Chapter 16

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the end products of protein digestion (hydrolysis).

They are the chemical units or "building blocks" of the body, and are responsible for the production of proteins. Protein substances make up the muscles, tendons, organs, glands, nails, and hair, and are responsible for the growth, repair and maintenance of all cells. Except for water, protein makes up the greatest portion of our body weight.

It is the amino acids, not the protein, that are the essential nutrients for our body. Each amino acid has a specific function in the body. Some amino acids act as neurotransmitters, some amino acids work in the process of carrying information from one nerve cell to another, while others are a precursor (comes before) of neurotransmitters.

Certain amino acids are necessary for the brain to receive and send messages. The blood-brain barrier is part of all of this. The blood-brain barrier is a defensive shield that is designed to protect the brain from toxins and other foreign invaders that are circulating in the blood stream. The cells in the brain that make up certain blood vessels are more tightly meshed together. This prevents water-based substances from getting through. Certain amino acids can get through this barrier and the brain will then use these amino acids to communicate with nerve cells in other parts of the body.

Amino acids have a direct relation with vitamins and minerals. They enable them to perform their specific jobs properly. Even if vitamins and minerals are absorbed by the body they cannot be effective unless the necessary amino acids are present. (For example, the amino acid tyrosine is necessary for the regulation of iron. Low levels of tyrosine will create iron deficiency).


     There are twenty-eight commonly known amino acids.

     Amino acids are defined as essential amino acids and nonessential amino acids.

     Amino Acids that must be obtained from the diet are called "Essential Amino Acids"

     The 20 percent of the amino acids not produced by the liver are obtained from the diet.

     Amino Acids that the body can manufacture from other sources are called "Non-Essential Amino Acids." (Nonessential does not mean that those amino acids are not needed but rather that the body can synthesize them.)

     The term nonessential amino acid means; an amino acid that can be manufactured by the body as needed and do not need to be obtained by our diet.

     The liver produces about 80 percent of the amino acids that we need.

     If one amino acid is too low or depleted, the body will not function proper


                                         9 Essential Amino Acids 












                                                                  TRYPTOPHAN (Essential Amino Acid)

A natural relaxant helps alleviate insomnia by inducing normal sleep; reduces anxiety & depression; helps in the treatment of migraine headaches; helps the immune system; helps reduce the risk of artery & heart spasms; works with Lysine in reducing cholesterol levels. Tryptophan is a routine constituent of most protein-based foods or dietary proteins

LYSINE (Essential Amino Acid)


Insures the adequate absorption of calcium; helps form collagen ( which makes up bone cartilage & connective tissues); aids in the production of antibodies, hormones & enzymes. Recent studies have shown that Lysine may be effective against herpes by improving the balance of nutrients that reduce viral growth. A deficiency may result in tiredness, inability to concentrate, irritability, bloodshot eyes, retarded growth, and hair loss, anemia & reproductive problems.


METHIONINE (Essential Amino Acid)


Is a principle supplier of sulfur which prevents disorders of the hair, skin and nails; helps lower cholesterol levels by increasing the liver's production of lecithin; reduces liver fat and protects the kidneys; a natural chelating agent for heavy metals; regulates the formation of ammonia and creates ammonia-free urine which reduces bladder irritation; influences hair follicles and promotes hair growth


    PHENYLALAINE (Essential Amino Acid)


Used by the brain to produce Norepinephrine, a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells and the brain; keeps you awake & alert; reduces hunger pains; functions as an antidepressant and helps improve memory



THREONINE (Essential Amino Acid)

Is an important constituent of collagen, Elastin, and enamel protein; helps prevents fat build-up in the liver; helps the digestive and intestinal tracts function more smoothly; assists metabolism and assimilation

VALINE (Essential Amino Acid)


Promotes mental vigor, muscle coordination and calm emotions.

It has a stimulating effect and is needed for muscle metabolism, repair and growth of tissue and maintaining the nitrogen balance in the body.


