Archive for 'protein and amino acid'

carnitine and L – carnitine

Posted on 23. Dec, 2011 by .


L-Carnitine, a sub-type of Carnitine
Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid which plays a vital role in the metabolism of fat. It functions as a transporter of fatty acids into the mitochondria, the metabolic furnace of the cell.Carnitine is a substance that helps the body turn fat into energy. Your body makes it in the liver and kidneys and stores it in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm
Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production. It transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria so they can be oxidized (“burned”) to produce energy. It also transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation. Given these key functions, carnitine is concentrated in tissues like skeletal and cardiac muscle that utilize fatty acids as a dietary fuel
Usually, your body can make all the carnitine it needs. Some people, however, may not have enough carnitine because their bodies cannot make enough or can’ t transport it into tissues so it can be used. Some other conditions, such as angina or intermittent claudication, can also cause low levels of carnitine in the body, as can some medications.For genetic or medical reasons, some individuals (such as preterm infants), cannot make enough, so for them carnitine is a conditionally essential nutrient
Carnitine has been proposed as a treatment for many conditions because it acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants fight harmful particles in the body known as free radicals, which damage cells and tamper with DNA. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Some of the conditions carnitine may help treat are serious. Serious diseases and conditions require conventional medical treatment, and you should talk to your health care provider before taking carnitine. For other conditions, such as fatigue or improving athletic performance, carnitine seems safe but may not help much.

L-carnitine was discovered in Russia, and one year later in Germany. The proper name, Carnitine, refers to the Latin origin, (carno, caris). Its structural formula was decoded in 1927, and its physiological significance was understood by the 1960’s. ( L-carnitine is synthesized in the liver and kidneys, from two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine. This synthesis requires the presence of vitamins niacin, B6, and iron. Most (98%) of the carnitine supply resides in the body’s muscle tissue. Approximately 80% of the amino acids our bodies need is endogenously synthesized, the remaining 20% are referred to as the essential amino acids. The supply of such aminos, like l-carnitine, must be supplemented exogenously. L-carnitine is available in the following food sources: red meat, diary products, avocado, and tempeh. Although a well balanced diet can provide approximately 75% of what the body is lacking, often conditions arise that make it difficult to obtain all the carnitine one needs.
It has been established that an adequate supply of l-carnitine is necessary for the maintenance of good health. L-carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane to be metabolized. L-carnitine aids in the release of stored body fat, tryglycerides, into the bloodstream for energy. Tryglycerides are the major source for the production of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles. Access to l-carnitine is believed to increase energy levels for long-term aerobic activity. L-carnitine is also responsible for muscle contraction, regulation of protein balance and maintenance of a healthy heart. Research also suggests that an adequate supply of l-carnitine could be instrumental in the treatment of diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, kidney and liver disease.Since its involvement in the process of burning fats is of most importance to those interested in endurance and body fitness, it is this topic that will be focused upon.


Carnitine boosts energy by stimulating the body’s burning of tryglycerides as fuel, and sparing the supply of glycogen stored in the liver for heavier exertion. During exercise, the body will burn fat at a rate of 75-80% of maximum exertion, thus less glycogen from carbohydrates is burned. L-carnitine allows the body to burn more fat, save more glycogen, and ultimately boost stamina and endurance. By providing more fat to the muscles, carnitine makes accessible an otherwise unavailable energy source


Is this the recipe for success? According to proponents of L-Carnitine, it is the essential amino acid in the optimum fat burning process. They believe that carnitine is to the human body, what a turbo mechanism is to a car: both provide optimal fuel and performance. Minus L-carnitine, fatty acids would have a difficult time permeating the walls of the mitochondria. Energy, stored in carbohydrates and fats, is required to work the muscle. Carbohydrates are converted from glucose to glycogen, to be stored in liver and muscle cells. Eventually, the body turns to fat storage for energy, and possibly, with more ease in the presence of L-carnitine. This is where L-carnitine as a supplement enters. During high energy output, the supply of L-carnitine becomes exhausted. Is it possible to compensate for this decrease solely through metabolic processes and diet? Or is an additional carnitine supplement needed for the extra boost? Judging from the variety of carnitine products now on the market, apparently many believe an additional outside source proves beneficial.

L-carnitine supplements are used to increase L-carnitine levels in people whose natural level of L-carnitine is too low because they have a genetic disorder, are taking certain drugs (valproic acid for seizures), or because they are undergoing a medical procedure (hemodialysis for kidney disease) that uses up the body’s L-carnitine. It is also used as a replacement supplement in strict vegetarians, dieters, and low-weight or premature infants.

L-carnitine is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including heart-related chest pain, congestive heart failure (CHF), heart complications of a disease called diphtheria, heart attack, leg pain caused by circulation problems (intermittent claudication), and high cholesterol.

Some people use L-carnitine for muscle disorders associated with certain AIDS medications, difficulty fathering a child (male infertility), a brain development disorder called Rett syndrome, anorexia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, overactive thyroid, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), leg ulcers, Lyme disease, and to improve athletic performance and endurance.

The body can convert L-carnitine to other amino acids called acetyl-L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine. But, no one knows whether the benefits of carnitines are interchangeable. Until more is known, don’t substitute one form of carnitine for another.

When can a carnitine deficiency occur?

Two types of carnitine deficiency states exist. Primary carnitine deficiency is a genetic disorder of the cellular carnitine-transporter system that usually manifests itself by five years of age with symptoms of cardiomyopathy, skeletal-muscle weakness, and hypoglycemia. Secondary carnitine deficiencies may occur due to certain disorders (such as chronic renal failure) or under particular conditions (e.g., use of certain antibiotics) that reduce carnitine absorption or increase its excretion . There is scientific agreement on carnitine’s value as a prescription product for treating such deficiencies .

What are some current issues and controversies about carnitine?

Carnitine has been studied extensively because it is important to energy production and is a well-tolerated and generally safe therapeutic agent . Researchers prefer to use acetyl-L-carnitine in research studies because it is better absorbed from the small intestine than L-carnitine and more efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier (i.e., gets into brain tissue) .

Athletic performance

Some athletes take carnitine to improve performance. However, twenty years of research finds no consistent evidence that carnitine supplements can improve exercise or physical performance in healthy subjects—at doses ranging from 2-6 grams/day administered for 1 to 28 days. (The total body content of carnitine is about 20 grams in a man weighing 155 pounds, almost all of it in the skeletal muscle .) For example, carnitine supplements do not appear to increase the body’s use of oxygen or improve metabolic status when exercising, nor do they necessarily increase the amount of carnitine in muscle.


