Why do we need to take essential amino acid supplements?
Amino acids are compounds primarily made of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen. Each amino acid provides unique roles, and each of them is crucial for the human body to function properly.
Amino acids are categorized into two identities; essential and non-essential. Non-essential amino acids are organic compounds that our body naturally produces.
On the other, essential amino acids are compounds that our body doesn’t produce. Thus, we need to acquire them through food sources or dietary supplements.
Listed in the following section are the basic essential amino acids we need for daily consumption and their unique roles in maintaining our body functioning properly.
How an essential amino acid supplement can help
The amino acid phenylalanine comes in three forms; L-phenylalanine, D-phenylalanine, and DL-phenylalanine. All of them are essentially the same but with slightly different molecular structure.
Among its three forms, DL-phenylalanine or DLPA is believed to be the most beneficial. Benefits may include the following:
- It may improve your mood – phenylalanine helps in the regulation of neurotransmitters like epinephrine and dopamine. These hormones are known to promote the generation of positive feelings.
- It may act as a pain reliever – some researchers observed that DLPA may hinder enkephalinase. However, this study remains lacking in sufficient scientific proofs. Thus, it needs more studies to confirm this claim.
- It may improve cognitive function – As mentioned, phenylalanine plays a role in the production of certain neurotransmitters which may lead to an improved mental capability.
Ongoing studies are being made to determine potential benefits and safety concerns. Thus, be sure to consult your local doctor or any licensed dietician before using DLPA supplements.
Lysine supplements promote muscle growth and aid faster recovery of muscle tissues if an injury occurs during training.
Regular intake of lysine may also give you the following benefits:
- Boosts immune system
- Help stimulate the production of collagens
- Promote the absorption of iron, calcium, and zinc.
- Support hormones and antibodies production.
Lysine supplements may provide you relief from the following disorders:
- Herpes: some health practitioners advise an intake of between 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily for individuals with herpes background.
- Diabetes: a study of 12 participants suggests that consuming lysine after meals may improve blood sugar levels. However, studies are still inconclusive, and further researches need to be made to fully identify lysine as a viable diabetes treatment.
- Regulating blood pressure levels: Some studies show that it may help individuals to lower high blood pressure. However, it lacks sufficient scientific evidence, and extended studies are necessary.
Daily consumption of lysine is needed by our body to function properly. Lysine deficiency may lead to the following symptoms:
- Impaired mental concentration
- Highly sensible to the environment
- Loss of hair
- Red eyes
- Abnormal feelings of tiredness
Aside from dietary supplements, you may also obtain them through meat and plant-based products. To name a few sources, it includes chicken, eggs, beef, fish, soybeans, and lentils.
Methionine is an amino acid abundant in animal sources like beef, fish, and dairy products. It provides a few unique roles in certain cell functions aside from synthesizing proteins. Because methionine contains sulfur, it can stimulate the release of other molecules that contain sulfur.
Benefits from methionine supplements include:
- May strengthen the bones: Studies are suggesting that taking in methionine supplements may improve bone health in general.
- May reduce symptom effects in individuals with Parkinson’s disease: It may particularly provide relief from tremors or shaking by improving rigidity and akinesia. It may also reduce the likelihood of certain age-related problems like loss of dopamine and oxidative damage.
- Improves liver health: S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine of SAM-e is a type of amino acid synthesized from methionine. This type of amino acid is mainly beneficial to the liver.
- It may promote weight loss: Methionine contributes to the synthesis of creatine. It may help you efficiently burn more fats, thus, inducing to a leaner and slender muscle mass.
- It may lessen the likelihood of colorectal cancer: Studies are suggesting that filling your daily meals with micronutrients may help reduce risks of colorectal cancer.
- May help provides relief to individuals suffering from symptoms of drug withdrawal – Although studies are suggesting that it may help, further has to be made to conclusive identify methionine as a viable source for withdrawal symptoms.
Branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine)
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are three distinct amino acids. They are termed as branched-chain amino acids because their molecular structure diverts to one side of the branch, which is unlikely among other types of amino acids.
BCAA supplements are particularly popular for people with active physical lifestyles. BCAAs promote muscle growth and speeds up the recovery process if an injury occurs due to intense workouts.
It’s also known to improve endurance and boost your energy levels.
Histidine stimulates other amino acids like serine, threonine, and cysteine as nucleophiles. You can obtain them through natural sources like eggs, dairy products, and meat.
L-histidine is the supplementary form of this amino acid and it’s usually sold in its natural form. Health benefits may include:
- Improve the overall condition of the nervous system.
- Protect the joints from degeneration.
- It enhances the production of white blood cells and red blood cells.
It helps to create glycine and serine—two compounds known to support cognitive functions. It also aids the production of elastin and collagen which is important for skin health and connective tissues.
L-threonine supplements may provide the following health benefits:
- Collagens improve the health of the bones, connective tissues, and skin.
- It may boost your immune system by improving the production of antibodies.
This amino acid provides vital functions which include regulating the balance of nitrogen in our bloodstream. Also, it activates the creation of niacin, which helps in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Tryptophan is categorized into two identities, D-tryptophan and L-tryptophan. These compounds are essential with a small difference in their molecular structure.
Potential health benefits linked to tryptophan supplements include:
- It may act as a pain reliever.
- Because it induces the production of serotonin, it may improve your mood.
- It may improve your sleep health.
- As treatment for anxiety and depression – this claim, however, lacks sufficient evidence, thus, subject to further studies.