Everyone can benefit from amino acid supplements, not just athletes. You might be wondering how an amino acid can improve your life. To begin, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which is a major component of every single cell in the body. Proteins provide the structure and support our cells need. Think of proteins as everyday heroes that do a little bit of everything. They keep us alive, healthy, and energetic.
Amino acids are essential to everything we do.
There are hundreds of amino acids in the body but only 20 are extremely common. Here are five of the most helpful ones.
Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the human body and serves as an important energy source as a provider of fuel in the form of nitrogen and carbon. Maybe you just had an operation? Then, glutamine is the go-to amino acid. Maybe you recently suffered a burn, a tissue injury, or broken bone? If so, Glutamine is vital here as well.
Glutamine plays a crucial role in fracture healing, wound healing, and the synthesis of new structural bone protein1. It also boosts our immune system which makes it the perfect amino acid that the body needs in times of physical stress or trauma.
Taurine is an amino acid for the heart. Studies show that it may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease2. As a conditionally essential amino acid, taurine is found in its highest amounts in the brain, retina (eye), and muscle tissue1. From food sources, you’ll find taurine in things like meat, fish, and dairy products.
Taurine can have a significant impact on the cardiovascular system. A 2008 study found that taking taurine regularly may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat found in blood)2. In high amounts, it raises the risk of heart disease. Researchers monitored individuals that took 2 grams of taurine three times a day. After four months, they saw lower levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides as compared to those that didn’t take extra taurine2.
Arginine is an amino acid that relaxes the arteries, helps the kidneys remove waste products from the body, and maintains our immune function3. It also acts as a vasodilator which means that it helps to dilate the blood vessels in our body3. Because of this trait, Arginine is used as a supplement for heart conditions and to lower high blood pressure4.
L-arginine has also been shown to stimulate wound healing1. In clinical studies, patients given arginine supplementation after major surgery experienced a faster recovery and fewer infectious complications1.
Sleep is a basic life process that greatly affects our health and serine may be just the amino acid to help. The effects of sleep disturbance or sleep deprivation can increase the risk of having a stroke, diabetes, or even depression5. Furthermore, the knock-on effects of sleep deprivation can potentially lead to high blood pressure and obesity6. However, a study carried out by researchers in Japan suggests that intake of serine (before going to bed) can improve subjective sleep quality among people who are dissatisfied with their sleep6.
As a non-essential amino acid, you’ll find serine in things like
- meat, and
Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning that although it is necessary for human health, our bodies cannot make it. Consequently, we have to consume lysine-rich foods like meat, fish, nuts, or supplements. Lysine appears to help the body absorb calcium1, and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones, tendons, and cartilage7.
Lysine is also thought to help boost athletic performance and many athletes use lysine as a protein supplement to help muscle tissue recover from stress8.
Glutamine, taurine, arginine, serine, and lysine make up a pretty powerful group of amino acids. Between them, they’re helping take care of our heart, immune system, skin, bones, exercise performance, and sleep. Take a moment to make sure that your diet is rich in these amino acids. It’s worth the effort. Furthermore, if you cannot consume a varied diet then consider adding amino acid supplements to get the full benefits.
Ask your doctor about how amino acids can improve your life and health. As made evident above, amino acids can have an impact on most health conditions.