A decline in mitochondrial function is thought to contribute to the aging process. Carnitine may be involved because its concentration in tissues declines with age and thereby reduces the integrity of the mitochondrial membrane
. Research in aged rats found supplementation with high doses of acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid (an antioxidant) to reduce mitochondrial decay
. The animals also moved about more and improved their performance on memory-requiring tasks. At present there are no equivalent studies of this kind in humans. However, a meta-analysis of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies suggests that supplements of acetyl-L-carnitine may improve mental function and reduce deterioration in older adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
. In these studies, subjects took 1.5-3.0 grams/day of acetyl-L-carnitine for 3-12 months.

Cardiovascular and peripheral-arterial disease
Several studies have examined supplemental carnitine in the management of cardiac ischemia (restriction of blood flow to the heart) and peripheral arterial disease (of which the most important symptom is poor circulation in the legs, known as intermittent claudication)
. Because levels of carnitine are low in the failing heart muscle, supplemental amounts might be beneficial to the organ by counteracting the toxic effects of free fatty acids and improving carbohydrate metabolism
. In short-term studies, carnitine has demonstrated anti-ischemic properties when given orally and by injection. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial in Italy with patients who had suffered a first heart attack found that supplemental carnitine (given intravenously for five days, then 6 grams/day orally for one year) reduced heart failure and overall mortality
. The results were not conclusive but promising enough to justify a larger study whose results have not yet been reported

Claudication results from an inadequate supply of oxygen-rich blood to the legs and leads to an accumulation of acetylcarnitine in muscle due to its incomplete utilization. Patients with peripheral arterial disease who develop claudication have significant impairments in exercise performance and find it difficult to walk even short distances at a slow speed
. Two published randomized, controlled trials raise the possibility that carnitine may improve the performance of skeletal muscles in the leg. In one European multicenter clinical trial, subjects with moderate to severe claudication who were supplemented with L-carnitine (in the form of propionyl-L-carnitine at 2 grams/day for 12 months) significantly improved their maximal walking distance and perceived quality of life as compared to subjects receiving the placebo [21]red for 6 months in patients with disabling claudication to significantly improve walking distance and speed, reduce bodily pain, enhance physical function, and improve perceived health state as compared to controls.


Fatigue resulting from chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and poor nutritional status is common in cancer patients
. They may also be deficient in carnitine
. In one study, treatment with carnitine supplements (4 grams/day for one week) ameliorated fatigue in most chemotherapy-treated subjects and restored normal blood levels of carnitine
. In another trial, terminal cancer patients supplemented with carnitine (doses ranged from 250 milligrams to 3 grams/day) experienced less fatigue and improved mood and quality of sleep
. In both studies, most subjects were carnitine deficient before taking the supplements.

Type 2 diabetes

Insulin resistance, which plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes, may be associated with a defect in fatty-acid oxidation in muscle. This raises the question as to whether mitochondrial dysfunction might be a factor in the development of the disease. Increased storage of fat in lean tissues has become a marker for insulin resistance . Early research suggests that supplementation with L-carnitine intravenously may improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics by decreasing fat levels in muscle and may lower glucose levels in the blood by more promptly increasing its oxidation in cells. A recent analysis of two multicenter clinical trials of subjects with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes found that treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine (3 grams/day orally) for one year provided significant relief of nerve pain and improved vibration perception in those with diabetic neuropathy. The treatment was most effective in subjects with type 2 diabetes of short duration.


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes a decline in the number of lymphocytes (one type of white blood cell), resulting in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV-infected individuals often accumulate fat in some areas of the body and lose fat in others and develop high levels of blood fats (hyperlipidemia) and insulin resistance, which together constitute the lipodystrophy syndrome. This syndrome may represent mitochondrial toxicity brought about by the HIV infection and the antiretroviral drugs used to treat it, and can induce a carnitine deficiency that limits mitochondrial fat metabolism . The molecular mechanisms by which this occurs are poorly understood. Preliminary research provides conflicting findings but suggests that supplementation with carnitine both intravenously and orally (at doses of 2-6 grams/day for weeks or months) in HIV-infected individuals may slow the death of lymphocytes (which in turn may slow HIV progression), reduce neuropathy , and favorably affect blood lipid levels .

End-stage renal disease and hemodialysis

Carnitine homeostasis (balance within the body) among individuals with renal diseases can be substantially impaired by several factors, particularly reduced synthesis and increased elimination of the compound by the kidneys as well as reduced intake from food due to poor appetite and consumption of fewer animal products . Many patients with end-stage renal disease, particularly those on hemodialysis, become carnitine insufficient. Carnitine blood levels and muscle stores are low, which may contribute to anemia, muscle weakness, fatigue, altered levels of blood fats, and heart disorders. Numerous studies suggest that high doses of supplemental carnitine (often injected) in patients on maintenance hemodialysis can correct some or all of these symptoms, though most involve small numbers of patients and are not double-blinded trials. A recent meta-analysis of these studies concludes that carnitine supplements may aid anemia management but not blood-lipid profiles, and that their effects on exercise capacity or heart stability are inconclusive .

Male infertility

Low sperm counts have been linked to low carnitine levels in men. Several studies suggest that L-carnitine supplements may increase sperm count and mobility.

Erectile Dysfunction

Preliminary studies suggest propionyl-L-carnitine may help improve male sexual function. One study found that carnitine improved the effectiveness of sidenafil (Viagra) in men with diabetes who had not previously responded to Viagra. In another study, a combination of propionyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine improved the effectiveness of Viagra in men who had erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery. More studies are needed.

Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s disease is characterized by a curvature of the penis that leads to pain during an erection. One promising study compared acetyl-L-carnitine to the medication tamoxifen in 48 men with this condition. Acetyl-L-carnitine worked better than tamoxifen at reducing pain during sex and reducing the curve of the penis. Acetyl-L-carnitine also had fewer side effects than tamoxifen. More research is needed.

The carnitine content of seminal fluid is directly related to sperm count and motility , suggesting that the compound might be of value in treating male infertility. Several studies indicate that carnitine supplementation (2-3 grams/day for 3-4 months) may improve sperm quality, and one randomized, double-blind crossover trial found that 2 grams/day of carnitine taken for 2 months by 100 infertile men increased the concentration and both total and forward motility of their sperm . The reported benefits may relate to increased mitochondrial fatty-acid oxidation (providing more energy for sperm) and reduced cell death in the testes . However, a recent randomized controlled trial with 21 infertile men found that 3 grams/day of carnitine taken for 24 weeks produced no significant increases in sperm motility or total motile sperm counts as compared to placebo . Larger and more carefully designed studies are needed to evaluate carnitine’s potential value as an infertility therapy.

Are there health risks from too much carnitine?

At doses of approximately 3 grams/day, carnitine supplements may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and a “fishy” body odor . More rare side effects include muscle weakness in uremic patients and seizures in those with seizure disorders.

