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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Posted on 03. Dec, 2010 by .


Lysine, or L-lysine, is an essential amino acid. That means it is necessary for human health but the body can’t manufacture it; lysine has to be gotten from food. Amino acids like lysine are the building blocks of protein. Lysine is important for proper growth, and it plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. Lysine appears to help the body absorb calcium, and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage.

Most people get enough lysine in their diet, although athletes, vegans who don’t eat beans, and burn patients may need more. Not enough lysine can cause fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, slow growth, anemia, and reproductive disorders. For vegans, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are the best sources of lysine.



Some studies have found that taking lysine on a regular basis may help prevent outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes. Not every study has shown positive results, however. One study found that taking lysine at the beginning of a herpes outbreak did not reduce symptoms.

Taken in adequate dosages, this amino acid has been scientifically proven to “slow down” and retard the growth of the herpes virus, as well as inhibit viral replication.  Viral replication is when the virus grows and multiplies in larger numbers.

Studies have shown that supplements of Lysine can reduce the frequency and intensity of herpes and cold sore outbreaks.

The outcome is likely to be more substantial if a supplement is taken that contains Lysine along with other nutrients that are indicated for herpes, such as Vitamin C, Bioflavonoids and Zinc, which have been proven in Clinical Trials to improve healing time and reduce the frequency of episodes.

These nutrients work cohesively together and along with Lysine can help to suppress outbreaks and strengthen the skin. Tip, don’t pass on the Bioflavonoids because they work in synergy with the other nutrients, making them more effectively utilized by the body. Bioflavonoids have also been demonstrated to help stop an outbreak before it starts.

How does Lysine work?

There are two amino acids that have been found to significantly influence herpes (the virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes), these are Lysine and Arginine.

Lysine can be a valuable weapon in reducing outbreaks and in healing the infection quickly, whereas Arginine can provoke outbreaks and is required by the herpes simplex virus to replicate and cause symptoms.

Tissue culture studies show that Lysine works by repressing the metabolism of Arginine, an amino acid that is essential for the herpes virus to replicate and become active.

For more information about the safety of taking Lysine supplements please read the article Is Lysine Safe? which addresses some commonly asked questions.

What foods contain Lysine?

Lysine is one of eight essential amino acids. It is a building block of protein that the body cannot synthesize from other sources and therefore must be obtained from our diet.

A healthy diet high in Lysine and low in Arginine can be helpful in reducing herpes and cold sore outbreaks. Taking an additional Lysine supplement can help to ensure the correct balance in the body,

This could include eating healthy amounts of foods rich in Lysine such as vegetables, fish, chicken, cheese, milk, brewer’s yeast and beans and avoiding foods such as nuts, chocolate, whole and white wheat, oats and gelatin, which are high in Arginine.

I have tried Lysine, it didn’t work. Why is that?

If you have tried Lysine before but didn’t find it helpful it may be because the dosage was lower than 1250mg per day.

This is due to the fact that clinical studies have shown that Lysine taken in small concentrations has a limited effect, if any, on the herpes virus.  When taken at a dosage of 1250mg per day or higher, the results are significant.

Is Lysine helpful for both genital and oral herpes?

Cold sores is commonly caused by HSV Type 1, whereas genital herpes is more commonly caused by HSV Type 2.Lysine, particularly in a high potency form, can help to restrict the virus’ “food” by naturally counter-reacting the levels of Arginine in the body.

If possible, the Lysine supplement should be combined with Vitamin C, Zinc and Bioflavonoids which work together to help restore, protect and strengthen the skin.

Since both HSV-1 and HSV-2 work in a very similar way (both viruses require Arginine to grow and replicate) these supplements can be very beneficial in managing conditions caused by both of these viruses.

What to look for in a Lysine supplement

When deciding on which brand of Lysine to take, try to find one that is manufactured from pure Lysine rather than a synthetic and if possible, one that also contains other beneficial nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids.

These compounds work in synergy with each other (in other words they work better in the body when taken together) and will save a lot of money in the long run if purchased in one combined tablet.

