Methionine and the substance is found in all body fluids and tissue. SAM ensures that the body stimulates the production of adrenalin, creatine, melatonin, carnitine, choline and nucleic acids.
An important function of methionine is to prevent excessive fat deposits in the liver. The substance also helps the liver and kidneys to regenerate. Methionine also has an antioxidant effect, according to a study by the University of Melbourne, which means it can help detoxify the body from heavy metals.
If your body has sufficient methionine available, the urine becomes acidic, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. This is the result of a research project at the University of Jena. Of the 23 participating patients with recurrent urinary tract infections, none of them suffered from a new disease during the 26-months administration of methionine.
An Indian study has found that methionine improves the effect of antibiotics and reduces the side effects of the therapy. A lack of methionine can be recognized by brittle nails and hair and increased susceptibility to infections. There is a particular risk for people in stressful phases of life, senior citizens, small children and competitive athletes.
Often vegans can be affected by a deficiency, which is due to the fact that meat and fish are rich in methionine. In the case of plant foods, on the other hand, only nuts and seeds, as well as spinach and broccoli are used.
A lysine deficiency is often found in vegetarians and vegans. However, older people can also be affected by a deficiency, which manifests itself in bone diseases. If the natural protein compound is missing, this can also lead to diseases of the skin and connective tissue or a restriction of the joint functions.
Lysine is jointly responsible for the formation of structural proteins. The best known of these is collagen, which keeps skin, bones, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue healthy. The interaction between calcium and lysine is also interesting. Calcium, in particular, is partly responsible for the degradation of bones in old age, which can lead to osteoporosis.
A study conducted by the University of Siena has shown that calcium preparations administered to support bone health have a significantly better effect when lysine levels are balanced at the same time.
Interesting is the positive effect that a balanced lysine level has on herpes. After all, about 40% of the population suffer from recurring cold sores. In a study by the Broke Army Center in Texas, it was shown that herpes symptoms are significantly milder and heal faster with lysine.
Of importance is the effect of lysine in anxiety states. In a study of 108 healthy Japanese adults, the combination with arginine was found to significantly reduce stress hormones and the anxiety associated with stress after just one week.
Natural sources of lysine are pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, tofu, lentils, cheese, buckwheat, eggs, walnuts and generally whole grain products.
Isoleucine is a branched-chain protein compound. The abbreviation BCAA (“Branched Chain Amino Acids“) is often used for this structure. Athletes, in particular, appreciate isoleucine, as this protein compound can help to build muscles in a targeted manner. If you are under heavy physical strain, Isoleucine acts as an energy supplier as soon as your body’s own glucose stores are used up.
A regular supply of isoleucine is recommended during periods of low physical activity, as branched-chain proteins are needed for the maintenance and regeneration of muscle tissue.
Isoleucine is involved in the new formation of glucose and the regulation of the hormone system. By stimulating the release of insulin, isoleucine allows natural amino acids and glucose to move more easily from the blood into the muscles. Isoleucine also activates the growth hormone somatotropin.
A sufficient supply of the triplet Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine is not only important for athletes but whenever you are physically and mentally challenged. This is because during these times there is increased degradation of proteins.
You will usually notice a lack of isoleucine in the form of lethargy and muscle weakness. If the isoleucine level in your body is correct, you will find that wounds usually heal faster and your immune system usually recovers.
When dieting, it is always an advantage if you ensure a sufficient supply of isoleucine so that instead of fat your muscle mass is not reduced. If the proportion of muscles decreases, the basal metabolic rate is automatically reduced. This means that you need fewer calories and the fat loss is much slower. Isoleucine is found in meat, fish, nuts and legumes.
Like isoleucine, valine is one of the branched-chain BCAA, stimulates insulin secretion and ensures the absorption of all amino acids in the liver and muscles. During periods of hunger or heavy physical exertion, the body can fall back on valine as an energy source. For example, if carbohydrate and fat stores are empty, Valin takes care of the formation of glucose. Valine is absorbed fastest after a meal in muscles and blood plasma and is therefore directly usable for the organism.
An undersupply of valine impairs numerous important bodily functions such as muscle building. In adolescents, a deficiency causes growth disorders. If too little valine is taken up, cramps and a particular sensitivity to touch stimuli can also occur. The immune system and cognitive performance can also suffer from valine deficiency. The US. National Library of Medicine has collected all study results on Valine, which impressively documents the importance of adequate care.
A further study from the Japanese Toyama University has intensively examined the positive effects of all BCAAs on the liver, immune system and the entire organism. It turned out that essential amino acids are a basic prerequisite for body cells to be able to do their work effectively at all.
Valine is the precursor of a messenger substance in the brain and spinal cord that transmits stimuli and information from one nerve cell to another. This shows that a certain demand for valine and the other BCAAs must be met to maintain this performance. Natural sources of valine are salmon, eggs, cereals, legumes, beef and walnuts.
Leucine is another representative of the BCCAs and, like isoleucine and valine, is not broken down in the liver but is metabolized in the muscles. According to a study by the University of Vermont, leucine regulates protein metabolism and, according to the results of a research study by the University of Pennsylvania, stimulates the formation of muscle protein.
In times when you have an increased energy requirement or are on a diet, you have the possibility to use leucine to build up new reserves. This prevents the glucose level from falling. Your brain and muscles will continue to perform well.
This is important not only for athletes but also for seniors. A regular supply of leucine is particularly recommended during periods of low physical activity, as branched-chain proteins are required for the maintenance and regeneration of muscle tissue. This was demonstrated in the PROVIDE study with seniors over 330 weeks. During the period of the study, each participant gained an average of 170 grams of muscle mass.