Carnitine and medication interaction

Carnitine interacts with pivalate-conjugated antibiotics such as pivampicillin that are used in the long-term prevention of urinary-tract infections . Chronic administration of these antibiotics increases the excretion of pivaloyl-carnitine, which can lead to carnitine depletion. However, while tissue carnitine levels may become low enough to limit fatty acid oxidation, no cases of illness due to deficiency have been described . Blood concentrations of carnitine may be reduced in children treated for convulsions with phenobarbital, valproic acid, phenytoin, or carbamazepine, but no clinical consequences have been shown .

Supplemental sources of carnitine

L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine are available over-the-counter as dietary supplements. Carnitine is often promoted as an aid for weight loss, to improve exercise performance, and to enhance a sense of well-being . It is also a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat primary and certain secondary carnitine-deficiency syndromes.

Carnitine intakes and healthful diets

Most people obtain sufficient carnitine because of the body’s natural production of the substance as well as from their diets. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans describes a healthy diet as one that:

* emphasizes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
* includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts;
* is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars; and
* stays within your daily calorie needs.

Heart Conditions

* Angina — Some good evidence shows that carnitine can be used along with conventional treatment for stable angina. Several clinical trials show that L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine can help reduce symptoms of angina and improve the ability of people with angina to exercise without chest pain. Do not self-treat chest pain with carnitine, however. See your health care provider for diagnosis and conventional treatment, and take carnitine only under your health care provider’s supervision.
* Heart attack — A few studies have found that carnitine may help when used with conventional medicines after a heart attack, but not all studies agree. Some small studies suggest that people who take L-carnitine supplements soon after a heart attack may be less likely to have another heart attack, die of heart disease, have chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms, or develop heart failure. However, other studies have shown no benefit. Treatment with oral carnitine may also improve muscle weakness. Carnitine should be used along with conventional medication under your health care provider supervision.
* Heart failure — A few small studies have suggested that carnitine (usually propionyl-L-carnitine) can help reduce symptoms of heart failure and improve exercise capacity in people with heart failure. However, more and larger studies are needed to know for sure.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Decreased blood flow to the legs from atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries — where plaque builds up in the arteries — often causes an aching or cramping pain in the legs while walking or exercising. This pain is called intermittent claudication, and the reduced blood flow to the legs is called peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Several studies show that carnitine can help reduce symptoms and increase the distance that people with intermittent claudication can walk. Most studies have used propionyl-L-carnitine. Scientists don’t know whether L-carnitine would work the same.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy happens when high blood sugar levels damage nerves in the body, especially the arms, legs, and feet, causing pain and numbness. Some small preliminary studies suggest acetyl-L-carnitine may help reduce pain and increase feeling in affected nerves. It is also possible that carnitine can help nerves regenerate. More research is needed.

Exercise Performance

Although carnitine is often taken to boost exercise performance, there is no evidence it works.

Weight Loss

Although L-carnitine has been marketed as a weight loss supplement, there is no scientific evidence to show that it works. Some studies do show that oral carnitine reduces fat mass, increases muscle mass, and reduces fatigue, which may contribute to weight loss in some people.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Impairment

The evidence is mixed as to whether carnitine is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Several early studies showed that acetyl-L-carnitine, might help slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, relieve depression related to senility and other forms of dementia, and improve memory in the elderly. But larger and better-designed studies found it didn’ t help at all. People should take carnitine for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia only under the supervision of their health care provider.

Kidney Disease and Dialysis

Because the kidneys make carnitine, kidney disease could lead to low levels of carnitine in the body. If you have kidney disease, your health care provider may prescribe carnitine — but you shouldn’ t take it without medical supervision.


Some research suggests that L-carnitine may help prevent or reduce symptoms of an overactive thyroid, such as insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and tremors. In fact, in one study, a small group of people with hyperthyroidism saw these symptoms improve, and their body temperature become normal, when taking carnitine. But a larger, better-designed clinical trial is needed to see if carnitine really works. In addition, researchers think carnitine may work by blocking the action of thyroid hormone, which could be dangerous for people with low thyroid levels. Don’ t take carnitine for hyperthyroidism without your doctor’ s supervision.

Dietary Sources:

Red meat (particularly lamb) and dairy products are the main food sources of carnitine. It can also be found in fish, poultry, tempeh, wheat, asparagus, avocados, and peanut butter.
Available Forms:

Carnitine is available as a supplement in a variety of forms.

* L-carnitine: the most widely available and least expensive
* Acetyl-L-carnitine: Often used in studies for Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders
* Propionyl-L-carnitine: Often used in studies for heart disease and peripheral vascular disease

Avoid D-carnitine supplements. They interfere with the natural form of L-carnitine and may produce unwanted side effects.

In some cases, L-carnitine may be taken by prescription or given intravenously by a health care provider.
How to Take It:


Don’ t give carnitine supplements to a child without your child’s health care provider’s supervision. Your child’s health care provider should first make sure that the child has a carnitine deficiency.


Recommended doses of L-carnitine vary depending on the health condition being treated. The usual dose is between 1 – 3 g per day.

Because supplements may have side effects or interact with medications, you should take them only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Side effects are generally mild. High doses (5 or more grams per day) may cause diarrhea. Other rare side effects include increased appetite, body odor, and rash.

People with the following conditions should talk to their health care provider before taking carnitine:

* Peripheral vascular disease
* High blood pressure
* Liver disease from alcoholism (cirrhosis)
* Diabetes
* Kidney disease
* History of seizures

Possible Interactions:

If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use carnitine without first talking to your health care provider.

AZT — In a laboratory study, L-carnitine supplements protected muscle tissue against toxic side effects from AZT, a medication used to treat HIV and AIDS. More studies are needed to know whether L-carnitine would have the same effect in people.

Doxorubicin — Treatment with L-carnitine may protect heart cells against the toxic side effects of doxorubicin, a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancer, without making the medication any less effective. Always talk to your oncologist before using any complementary or alternative therapy with chemotherapy.

Isotretinoin (Accutane) — Accutane, a strong medication used for severe acne, can cause liver problems, as measured by a blood test, as well as high cholesterol and muscle pain and weakness. These symptoms are like those seen with carnitine deficiency. Researchers in Greece showed that a large group of people who had side effects from Accutane got better when taking L-carnitine compared to those who took a placebo.

Thyroid hormone — Carnitine may stop thyroid hormone from getting into cells, and theoretically may make thyroid hormone replacement less effective. If you take thyroid replacement hormone, talk to your health care provider before taking carnitine.

Valproic acid (Depakote) — The anti-seizure medication valproic acid may lower blood levels of carnitine. Taking L-carnitine supplements may prevent any deficiency and may also reduce the side effects of valproic acid. However, taking carnitine may increase the risk of seizures in people with a history of seizures.
Alternative Names:

Acetyl-l-carnitine; L-carnitine

thank you and reference

Continue Reading


Posted on 14. Mar, 2011 by .


