Amino acids – what is it, sources and benefits

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins . You may not be an athlete training for the next Olympics . Neither of them could compete with their national bodybuilding championship among their priorities.

But you still need amino acids . They improve your mood, concentration, physical health, sleep and various other physiological phenomena. Which is what we are going to discuss in this post. Keep reading.

What are amino acids? What they do?

Simply put, these are organic compounds that combine to form proteins . When the protein you take in is broken down by the body, amino acids are left behind. The body then uses them to make protein and help the body repair tissue, grow, and perform various other bodily functions.

Health benefits of amino acids:

1. Fight inflammation:

Studies have shown that orally administered amino acids have anti-inflammatory activity. And there’s another study that talks about how branched-chain proteins (BCAA’s), which include valine, leucine, and isoleucine, can also help fight inflammation.

2. Boost muscle growth:

Arginine is an amino acid that, according to studies, stimulates lean body mass and strength. BCAAs are the main building blocks of muscle – they help in the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Arginine improves blood flow to the muscles. Glutamine increases water retention in muscles and signals cell growth.

3. Reduce fatigue:

A Swedish study shows that taking BCAAs can reduce physical exertion and mental fatigue and even improve post-exercise cognitive performance.

Amino acids also help improve sleep, and this can help reduce fatigue the next morning. Another study shows how tryptophan can help relieve fatigue caused by different levels of stress. So if you want to reduce fatigue and improve your stamina levels, they can be a safe bet.

4. Promote weight loss:

Research shows that amino acids can increase fat loss. They can improve muscle synthesis and lead to healthy fat loss as a consequence. BCAAs have also been shown to suppress appetite, and this may also contribute to weight loss. This can also mean a reduced risk of obesity.

5. Increase immunity levels:

Dietary amino acid supplementation has been shown to improve immunity status and prevent infectious diseases.

Among these glutamine seems to have the upper hand. It is recognized as a potent immune nutrient as it can improve immune function to a great extent. There are several studies that support its importance in clinical nutrition.

According to another Cambridge University press report, metabolism holds great promise in boosting immune function. More importantly, they can also boost your energy levels and speed up wound healing.

6. Improve cognitive health:

The amino acid tyrosine has been found to have beneficial effects on cognitive performance – even more so during exposure to high levels of stress. And tryptophan has been found to improve brain function.

Research also tells us that supplements containing amino acids can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety as they are converted into mood-boosting neurotransmitters.

7. It can slow down aging:

Amino acid supplementation may play a role in preventing (and treating) sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle tissue due to aging. Arginine and carnitine help repair damaged DNA and promote skin firmness.

8. Promote hair growth:

Your hair is made of amino acids , which is why it makes sense to believe that they can promote hair growth. While they are not a miracle potion, they certainly encourage stronger, thicker hair growth.

Amino acids particularly beneficial for hair growth include arginine, lysine, cysteine ​​and methionine. They work by producing keratin, the most important protein for hair. They also create red blood cells, which provide more oxygen to the hair follicles and promote hair growth.

Food sources of amino acids:

The following are the main food groups that contain the most amino acids :

1. Animal proteins:

These are also called complete proteins . They include beef, pork, chicken, turkey and eggs. Even dairy products like milk , cheese and yogurt contain amino acids . But be sure to choose lean meats (low fat or no fat).

2. Seafood:

These include fish like salmon, halibut and tuna. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids that have great benefits.

3. Nuts, legumes and seeds:

These are incomplete proteins , as no specific food contains all the essential amino acids (unlike animal proteins ). But consuming a combination of nuts, vegetables, and seeds can help. Some of these foods include soy, lentils, chickpeas, beans, black beans, almonds and walnuts.

5. Whole Grains:

Quinoa is a food in this group that contains all the essential amino acids and is therefore a complete protein . Other foods include whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, and long-grain rice .

Useful links: 

Include these foods in your regular diet and you’re good to go. You can also include whey protein ( if you exercise) after consulting your doctor, nutritionist or trainer.

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