A healthy diet and a regular exercise routine can help individuals achieve improved health and wellness if done on a regular basis. This can be a challenge, however, since people are now more than ever required to continually be efficient at work and deeply involved with their families and communities. With such high demands on modern men and women, people can sometimes overlook or forget their health commitments to themselves and to their families. It is not surprising then, that a number of exercise programs and supplements have popped up claiming that their program or product can aid and enhance people’s journey towards improved health. One such supplement is Amino Acids. But what exactly are these amino acids and what are their possible health benefits and possible side effects.
Amino Acids: What are they exactly?
Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein and as such, the foundation of muscle production. These are compounds recognized as having important contributions to the different biological functions and workings of the body. The said compounds are needed for the numerous and different biological functions within the body such as protein development and neurotransmitter and hormone synthesis. Some forms of amino acids can be taken in the form of a food supplement or through more natural methods such as whole protein food consumption. With regular or normal levels of amino acids present, it can enhance an individual’s mood and improve the physical performance of people. There are a number of different types for these amino acids and they are classified as either nonessential amino acids, conditionally essential amino acids, or essential amino acids.
Generally speaking, amino acids are compounds that are organic in nature and are composed of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and for some amino acids, a variable side chain. The human body also requires these twenty (20) different amino acids to properly work and for development and while all of these amino acid compounds are needed and beneficial for the human body, nine (9) amino acids are identified as essential and these include valine, tryptophan, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, and histidine. These essential amino acids are those that the body cannot produce on its own and as such, will need to be obtained through the consumption of various food items. Some of the best food items to acquire these amino acids are poultry, eggs, and various meats such as chicken and turkey. Once these protein-rich food items are consumed, it is processed into amino acids and is then utilized for different biological functions such as muscle development and the regulation of the individual’s immune response.
One unique form of amino acid is called the conditionally essential amino acid. These conditionally essential amino acids only become necessary under certain situations or scenarios such as during times of stress or illness.
What are the Health Benefits of these Amino Acids?
Listed below are some of the known health benefits of the different amino acids:
1. Youthful and healthy skin
Glutamine, one of twenty (20) amino acids have been shown to contribute to healthy, glowing, and youthful skin. This amino acid can provide the skin with nutrients that are essential which contribute to strong nails, strong hair, and skin elasticity. Glutamine has also been shown to reduce the loss of skin firmness brought about by old age. Two (2) important amino acids have been shown to aid in the production of elastin and collagen and these are carnitine and arginine. Both elastin and collagen have been shown to aid in the protection of tissues, and stronger ligaments, tendons, and cartilages. Skin that is healthy also relies on collagen formation and in the replenishment of skin moisture which can help lower the risk of developing fine lines, improved elasticity, and improved smoothness of the skin.
2. Management of weight
Evidence suggests that eating food items that are high in protein can lead to feeling more satiated and in feeling less hungry for a longer period of time compared to other food items that are full of fats or carbs. This has been shown to lower the possibility of eating too much which can ultimately lead to weight loss and better weight management. Carnitine has also been shown to transport oxygen to the muscles to help individuals in their recovery from physical exertion. Glutamine, on the other hand, can help the body in its prevention of storing excess fats and sugars, resulting in individuals feeling more alert and energized.
3. Development of muscles
Amino acids are critical in the synthesis of proteins and muscle development. An essential amino acid known as methionine is responsible for the creation of creatine which aids the body in enhancing muscle mass. On the other hand, the amino acid called lysine has been shown to improve muscle recovery after physical exertion or activities. Studies also suggest that aside from muscle development amino acid supplementation can aid the body in developing strength and bone mass as well. This can be attributed to the increased absorption of calcium in the bones after supplementation with amino acids.
Possible Side Effects of Amino Acids
While it was mentioned that amino acids do have a number of important health benefits, there are some possible side effects when it comes to amino acid supplementation or intake. Listed below are some of these possible side effects of amino acids:
- People might gain some weight for taking in amino acid supplements
- Athletes and other physically fit individuals may experience certain health concerns when taking amino acid supplements such as dehydration
- People may encounter imbalances in their amino acid levels especially if the supplement is taken incorrectly.
- Amino acid supplements can contribute to certain kidney issues especially those with kidneys and livers that are already damaged by disease
- Amino acid supplements may also contribute to the development of osteoporosis