Proteins are any of a group of complex organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulfur. Proteins, the principle constituents of the protoplasm of all cells, are of high molecular weight and consist of alpha-amino acids joined by peptide linkages. Different amino acids are commonly found in proteins, each protein having a unique, genetically defined amino-acid sequence, which determines its specific shape and function. They serve as enzymes, structural elements, hormones, immunoglobulins, etc. and are involved in oxygen transport, muscle contraction, electron transport, and other activities. The importance of adequate protein intake to proper immune function has been extensively studied. The most severe effects of “Protein-Calorie Malnutrition” (PCM) are on cell-mediated immunity, although all facets of immune function are ultimately affected. PCM is not, however, a single nutrient deficiency. It is normally associated with multiple nutrient deficiencies, and some immune dysfunctions attributed to PCM are most likely due to these other factors.

Continue Reading


Posted on 15. Jan, 2011 by .


GABA – (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid): An amino acid that is one of the principle inhibitory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.
1. Useful in schizophrenia and epilepsy, depression, high blood pressure, high stress levels, manic behavior, and acute agitation due to increased regulation of nerve firings and enhancement of Niacinamide binding receptors.
2. May induce calmness and tranquility by inhibiting neurotransmitters, which decrease the activity in neurons.
3. May be useful in reducing an enlarged prostate due to the suppression of Prolactia released by the pituitary gland

GABA is produced in the human brain and functions as a balancer, maintains balance between the body and the mind in states of excitation. GABA supplement aids several complications including Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, hypertension or HBP, obesity, insomnia, alcoholism and many more. It is also a great help in treating mental blocks.

Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is a non-essential amino acid. “Non-essential” doe not mean we do not need it for good health, but rather that the body can produce it without having to ingest it as part of the diet. Glutamic Acid forms GABA using Vitamin B6 as a catalyst.

GABA is also a neurotransmitter. For proper health the brain needs a balance between neurotransmitters that excite nerve transmissions and those that calm the transmissions. GABA is the primary neurotransmitter responsible for calming or inhibiting transmissions from cell to cell. In this role it prevents stress or anxiety-related messages from reaching the brain.

Since GABA facilitates relaxation and sleep, a drop off in levels can result in insomnia, anxiety, and irritability. Low levels have also been linked to depression. In fact, GABA is a central element in determining how the nervous system responds to stressful situations. GABA supplementation may lead to less anxiety and nervous tension.

GABA also helps stimulate the anterior pituitary gland. This gland is responsible for the production of human growth hormone (HGH). In the body HGH contributes significantly to muscle growth and inhibition of fat cells. Individuals taking GABA tended to lose excess body fat during studies. HGH depletion is common after 40 and may contribute to sleep problems. Taking GABA resulted in improved sleep cycles in clinical studies.

thank you and references

Continue Reading

amino acid

Posted on 15. Jan, 2011 by .



One of a class of organic compounds containing the amino (NH2) and the carboxyl (COOH) group, occurring naturally in plant and animal tissues and forming the chief constituents of protein; many of them are necessary for human and animal growth and nutrition and hence are called Essential Amino Acids. Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein.

Some Primary Functions of Amino Acids:

Depending upon the source of dated reference material studied, some reports state “20” Amino Acids have been identified. More modern reference materials state “22” Amino Acids have been identified. In my personal research, identifying all possibilities available to me at this time, I have listed “28” Amino Acids / or Amino Acid Derivatives. Of my 28 listings, 22 have been identified as “Commonly Occurring” in Proteins.

In living things, Amino Acids serve as the primary unit of synthesis both of Tissue Proteins and other Non-Protein Nitrogenous Compounds.

Amino acids may undergo complex inner conversions in the body into macromolecules such as carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, etc. Mineral co-factors also play an important role in that they interact with enzymes to assist with their catalytic activities. They are also capable of complexing with the individual free amino acids. For example, magnesium (MG2+) is important in the phosphorylation process or the transfer of high-energy phosphate groups into the body. Upon entering the body any free amino acids undergo complex inner-conversions into those substances necessary to maintain the metabolic pathways in the body. For example, Phenylalanine goes to Tyrosine and Arginine goes to Citrulline and Ornithine. (The Arginine pathway is a very important cycle.) Amino acid inner-conversions are not limited to other amino acids. Many free form amino acids play important roles as precursors for metabolic intermediaries. An example of this, Tyrosine’s and therefore Phenylalanine’s ability to give rise to two hormones Thyroxsine and Epinephrine. The Sulfur containing amino acids often precurse Taurine, which is an important bio-acid component. As W.C. Rose observed in 1938, “Perhaps undo emphasis was placed upon the quantity of protein ingestion and that scant consideration was given to possible difference in nutrient quality.”

Upon ingestion of foodstuff all nutrients and amino acids do not immediately diffuse into the surrounding tissue of the blood stream, but must first undergo a series of steps of biochemical reactions in the digestive tract. These reactions reduce the protein into its’ individual amino acids. Protein cleaving enzymes are activated in the digestive process, but in order for this cleavage to occur energy must be supplied on the part of the individuals metabolism to break the peptide bonds. The tissues then selectively absorb only those amino acids possessing the L configuration. “Methionine has been shown, however to be metabolically inter-changeable in both its’ L & D forms.” Rose and Wicksman 1955

By starting with a free amino acid mixture in which all amino acids are in their L conformation little digestion is necessary. The result is an energy saving and rapid absorption into the blood stream and surrounding tissues. “Amino acid supplementation of foods and feeds bring about many beneficial results. Of practical importance is the attainment of a better balance of protein and therefore a better balanced diet, an extension or savings of the available protein supply, and an improvement in the efficiency of the protein and food utilization. ” Rosenburg – 1959

Cystine Isoleucine Leucine Lysine
Methionine Phenylalanine Threonine Tryptophan
Tyrosine Valine Histidine*

Aminoacetic Acid Alanine Arginine Aspartic Acid
Carnitine Citrulline Cysteine Cystine
GABA Glutamic Acid Glutamine Glutathione
Glycine Histidine Hydroxyproline Isoleucine
Leucine Lysine Methionine Ornithine
Phenylalanine Proline Serine Taurine
Threonine Tryptophan Tyrosine Valine

thank you and references

Continue Reading


Posted on 15. Jan, 2011 by .


Proteins are any of a group of complex organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulfur. Proteins, the principle constituents of the protoplasm of all cells, are of high molecular weight and consist of alpha-amino acids joined by peptide linkages. Different amino acids are commonly found in proteins, each protein having a unique, genetically defined amino-acid sequence, which determines its specific shape and function. They serve as enzymes, structural elements, hormones, immunoglobulins, etc. and are involved in oxygen transport, muscle contraction, electron transport, and other activities.