In addition, leucine regulates the hormone balance. It stimulates the growth hormone somatropin and the release of insulin. This enables the absorption of glucose and the other amino acids in the bloodstream into the muscle cells to be optimised, which can have a positive effect on the blood sugar level, as was established by a study carried out in 2008 by an international team of researchers.
In this way, the body is able to gain energy faster, which is important not only in competition situations but also in everyday stress. This is because psychological stress causes the organism to break down proteins faster and more intensively.
You can counteract this by taking appropriate foods or a dietary supplement such as amino4U. The branched-chain structure promotes insulin secretion and thus the uptake of all other essential amino acids into the cells, where protein synthesis is stimulated. Natural sources of leucine are lentils, eggs, cashews, walnuts, cheese and all kinds of legumes.
Various studies also show that a sufficient intake of leucine during a diet is particularly recommended. In a study on rats published in Nutrients magazine, it was shown that animals that had received isoleucine reduced body fat significantly more. Apparently this essential amino acid is even able to curb the appetite, as a study by the US University of Cincinnati has found out.
Phenylalanine is a precursor of the non-essential amino acid tyrosine and is also a building block for many proteins and messenger substances produced by the body.
Thus, phenylalanine is directly involved in the production of adrenaline, beta-endorphin, dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin as well as the thyroid hormones. This happens in the liver, where phenylalanine is first converted into tyrosine and then into adrenaline and noradrenaline. In addition, phenylalanine is involved in the formation of phenylethylamine in the brain, which could probably help improve mood.
The natural phenylalanine is needed for the protein build-up and therefore has a special meaning for the muscle tissue. When phenylalanine is included in a dietary supplement, not only athletes benefit but also the elderly, as a study with senior citizens from the University of Texas shows. With increasing age, muscle tissue and functional capacity decrease, which is supported by an incorrect diet and many years of sedentary activity.
Phenylalanine could, therefore, be the key to promoting protein formation and thus muscle health.
The mood-lifting effect of phenylalanine was discovered in 1966 and has been the subject of numerous studies since then. A dietary supplement with phenylalanine can, therefore, induce a better basic mood in patients with depression, as a German study from 1977 already shows. The background is that dopamine is produced by the basic substances tyrosine and phenylalanine, and it is precisely this messenger substance that regulates well-being. For example, the 20 depressed patients who participated in the study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology 2005 by the University of Cambridge suffered from either a phenylalanine or tyrosine deficiency.
Phenylalanine also has an effect on the sensation of pain. In 22 healthy patients, the levels of dopamine, phenylalanine and tyrosine were temporarily reduced. The research team from the University of Munich found that the test persons with a phenylalanine or tyrosine deficiency felt pain stimuli as more pronounced and more unpleasant.
Phenylalanine is present in almost all protein-rich foods. The concentration is particularly high in tomatoes and carrots, but also in soya, wheat germ and nuts. Significant quantities are also found in dairy products, meat and fish. A phenylalanine deficiency can creep into your body unnoticed due to constant stress or malnutrition, which you may notice as increased susceptibility to infection.
There is a close connection between tryptophan and turkey because this type of meat is particularly rich in it. In addition, soy, seeds, nuts, mozzarella, cocoa powder, oat flakes and beef have a high tryptophan content.
In the body, tryptophan fulfils many functions. It is contained in the muscles, but also in various enzymes. The natural amino acid is the starting material for the formation of the happiness hormone serotonin, which not only brightens the mood but also has a regulating effect on tissue and blood pressure. In the kidneys and lungs, serotonin expands the muscles by narrowing the blood vessels. It also accelerates the healing of wounds and ensures good activity of intestinal movements.
Since the sleep hormone melatonin is produced from serotonin, tryptophan is involved in a good night’s sleep. This is because the production of melatonin is inhibited by daylight and can only be produced sufficiently during bedtime. A study by the University of Texas has also demonstrated the interaction of tryptophan with the group of B vitamins.
Thus tryptophan is considered a provitamin, a precursor of vitamin B3, also known as nicotinic acid. Vitamin B3 is significantly involved in protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Vitamin B3 also plays an important role in the formation of new hair and muscle tissue.
Threonine is also directly related to the B vitamins. For threonine to be effective in the body, vitamins B3 and B6 and the magnesium balance must be balanced. As a basic component of many natural proteins, threonine is found in the collagen of the connective tissue. Collagen is also an important component of bones, ligaments, tendons and teeth.
The so-called mucins, a subtype of proteins, are located in the mucous membranes and have a high proportion of threonine. The task of the mucins is to protect the mucous membranes from too much acid.
If a threonine deficiency occurs in childhood, bone growth could be delayed in severe cases. Adults show the deficiency symptoms of lassitude and fatigue. The immune system is dependent on threonine because it combines the proportion of proteins and carbohydrates in the so-called glycoproteins.
Glycoproteins are extremely small molecules consisting of different sugar groups. The vast majority of receptors in immune cells are glycoproteins. This structure ensures that the antibodies function in the event of pathogens. A deficiency can, therefore, be partly responsible for a weak defence.
What does an optimal supply of natural protein compounds look like?
Amino acids are a complex system in which the individual protein compounds cooperate with each other. A natural way of intake is certainly food. However, in everyday life, it is rarely possible to coordinate the individual foods in such a way that your needs are completely covered. Your needs may increase with stress, physical activity, certain diseases, dietary habits and advanced age.
It is possible that supplementation of natural L-amino acids can then help you to provide lasting support for your body and its functionality. A dietary supplement with pills of amino4U in combination with a balanced diet can therefore be a way to increase your well-being and performance – this is documented by the experiences of various users who regularly take natural amino acids as a supplement.