LEUCINE & ISOLEUCINE (Essential Amino Acid)


They provide ingredients for the manufacturing of other essential biochemical components in the body, some of which are utilized for the production of energy, stimulants to the upper brain and helping you to be more alert


                                          HISTIDINE   (ESSENTIAL AMINO ACID)

Is found abundantly in hemoglobin; has been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, ulcers and anemia; is essential for the growth and repair of tissues; important for the maintenance of the myelin sheaths, which protect nerve cells; is needed for the production of both red and white blood cells; protects the body from radiation damage; lowers blood pressure, aids in the removal of heavy metals from the body; aids in sexual arousal.  


13 Non-Essential Amino Acids






                                            GLUTAMIC ACID  


                                             ASPARTIC ACID

                                        CYSTEINE & CYSTINE  









ARGININE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)


Studies have shown that is has improved immune responses to bacteria, viruses & tumor cells; promotes wound healing and regeneration of the liver; causes the release of growth hormones; considered crucial for optimal muscle growth and tissue repair


TYROSINE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)


Transmits nerve impulses to the brain; helps overcome depression; Improves memory; increases mental alertness; promotes the healthy functioning of the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands.


GLYCINE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)


Helps trigger the release of oxygen to the energy requiring cell-making process; Important in the manufacturing of hormones responsible for a strong immune system.


SERINE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)

A storage source of glucose by the liver and muscles; helps strengthen the immune system by providing antibodies; synthesizes fatty acid sheath around nerve fibers


GLUTAMIC ACID (Non-Essential Amino Acid)


Considered to be nature's "Brain food" by improving mental capacities; helps speed the healing of ulcers; gives a "lift" from fatigue; helps control alcoholism, schizophrenia and the craving for sugar.


ASPARTIC ACID (Non-Essential Amino Acid)


Aids in the expulsion of harmful ammonia from the body. When ammonia enters the circulatory system it acts as a highly toxic substance which can be harmful to the central nervous system. Recent studies have shown that Aspartic Acid may increase resistance to fatigue and increase endurance.


TAURINE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)

Helps stabilize the excitability of membranes, which is very important in the control of epileptic seizures. Taurine and sulfur are considered to be factors necessary for the control of many biochemical changes that take place in the aging process; aids in the clearing of free radical wastes




  Functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in detoxifying harmful toxins, protecting against radiation damage and pollution; protects the liver and brain from damage due to alcohol, drugs, and toxic compounds found in cigarette smoke; has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and hardening of the arteries; promotes the recovery from severe burns and surgery; it can help slow down the aging process, it promotes the burning of fat and the building of muscle; deactivate free radicals, neutralize toxins; aids in protein synthesis and presents cellular change. It is necessary for the formation of the skin, which aids in the recovery from burns and surgical operations. Hair and skin are made up 10-14% Cystine


HISTIDINE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)


Is found abundantly in hemoglobin; has been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, allergic diseases, ulcers & anemia. A deficiency can cause poor hearing.


PROLINE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)

Is extremely important for the proper functioning of joints and tendons; also helps maintain and strengthen heart muscles.

ALANINE (Non-Essential Amino Acid)

Is an important source of energy for muscle tissue, the brain and central nervous system; strengthens the immune system by producing antibodies; helps in the metabolism of sugars and organic acids




The most abundant amino acid found in muscles; helps build and maintain muscle tissue; helps prevent muscle wasting that can accompany prolonged bed rest or diseases such as cancer and AIDS; a "brain fuel" that increases brain function and mental activity; assists in maintaining the proper acid/alkaline balance in the body; promotes a healthy digestive tract; shortens the healing time of ulcers and alleviates fatigue, depression and impotence; decreases sugar cravings and the desire for alcohol; recently used in the treatment of schizophrenia and senility. 




Helps to prompt the release of growth hormones, which promotes the metabolism of excess body fat (this effect is enhanced if combined with Arginine and Carnitine); is necessary for a healthy immune system; detoxifies ammonia and aids in liver regeneration; stimulates insulin secretion and helps insulin work as an anabolic (muscle building) hormone.  




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