The importance of adequate protein intake to proper immune function has been extensively studied. The most severe effects of “Protein-Calorie Malnutrition” (PCM) are on cell-mediated immunity, although all facets of immune function are ultimately affected. PCM is not, however, a single nutrient deficiency. It is normally associated with multiple nutrient deficiencies, and some immune dysfunctions attributed to PCM are most likely due to these other factors. Partial deficiencies of dietary vitamins produce a comparatively greater depression on immune functions than do partial protein deficiencies. Non-the less, adequate protein is essential for optimal immune function.

High protein diets are not recommended for individuals with kidney or liver disease. There are no other known side effects.

Pay attention to the protein package. Fish, poultry, and beans are your best bets

Around the world, millions of people don’t get enough protein. Protein malnutrition leads to the condition known as kwashiorkor. Lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death.

All Protein Isn’t Alike

Some of the protein you eat contains all the amino acids needed to build new proteins. This kind is called complete protein. Animal sources of protein tend to be complete. Other protein sources lack one or more “essential” amino acids—that is, amino acids that the body can’t make from scratch or create by modifying another amino acid. Called incomplete proteins, these usually come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.

Vegetarians need to be aware of this. To get all the amino acids needed to make new protein—and thus to keep the body’s systems in good shape—people who don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products should eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day.

thank you and references

Continue Reading


Posted on 11. Jan, 2011 by .


Methionine is a sulfur containing essential amino acid and was first isolated in 1922 from casein .As one of the compounds known as a lipotrophic, a fat burner or antioxidant the others in this group include choline, inositol, and betaine. It is important in the process of methylation where methyl is added to compounds as well as being a precursor to the amino acids cystine and cysteine.

Amino acids are essential to human metabolism, and to making the human body function properly for good health. The human body, minus water, is 75 percent amino acids. All of the neurotransmitters, save one, are composed of amino acids and 95 percent of hormones are amino acids.the nutrient methionine is important for many bodily functions, including immune cell production and proper nerve function

Methionine (ME (TH) + THION + INE) is an essential amino acid, defined as one that can be obtained only through food. Methionine is the body’s primary source of sulfur. The body uses sulfur to influence hair follicles and promote healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. Sulfur increases the production of lecithin in the liver, which reduces cholesterol, reduces liver fat, protects the kidneys, reduces bladder irritation by regulating the formation of ammonia in the urine, and helps the body to excrete heavy metals.

Methionine is used to treat acetaminophen poisoning to prevent liver damage. It can be given orally or intravenously. Preparations containing both methionine and acetaminophen have been formulated for use in situations where overdose could occur.

Low levels of methionine in pregnant women have shown to increase the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the fetus. These defects are caused by the failure of the neural tube to close properly during the formation of the central nervous system in the developing embryo. Mothers who have an adequate intake of methionine during the period from three months prior to conception through the first trimester of pregnancy significantly lower their risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect.

Substances, such as histamine, which can cause allergic reactions and dilate blood vessels can affect the way the brain sends and receives messages. Methionine works to reduce histamine levels in the body to allow proper synaptic function. Deficiencies in methionine levels can lead to severe mental disorders such as dementia, and in supplement form it is often prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia. It has also been shown as a promising agent to assist with memory recall and the treatment of other mental disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease, and for patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults, fibromyalgia, and stress and anxiety.

Since 2002, cancer researchers have been studying the role of methionine in a special diet for patients diagnosed with colon cancer.

Methionine is also used by the body to manufacture SAMe, also known as S-adenosyl-methionine or S-adenosyl-L-methionine. SAMe is found in every cell in the body. SAMe has been shown to be effective as a treatment for osteoarthritis and associated joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

SAMe has been shown to be beneficial for most types of depression. Many studies have shown SAMe to be as effective as other antidepressant drugs, working more quickly with fewer side effects. In Europe, SAMe is prescribed more often than any other type of antidepressant.

SAMe improves and normalizes liver function. In Europe, SAMe is used in the treatment of cirrhosis and liver damage caused by alcohol.

SAMe has been shown to be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia, AIDS-related myelopathy, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults.

SAMe also assists the body in producing a wide range of compounds, including neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, as well as cartilage components such as glycosaminoglycans.

SAMe is manufactured within the body and is found in almost every tissue, but it can also be made synthetically.

Methionine can be found in meat, as well as fish, eggs, and dairy products. For vegetarians, grains and soya beans are a good source, but beans belonging to the legumes are not. Natural and synthetic methionine is also available in supplements, as well as those containing SAMe, in either capsule, tablet or powder form.

Requirements of methionine vary according to a person’s body weight, but most average-size adults need approximately 800-1,000 mg per day. Children need twice that amount, and infants require five times that amount.

Methionine supplements are often recommended by alternative medical practitioners, especially for those who are not getting a proper diet, such as vegetarians who might not be getting a balance of complete protein, athletes, people under severe stress, and anyone whose alcohol intake level is moderate to high.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their doctors before using any kind of supplement. Women who are healthy and eat a well-balanced diet should not require methionine supplementation during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

There are no known drug interactions associated with methionine, and although there appears to be no toxic dosage of this amino acid, it may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and irritability.

Some common and significant side effects of methionine deficiency include liver damage, edema, weakness, and brittle hair. Low levels can slow normal growth and development in children. Insufficient levels in pregnant women may result in neural tube defects in infants, which are brain and spinal column disorders such as hydroencephaly or spina bifida

Groups at risk of methionine deficiency

People on low protein diets – people who are not eating enough protein foods may not get enough methionine in their diet
Vegans / vegetarian – people who are on a strict vegetarian diet may suffer from a methionine deficiency if their diet is deficient in protein
People in these groups at risk of methionine deficiency should talk to a medical professional about methionine supplements BEFORE taking them

Methionine works best with

Folic Acid
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B6 (Niacin)
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Side effects and cautions
The evidence gained from animal studies suggests that normal diets that are high in methionine content, especially when accompanied by deficiencies of the B vitamin complex, could possibly heighten the risk of atherosclerosis – which is the hardening of the arteries. This situation may come about due to an increase in the levels of cholesterol in the blood and higher levels of a compound called homocysteine in the body. Human tests conducted in the laboratory have not sufficiently tested out this hypothesis and further study is needed. The evidence however points to the fact that high methionine intake in the diet, if combined with deficiency in folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 levels in the body, can lead to a great increase in the conversion of methionine to the compound called homocysteine. This compound is a chemical substance connected to heart disease and stroke in patients. The link between supplemental methionine and this relationship with deficiencies of the B vitamins has not been studied and whether or not this connection is a qualified hazard for humans using supplements of methionine must be established in further studies. No severe effects health wise has been registered in any patients who supplemented with up to two grams of methionine per day, even for long periods of time.

thank you and references

Continue Reading


Posted on 09. Jan, 2011 by .


