Our body should be kept healthy and properly maintained through a healthy diet and physical activity. One important aspect of healthy eating is to ensure that the body can get the right amount of nutrients and minerals that the body needs in order to function properly on a day to day basis. An important part of a healthy diet is the intake of amino acids, particularly essential amino acids, through the food items we consume and the amino acid supplements we take in as supplements. But why are amino acids crucial to the human body? What can these organic compounds do for our overall health? In this article, let us explore the different and amazing things amino acids can do for the body.
Amino Acids: A Short Introduction
People, for the most part, are probably aware of the existence of these organic compounds known as amino acids. These amino acids aid in producing and developing proteins within the body and also aid the body in the repair of wounded tissue, enhanced tissue health, improved hair, skin, and bone health, and waste elimination brought about by the various metabolic processes of the human body. Out of the twenty (20) known amino acids, there are nine (9) essential ones or those ones that need to be acquired through the food we consume.
Essential Amino Acids
There are a total of nine (9) essential acids and these are histidine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, lysine, leucine, and Isoleucine. Essential amino acids are indeed critical for good health and as the name implies, is needed by the body for the accomplishment of certain bodily functions. These essential amino acids cannot be naturally produced by the human body and as such should be obtained through the consumption of various food items which include complete protein food groups such as whey, soy, chia seeds, buckwheat, quinoa, fish, chicken, beef, and eggs.
Non-essential amino acids
This type of amino acid is an organic compound that can be produced by the human body naturally. This group of amino acids can aid the body in the removal of toxins, enhancement of the metabolic function, improve digestion that is healthy, and promote the development of body tissue that is healthy. These non-essential amino acids include glutamine, aspartic acid, arginine, tyrosine, glutamic acid, asparagine, serine, proline, alanine, and cysteine. To make sure that your body is getting the right amount of amino acids in your diet, taking some supplements may be of some assistance.
What Can Amino Acids do to the Human Body?
Listed below are some of the things amino acids can do to the human body:
Evidence suggests that glutamine and other amino acids can help in the promotion of healthy and youthful skin through its supply of nutrients that can help in the strengthening tissues that support the elasticity of the skin and the strength of human hair and nails. Glutamine is crucial to maintain healthy skin and its production is reduced as we get older. Glutamine helps in the regulation of the balance of acid-base thereby resulting in improved firmness for the skin.
Arginine and Carnitine, on the other hand, has been shown to assist in the natural functions of the skin which includes DNA Damage repair through the production of elastin and collagen. Collagen, once formed, is important for skin protection since it can protect connecting tissues and helps in the contribution of strong ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. For healthy skin to be maintained, collagen formation should be sustained and promoted to ensure moisture replenishment resulting in the reduction of fine lines, increased smoothness of the skin, and increased skin elasticity.
Several studies suggest that protein can help individuals lose weight by encouraging the feeling of being full or satiated compared to foods that are heavy on fat content and carbs, resulting in fewer cravings and preventing the urge to overeat. Carnitine, an amino acid found mostly in the muscles, can help in recovery after exercise by improving oxygen supply. One other important role of amino acids, particularly glutamine, is its ability to enhance the health of the gut. In addition, glutamine can be transformed into glucose without spiking the levels of insulin and glucagon in the body. This process ensures that fats are not stored and that energy supplies are enhanced. Simply speaking, glutamine can help people feel more alert and energized and offers protection from insulin-induced storage of excess fats.
Promotes Muscle Growth
One of the most popular uses of amino acid supplements is their role in the growth and development of muscles. Methionine has been observed to produce creatine, an important amino acid in gaining muscle mass. Lysine, another form or essential acid, is also critical in muscle recovery after intense physical activities. A study conducted on laboratory animals showed that the supplement of amino acids resulted in improved strength and bone mass. There is evidence to suggest that the absorption of calcium to improve bone mass and health because of the amino acid supplement introduced to the test subject.
Fight Off Inflammation
There is evidence to suggest that amino acids can help individuals fight off inflammation when taken orally. Other researches have also pointed out that BCAAs or Branched-Chain Amino Acids can address body inflammation. These BCAAs include isoleucine, valine, and leucine.
Reduce Feelings of being Fatigued
A study conducted in Sweden indicated that the intake of amino acids contributed to the reduction of exertion during exercise and during other strenuous physical activities. In addition, amino acid supplements were also shown to help people address their mental fatigue and enhance their performance in terms of cognitive functions after an exercise routine. The same amino acids have also shown to contribute to sleep that is more sound and of better quality leading to reduced fatigue the next day.
Improve the Body’s Immune Response
Taking amino acid supplements have also been shown to improve the body’s immunity and aid in the prevention of diseases that are considered infectious. One specific amino acid may play a key role in the said benefit of these supplements and this is glutamine. This amino acid has been shown to greatly improve the immune response of the body and as such is considered vital to nutrition and good health.