Vitamin C and Zinc help the skin to repair, regenerate and heal more efficiently and Bioflavonoids improve the absorption of Vitamin C.  These supplements can help reduce outbreaks.

Vitamin C and Zinc both have wound healing properties and Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen (a fiber that connects and strengthens connective tissue, such as the skin).  Bioflavonoids are a natural antioxidant, free radical destroyer and immune booster.


Lysine helps the body absorb calcium and decreases the amount of calcium that is lost in urine. Because calcium is crucial for bone health, some researchers think lysine may help prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis. Lab studies suggest that lysine in combination with L-arginine (another amino acid) makes bone-building cells more active and enhances production of collagen. But no studies have examined whether lysine helps prevent osteoporosis in humans.

Dietary Sources:

Foods rich in protein are good sources of lysine. That includes meat (specifically red meat, pork, and poultry), cheese (particularly parmesan), certain fish (such as cod and sardines), nuts, eggs, soybeans (particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soybean flour), spirulina, and fenugreek seed. Brewer’s yeast, beans and other legumes, and dairy products also contain lysine.

Available Forms:

Lysine is available in tablets, capsules, creams, and liquids, and is usually sold in the L-lysine form.

How to Take It:


For children ages 2 – 12: Recommendations are 23 mg/kg/day or 10 mg per pound of body weight daily. Do not use lysine in children less than 2 years of age unless under the supervision of a health care provider.


For adults ages 13 and older: Recommendations are 12 mg/kg/day.

For adults with herpes infections: To treat symptoms, take 3,000 – 9,000 mg per day in divided doses. To prevent recurrences, take 1,000 mg 3 times per day.


Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Lysine in the diet is considered safe. High doses have caused gallstones.

People with kidney or liver disease should ask their doctor before taking supplemental lysine.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take supplemental lysine without talking to their doctor.

Possible Interactions:

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

Arginine — Arginine and lysine share common pathways in the body. High levels of arginine may lower lysine levels in the body.

Alternative Names:

Amino acid K; L-lysine

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Amino acid

Posted on 10. Nov, 2010 by .


Amino acid are over twenty.Each one of them is a little different. Amino acids are used in every cell of your body and are used to build the proteins you need to survive. All organisms need some proteins, whether they are used in muscles or as simple structures in the cell membrane. Even though all organisms have differences, they still have one thing in common, the need for basic chemical building blocks.

Amino acids play central roles both as building blocks of proteins and as intermediates in metabolism. The 20 amino acids that are found within proteins convey a vast array of chemical versatility.The precise amino acid content, and the sequence of those amino acids, of a specific protein, is determined by the sequence of the bases in the gene that encodes that protein. The chemical properties of the amino acids of proteins determine the biological activity of the protein. Proteins not only catalyze all (or most) of the reactions in living cells, they control virtually all cellular process. In addition, proteins contain within their amino acid sequences the necessary information to determine how that protein will fold into a three dimensional structure, and the stability of the resulting structure. The field of protein folding and stability has been a critically important area of research for years, and remains today one of the great unsolved mysteries. It is, however, being actively investigated, and progress is being made every day.

Amino acids form the proteins that in turn form muscle tissue and increase fat metabolism. Look in the cupboard of just about any serious athlete, and you’ll likely find some kind of amino acid supplement or protein drink designed to help them increase strength, build muscle tissue, or otherwise enhance their athletic performance. However, amino acids are not just important to those who wish to “bulk up.” Without amino acids, all cellular development, respiration, or renewal would cease.

There are just 22 amino acids, but without them all of the metabolic processes necessary to spark and sustain animal life would simply not be possible. Long chains of amino acids combine to form up to 55,000 different proteins, and each protein is used to produce the enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hormones that support normal growth and functioning of all bodily organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and sex organs.

There are two types of amino acids: essential amino acids and nonessential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured in the body (you get them by eating foods that contain protein), and nonessential amino acids are manufactured within the body by combining two or more essential amino acids. However, adequate amounts of dietary protein are needed to form all 22 amino acids—if you don’t get enough protein your body won’t have the 9 essential amino acids it needs to make up the other 13 nonessential amino acids.

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