Glutamic acid is a nonessential amino acid, which means that it is manufactured from other amino acids in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet.

Glutamic acid is interconverted to glutamine, which is known to be a very important amino acid in preventing ammonia intoxication, and is also a brain-active neurotransmitter substance. Adults may ingest 20 to 35 mg per day of this amino acid without any apparent ill effects. In general, glutamine has been used therapeutically rather than glutamate in the management of certain types of problems such as alcoholism, liver problems, and certain biochemical problems.

Metabolism of glutamic acid can result in the formation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is known to be an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Deficiencies of GABA can result in excess activity of certain regions of the brain and seizures or behavioral hyperactivity. Dietary glutamic acid does not have a significant effect on GABA in the nervous system.

Method of Action

Aspartate and glutamate participate within the neurotransmitter family of substances. This family also includes acetylcholine, noradrenaline, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Glutamate is one of the most important excitatory transmitters in the central nervous system in lower animals and may also be important in humans. Aspartate has been considered to be a neurotransmitter, whereas GABA and glycine are thought to be major inhibitory transmitters. Excitatory transmitters such as aspartate lead to depolarization of the nerves; on the other hand, inhibitory transmitters cause hyperpolarization, apparently by increasing the permeability within the nerve of potassium and chloride.

Glutamate and aspartate are also very important in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (Kreb’s cycle), from which most of the energy is produced by metabolism. Their reaction in this pathway is by what is called the malate-aspartate shuttle for the transportation of energy into the mitochondria.


Supplementation with purified glutamic acid on an empty stomach of 3 grams or more has resulted in intestinal disturbances.Anyone suffering from kidney or liver disease should NOT take this supplement without first discussing it with their medical health practitioner.

Overdosage, toxicity and cautions for glutamic acid

No major side effects or toxicity have been reported in generally healthy adults, but high doses have presented symptoms such as headaches and neurological problems.

The flavor-enhancing substance monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid and can produce a condition called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” which is associated with muscle cramping, abdominal spasms, and gastric distress. Generally, Caucasians are more susceptible to this condition in that they are unable to convert glutamate to glutamine as efficiently as Orientals. Higher levels of vitamin B-6 intake have been found useful for preventing “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” due to enhanced conversion of glutamate to glutamine in those who are susceptible to this problem.

Glutamic acid, also called glutamate, is an excitatory neurotransmitter that increases the firing of neurons in the central nervous system. It is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal caord. It is converted into either glutamine or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), two other amino acids that help pass messages to the brain.

Glutamic Acid is important in the metabolism of sugars and fats, and aids in the transportation of potassium into the spinal fluid and across blood-brain barrier. Although it does not pass the blood-brain barrier as readily as glutamine does, it is found at high levels in the blood and may infiltrate the brain in small amounts. The brain can use glutamic acid as fuel.

Glutamic acid helps to correct personality disorders and is useful in treating childhood behavioral disorders. It is used in the treatment of epilepsy, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, ulcers, and hypoglycemic coma, a complication of insulin treatment for diabetes. It is a component of folate (folic acid), a B vitamin that helps the body break down amino acids. Because one of its salts is monosodium glutamate (MSG), glutamic acid should be avoided by anyone who is allergic to MSG.

Important glutamic acid facts

* Glutamic acid can attach itself to nitrogen atoms in the process of forming glutamine, and this action also detoxifies the body of ammonia. This action is the only way in which the brain can be detoxified from ammonia
* The brain can use glutamic acid as fuel
* There are high concentrations of glutamic acid (glutamate) in various parts of the brain
* Glutamic acid (or glutamate) is an excitory amino acid neurotransmitter and actually stimulates over 70% of the synapes in the brain
* Glutamic acid (or glutamate) is converted into GABA if all of its co-factor nutrients are available

Glutamic acid and health

* Brain and mental health – glutamic acid helps to correct personality disorders and is useful in treating childhood behavioral disorders. It is used in the treatment of neurological conditions, epilepsy, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease
* Hypoglycaemic coma – glutamic acid is considered a remedy for hypoglycaemic coma (a complication of insulin treatment for diabetes)
* Heart disorders – glutamic acid may have protective effects on the heart muscle in people with heart disease. Intravenous injections of glutamic acid (as monosodium glutamate) have been shown to increase exercise tolerance and heart function in people with stable angina pectoris
* Benign prostate hyperplasia – the fluid produced by the prostate gland contains significant amounts of glutamic acid, and this amino acid may play a role in normal function of the prostate. Studies have shown a reduction in symptoms with supplementation of glutamic acid (together with alanine and glycine)

How to Use It

Healthy people do not need to take glutamic acid as a supplement; for those who do use this amino acid, appropriate amounts should be determined with the consultation of a physician.

Where to Find It

Sources of glutamic acid include high-protein foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Some protein-rich plant foods also supply glutamic acid.
Possible Deficiencies

Glutamic acid works best with

* Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
* Vitamin H (Folic Acid)
* Magnesium
* Manganese
* Potassium
* Zinc
* Arginine
* Aspartic Acid
* Glycine
* Proline
* Taurine

thank you and references

Continue Reading


Posted on 09. Jan, 2011 by .


Asparagine is a nonessential amino acid, which means that it is manufactured from other amino acids in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet.

Asparagine, also known as asparamide, is α-amino acid that is found in many proteins, particularly in plant proteins, such as in asparagus. Asparagine is closely related to the amino acid aspartic acid, into which it is easily hydrolized.

In humans, the L-isomer of asparagine, which is the only form that is involved in protein synthesis, is one of the 20 standard amino acids common in animal proteins and required for normal functioning in humans. However, asparagine is considered to be a “non-essential amino acid” since it does not have to be taken in with the diet, but can be synthesized by the human body from other compounds through chemical reactions—in this case, synthesized easily from aspartic acid.

The production of asparagine (utilizing various enzymes and chemical compounds), the incorporation of asparagine and other amino acids into proteins in a particular arrangement, and the folding of proteins into a precise three-dimensional configuration involves the coordination of a great number of complex steps, revealing the remarkable harmony in the universe.

Asparagine was first isolated in 1806 from asparagus juice, in which it is abundant—hence its name. Asparagine was the first amino acid to be isolated.

A reaction between asparagine and reducing sugars or reactive carbonyls produces acrylamide (acrylic amide) in food when heated to sufficient temperature, i.e. baking temperatures. Acrylamides are a chemical compound that some consider may pose health risks; they occur primarily in baked goods such as french fries, potato chips, and roasted coffee.

Asparagine is the amide of aspartic acid. The amide group does not carry a formal charge under any biologically relevant pH conditions. The amide is rather easily hydrolyzed, converting asparagine to aspartic acid. This process is thought to be one of the factors related to the molecular basis of aging.

