What are Amino Acids, What They Do & What are its Health Benefits?

What are Amino Acids?

Human body is constantly involved in different kinds of physiological activities many of which are associated with amino acids. Cell growth, recovery, fat loss, bodybuilding and endurance are all affected by amino acid composition in the body. There are a total of 23 amino acids all of which are essential for molecular composition of protein.

Categories of Amino Acids

Amino acids are divided into subcategories which are:

Essential Amino Acids: These are nine in number and are extremely important. Essential Amino Acids enter our body via the food we eat.

Non-Essential Amino Acids: These are twelve in number and are synthesised by the body from other amino acids.

How Do Amino Acids Work in the Body?

Amino acids are transported to the liver, once they are synthesised within the body. After which, their use depends on the momentary need of the body at that point of time. While some amino acids are taken by the blood stream, others go and form the part of amino acids that have already been synthesised or broken down. Some amino acids are also used in building enzymes used by the liver like lipoproteins and albumin.

While amino acids circulate in the body, every cell makes use of its own DNA print and uses other amino acids to synthesise its own proteins required to carry with its functions. Protein synthesis requires a good supply of both essential as well as non-essential amino acids as even an absence of one could make body functions halt for some time. Sometimes, body does not use the entire amount of amino acids that are available to it. In such cases, amino acids are kept for future use. They are taken back by the liver, where the nitrogen is taken from the amino acids and converted into urea which is excreted by the kidneys. Any remaining amount of amino acids are burned out as energy from glucose and or alternatively stored in the form of glycogen or fat.

While amino acids are extremely important for the body, other nutrients like carbohydrates and fats are equally significant in conjunction with proteins for activities like respiration, circulation and digestion. Deficiency of fat, calories and carbs in the body can make it breakdown not only the food protein, but also the protein contained within liver, muscles and other organs to survive and carry on with its physiological activities.

What are Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCCAs)?

Playing a pivotal role in all life processes, amino acids are absolutely essential to maintain good body metabolism. Branched chain amino acids are a group of amino acids which are directly metabolised in muscular tissue producing energy. If body is supplemented with BCCAs then it does not have to make the effort of breaking down muscle tissues to release energy. Use of Branched Chain Amino Acids help in aiding the process that involves muscular tissue breakdown during exercise, as confirmed by a study conducted at University of Manchester published in its journal.

Among all other functions, most important tasks of branched chain amino acids is to provide a favourable mode of storage for other nutrients like water, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It is surprising to know, but all major chronic health infirmities like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension, insomnia are linked to metabolic disturbances within the body. This is also applicable for hair loss and faster ageing. Hence, it is important to make efforts to ensure that our body is well equipped with sufficient quantities of amino acids in order to maintain healthy and optimal metabolism. Since, the present day diet is highly influenced with adulteration and artificial components, amino acids supplementation is often required to maintain general health and wellbeing.

What are the Health Benefits of Amino Acids?

What are the Health Benefits of Amino Acids?

Health benefits associated with amino acids are high. Though, there are 200 amino acids known to us, only 22 of them in particular are identified as proteinogenic amino acids. We list down the most useful benefits of amino acids which are essential for our wellbeing.

Benefits of Amino Acids in Fighting Arthritis: A group of amino acids called L-arginine and L-methionine work with other nutrients in the body and help to fight arthritis.

Strengthens Immune System: Body has its own resistance mechanism to fight against diseases and amino acids are essential to boost immune system strength.

Benefits of Amino Acids in Strengthening the Muscles: Muscle tissues are made up of proteins which constitute amino acids as their building blocks. L-leucine and Branched Chain Amino Acids in particular are needed for recovery, growth and maintenance.

Weight Loss Benefits of Amino Acids: Branched Chain Amino Acids and L-carnitine work in conjunction to prevent weakening of muscle tissues during long and short term weight loss sessions.

Skin, Hair and Nail Health Benefits of Amino Acids: Amino acids boost skin health, help to fight hair loss and are needed for healthy skin and nail growth.

Boosts Male Fertility: Amino acids like L-cysteine and L-arginine help in improving sperm quality.

Anti-Ageing: Amino acids offer anti-ageing benefits. Proper synthesis of amino acids in the body helps in reducing the oxidative stress from cells thereby helps in slowing down ageing.

Amino Acids are a Natural Cure for Impotency: Pine bark extract and L-arginine are good for blood circulation, which is also known to improve erectile dysfunction thereby improving sexual potency.

Improves Good Mood & Aids Proper Sleep: L-tryptophan is an amino acid which is particularly good for sleep and helps to balance mood and energy levels.

Amino Acids Acts as Natural Anti-Inflammatory: The risk of inflammatory diseases is considerably reduced via proper channelization of amino acids such as L-glutamine, L-glycine and Branched Chain Amino Acids.

Amino Acids Help in Managing Menopause: Amino acids, such as L-arginine, magnesium and phytoestrogens are known to manage menopause by controlling hot flushes.

Benefits of Amino Acids in Curing Tinnitus: Gingko biloba and L-arginine improve blood circulation around the ear thus improving nutrient availability and thereby helping to cure tinnitus.

Balances Cholesterol Levels: There are 3 amino acids that work together to balance cholesterol levels in the body and these are L-carnitine, Taurine and L-arginine.

Regulates Blood Sugar: Amino acids reduce the risk of diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels in the body.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 2, 2017

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