Asparagine has a high propensity to hydrogen bond, since the amide group can accept two and donate two hydrogen bonds. It is found on the surface as well as buried within proteins.

Asparagine is a common site for attachment of carbohydrates in glycoproteins.

There is no suggested need for asparagine supplementation presently available in the literature. Asparagine is interrelated with the amino acid aspartic acid. Low levels of asparagine may indicate poor metabolism or synthesis of aspartic acid, which can result in the inability to properly synthesize and excrete urea, which is the major waste product of excess dietary protein. The inability to excrete urea can result in buildup of nitrogen-containing toxic metabolites that can lead to confusion, headaches, depression, irritability, or, in extreme cases, psychosis.

Deficiencies of a nonessential amino acid will not occur if a well-balanced diet is consumed because the intake of proper foods will allow the body to produce exactly the amount of amino acid required to function optimally.

Method of Action

Prior to 1940, amino acids were generally regarded as relatively-stable nutrient building blocks. In the 1940s and 50’s that concept was abandoned when it was found that the nitrogen atom in amino acids such as aspartic and glutamic acids could be rapidly converted from one amino acid carbon skeleton to another. The process by which these nitrogen atoms are exchanged is called transamination and is dependent upon the coenzyme pyridoxal pyrophosphate, which is derived from vitamin B-6. Both aspartic acid and glutamic acid can incorporate ammonia, thereby resulting in the production of asparagine and glutamine, respectively. It soon became apparent that asparagine and glutamine are soluble, nontoxic carriers of additional ammonia in the form of their amid groups. An active enzyme converts aspartate and ammonia to asparagine and glutamate and ammonia to glutamine. The nitrogen in glutamine is used in a great variety of biochemical processes, including the formation of carbamoyl phosphate used in the urea cycle and the production of purines, which are used in DNA and RNA.

Glutamate, glutamine, and aspartate also play central roles in the removal of all nitrogen from organic compounds. The exchange of nitrogen by transamination is reversible so that when the body is properly managing glutamate and aspartate, there is the exchange of nitrogen from one source, ultimately, from the urea cycle and the elimination in the urine as urea.


Asparagine can be degraded easily into aspartate (aspartic acid), which is a glucogenic amino acid. A glucogenic amino acid is an amino acid that can be converted into glucose through gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is the process of generating glucose from non-sugar carbon substrates like pyruvate, lactate, glycerol, and glucogenic amino acids.

Essentially, L-asparginase hydrolyzes the amide group of asparagine to form aspartate and ammonium. A transaminase converts the aspartate to oxaloacetate, which can then be metabolized in the citric acid cycle or via gluconeogenesis.

The characteristic smell observed in the urine of individuals after their consumption of asparagus is attributed to various metabolic byproducts of asparagine. In 1891, Marceli Nencki claimed that the substance responsible was methanethiol, and Robert White’s 1975 research indicated that the substances were various thioesters (Adams 1999). Other likely possibilities include asparagine aminosuccinic monoamide. Allison and McWhirter (1956) indicated that some individuals do not produce this odor after asparagus consumption, and that this is autosomal (on a non-sex chromosome); however, a re-examination in 1980 showed that these individuals are, rather, not able to detect the odor.


There is limited information concerning the use of asparagine inside the human body and more of its metabolic roles need to be studied. Concerning physical and mental health, there are indications that the presence or absence of sufficient asparagine may be of medical significance in some cases.

Asparagine is important for certain specific processes affecting the central nervous system and the amino acid may be of significant use in the maintenance, proper functioning, and overall chemical balance in the tissues making up the human brain. Extreme mood swings seem to be mediated by the presence of asparagine and the amino acid seems to assists the body in the maintenance of mental equilibrium. The presence of asparagine guards the mental from being either too overly anxious or nervous, or being too calm or sedated to the external environment.

Asparagine is also used in the body for physical processes. This amino acid is responsible for major amino acid transformations and all connected biochemical processes occurring inside the liver. The activation of metabolic pathways during the conversion of asparagine back to aspartic acid is probably this agency of biochemical importance. This process generates and releases metabolic energy for the maintenance of such important processes in the human body. Asparagine is additionally one of the major chemical precursor and facilitator involved in the synthesis of RNA, DNA, and the energy compound called ATP. The other biochemical processes that involve asparagine include the performance and functioning of anti-bodies, the bio-chemical conversion of aspartate to maintain cellular functioning and activity, the assembly of collagen and enzymatic activity, as well as cell to cell recognition in important cellular communication pathways.


Common dietary sources of asparagine include asparagus, dairy products, potatoes, beef, poultry, meat, and eggs

Usual dosage

The possible dosage or intake levels of any of the non-essential amino acids has not been clinically determined as deficiencies rarely occur in the body for this class of amino acids. The clinical estimates made by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences is stated with a recommendation that the majority of healthy people might achieve 0.36 grams of highly bio-available protein for every pound of bodyweight during supplementation – this equals 0.8 grams of protein, per kilogram of bodyweight per person.

thank you and references

Continue Reading

Aspartic acid

Posted on 09. Jan, 2011 by .


Aspartic acid,also called asparaginic acid, also known as L-aspartate, is thought to help promote a robust metabolism, and is sometimes used to treat fatigue and depression. Aspartic acid plays an important role in the citric acid cycle, or Krebs cycle, during which other amino acids and biochemicals, such as asparagine, arginine, lysine, methionine, threonine, and isoleucine, are synthesized.

Aspartic acid gets its reputation as a treatment for chronic fatigue from the crucial role it plays in generating cellular energy. Aspartic acid moves the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) molecules from the main body of the cell to its mitochondria, where it is used to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel that powers all cellular activity.

In short, the more NADH a cell has, the more chemical fuel it produces, and the more energy you have to get through your day. (Some studies have shown that aspartic acid actually increases both stamina and endurance levels in athletes.) In addition, this amino acid helps transport minerals needed to form healthy RNA and DNA to the cells, and strengthens the immune system by promoting increased production of immunoglobulins and antibodies (immune system proteins).

Aspartic acid keeps your mind sharp by increasing concentrations of NADH in the brain, which is thought to boost the production of neurotransmitters and chemicals needed for normal mental functioning. It also removes excess toxins from the cells, particularly ammonia, which is very damaging to the brain and nervous system as well as the liver.

A non-essential amino acid in protein. The body produces aspartic acid to form part of a liver enzyme that builds and breaks down proteins and amino acids, and detoxifies nitrogen in urea. Aspartic acid is a neurotransmitter.Aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid, which means that the body is able to manufacture its own supply. It is also found in dairy, beef, poultry, sugar cane and molasses (the artificial sweetener aspartame is made from aspartic acid and phenylalaline, another amino acid). People with diets low in protein or with eating disorders or malnutrition may develop a deficiency, not only in aspartic acid, but in other amino acids as well, and experience extreme fatigue or depression.

Serious athletes may need to take an amino acid supplement as well—aspartic acid can be found in protein supplements such as amino acid tablets and whey protein powder drinks/bars, and are often marketed as energy boosters. They are generally available at most drugstores and health food stores, or at your local gym or health club.

Aspartic acid and health

* Liver health – aspartic acid benefits the liver by removing excess ammonia from the liver. Aspartic acid combines with other amino acids to form molecules that absorb toxins and remove them from the bloodstream
* Chronic fatigue syndrome – since aspartic acid increases stamina, it is good for fatigue (chronic fatigue syndrome may result from low levels of aspartic acid, because this can lead to lowered cellular energy)

Aspartic acid works best with

* Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
* Magnesium
* Potassium
* Arginine
* Glutamic Acid

Aspartic acid is considered generally safe, however, a small number of people may experience an allergic reaction to supplementation with aspartic acid. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use aspartic acid supplements. Always avoid taking individual amino acids in high dosage for prolonged periods.

Aspartic Acid is widely used in food and pharmaceutical industry as an important amino acid. It is used as dietetic supplement, additive for kinds of soft drink. In medicine, it is used as ammoniac detoxicating agent. hepar function accelerator and fatigue refresher

Description: White crystals or crystalline powder having a slightly acid taste. It is slightly soluble in water. It is soluble in acid, alkali and salt water,but dissoluble in alcohol and in ethyl ether.

Side Effects, Toxicity and Interactions:

The use of a single amino acid supplement may lead to negative nitrogen balance, decreasing the metabolic efficiency and increasing the workload of the kidneys. In children, taking single amino acid supplements may also harmfully affect growth parameters.

Always avoid taking individual amino acids in high dosage for prolonged periods.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use aspartic acid supplements.

thank you and references,AsparticAcid

Continue Reading


Posted on 08. Jan, 2011 by .


Valine is an essential amino acid. is hydrophobic, and as expected, is usually found in the interior of proteins. This means that it must be obtained through the diet in adequate quantities to meet the body’s needs.

Valine is a member of the branched-chain amino acid family, along with leucine and isoleucine. The three branched-chain amino acids constitute approximately 70 percent of the amino acids in the body proteins. As such, their value in the formation and maintenance of structural and functional integrity in humans is unmeasured.

Valine also participates in the detoxification of ammonia and works along with alpha-ketoglutarate. It may be an important amino acid in the prevention of muscle wasting in diabetes and in the prevention of ammonia toxicity in older-aged individuals who are hospitalized.

Recent studies have indicated that valine, leucine, and isoleucine supplementation can aid in muscle repair in individuals who have been seriously injured. It has been found that after injury an individual mobilizes the branched-chain amino acids from his or her muscles to synthesize glucose in the liver. Supplementation with valine and the other two branched-chain amino acids may be very helpful in preventing muscle breakdown after trauma. Levels of supplementation vary between 200 and 1,000 mg along with balanced levels of leucine and isoleucine.

Method of Action

An inborn error in valine metabolism is seen in a small percentage of people and can lead to “maple syrup urine disease”. Faulty degradation of the amino acid results from blockage of oxidative decarboxylation and occurs along with inappropriate metabolism of leucine and isoleucine in this unusual genetic metabolism disorder. In these individuals, supplementation with branched-chain amino acids would be contraindicative.

Degradation of the branched-chain amino acids creates a series of branched fatty acid starter pieces, whose utilization leads to the formation of fatty acids that can be incorporated in complex phospholipids. The branched-chain amino acids have a unique muscle-sparing ability due to their gluconeogenic activity.

Valine differs from threonine by replacement of the hydroxyl group with a methyl substituent. Valine is often referred to as one of the amino acids with hydrocarbon side chains, or as a branched chain amino acid.

Note that valine and threonine are of roughly the same shape and volume. It is difficult even in a high resolution structure of a protein to distinguish valine from threonine.


Valine supplementation for the treatment of very specific health conditions is never carried out using valine alone – it is almost always combined with other amino acids. Valine supplements are therefore mostly used by patients in combination with the other two branched chain amino acids – namely isoleucine and leucine – both of which are also essential in the diet. The use of valine supplements by bodybuilders and people in competitive sports is extensive mainly due to the inclusion of BCAAs in general – this group of branched chain amino acids is very good for building up muscle bulk. Supplements of L-valine are believed to be beneficial for people involved in physical weight training and aerobic training-valine is said to increase performance and strength. Tissue repair and restoration carried out by valine following a work out and increased energy available to muscles of athletes during training may be the major role that is played by valine in the human body.

Valine supplements may also be beneficial to people who suffer from any type of chemical dependencies – as valine tends to boost energy levels and repairs tissue damage rapidly. Alcoholics and drug addicts have been known to be affected by many forms of severe amino acid deficiencies – such people may benefit greatly from supplements of valine. Such deficiencies are often corrected by taking supplemental dosages of the L-valine. These supplements may also be taken to rectify and gradually reverse any type of hepatic encephalopathy or some forms of degenerative neurological disorders. The term hepatic encephalopathy affecting the liver is a reference to an alcohol induced or related damage to the brain and central nervous system in general.

Valine supplements and their usefulness is a subject of continued research including research on liver disease and the forms of muscular degeneration that is evident in patients affected by severe physical trauma – particularly post surgical trauma and trauma induced by severe burns. Valine supplements and their applicability towards other conditions like ammonia toxicity and diabetes affecting older adults, are also being thoroughly investigated in assorted clinical studies – the goal is to find what role if any, that valine supplements may play in the treatment of such disorders.

Food Sources

Foods high in valine include:

· Cottage cheese (dry) 2,500 mg/cup

· Cottage cheese (crmd) 1,769 mg/cup

· Fish & other seafoods 1,000-7,000 mg/lb

· Meats 1,500-5,500 mg/lb

· Poultry 2,500-5,500 mg/lb

· Peanuts, roasted w skin 3,500 mg/cup

· Sesame seeds 2,000 mg/cup

· Dry, whole lentils 2,500 mg/cup

Usual dosage

Valine supplementation must always be taken in a balanced combination with other branched chain amino acids in the given ratio: two parts L-valine and one part L-isoleucine with a further two parts L-leucine. As an example, 2 mg of L-valine will be with 1 mg L-isoleucine and 2 mg L-leucine.
Side effects and cautions

Valine supplements taken at excessive dosages might produce a crawling sensation on the skin of the person – such high doses could even induce hallucinations in the person. A doctor must be consulted if any symptoms or side effects are noticed – the supplementation must be stopped immediately till a doctor is consulted on the nature of the side effect.

thank you and references

Continue Reading