Replaceable and essential amino acids: guidebook

All amino acids can be divided into two categories: replaceable and irreplaceable. The name speaks for itself. Essential (essential) amino acids are an "indispensable" component of the diet. In other words, our body can not synthesize them on its own. Replaceable amino acids are those that, in the process of metabolism, can be created from other amino acids and nutrients coming from food.

Author: Jessica Coy

Amino acids are the most important organic compounds from which protein molecules are formed. In quantitative terms, this is the second chemical component of the human body after water. Amino acids are divided into two groups: replaceable and essential. Essential amino acids can not be synthesized in the human body, and therefore we must necessarily receive them from food. Replaceable amino acids can be obtained by endogenous synthesis, and therefore their presence in food is not vital. However, the name may direct you along the wrong path. Replaceable amino acids are no less important than essential amino acids, and they must also be obtained from external sources, which makes them in some sense irreplaceable. In other words, interchangeable amino acids must necessarily enter our body with food.

As already mentioned, interchangeable amino acids can be synthesized in the process of metabolism from other amino acids and other organic substances. When such a need arises, metabolic processes are switched to creating those amino acids that are currently needed for protein synthesis.

To replaceable amino acids are:

Essential amino acids can not be synthesized by the body, and therefore, in their absence in food, the body begins to use reserve stocks of amino acids, for example, albumins. In the worst case, the need for amino acids is compensated for by muscle tissue – a process that is extremely undesirable for all bodybuilders and representatives of other sports.

Histidine is present in all tissues of the human body. It plays an important role in the formation of red and white blood cells and takes part in the exchange of information between the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. The immune system needs histidine to prevent autoimmune and allergic reactions, and in the stomach with the participation of this amino acid the gastric juice that is necessary for normal digestion is formed. Deficiency of histidine contributes to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Stores of histidine in our body are depleted quickly enough, and therefore we must regularly receive it from external sources.

Histidine is found in meat, dairy products, cereals (wheat, rice, rye).

One of the main amino acids of bodybuilding, because isoleucine is one of the three amino acids BCAA. Izoleucin helps increase physical endurance and accelerates the recovery of muscle tissue, stimulates recovery from training and supports the continuous replenishment of energy.

Good sources of isoleucine are meat products, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, peas and soy.

The second amino acid from the BCAA class, which along with isoleucine and valine plays an important role in the processes of muscle tissue repair. Leucine is more efficient and faster than other amino acids converted to glucose, which stops catabolic processes in muscles during grueling training sessions. He also participates in muscle recovery after microdamaging, regulates blood sugar levels, increases the secretion of growth hormone and promotes fat burning.

Sources leucine: unpolished rice, beans, meat, nuts, soy flour and whole wheat.

This amino acid is known for its antiviral properties. With the participation of lysine, the synthesis of antibodies that strengthen the immune system occurs, lysine is also needed for the formation of hormones that regulate the growth and renewal of bone tissue. Thanks to its antiviral properties, lysine helps treat and / or prevent colds and herpes infection. Also, this amino acid stimulates the production of collagen and muscle protein, which leads to a speedy recovery.

Among the good sources of lysine should be allocated red meat, cheese, eggs, fish, milk, potatoes and yeast.

Helps to recycle and utilize fats. He takes part in the formation of glutathione, cysteine ​​and taurine, which contribute to the neutralization and elimination of toxic substances from the body. Methionine is needed for the synthesis of creatine, a substance that increases the endurance and performance of skeletal muscles. It is extremely important for the synthesis of collagen, which provides a healthy appearance of the skin and nails. People with allergies or arthritis taking this amino acid can help lower the level of histamine in the body.

Sources of methionine: meat, eggs, fish, garlic, beans, lentils, onions, soy, seeds and yogurt.

An indispensable amino acid, essential for the normal operation of the central nervous system. Since phenylalanine easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier, it is successfully used to treat neurological diseases. This amino acid also helps to control the symptoms of depression and chronic pain. Studies have shown that phenylalanine can help in the treatment of vitiligo (white spots of depigmentation on the skin). The intake of phenylalanine can improve memory and concentration, and also improves mood and emotional background. This amino acid is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia, however anyone who wants to take phenylalanine as a food supplement should consult a doctor beforehand. People with hypertension and / or migraine, as well as phenylketonuria, should avoid this amino acid and foods containing it in large quantities. High doses of phenylalanine can cause damage to the nervous tissue.

It is vital for the formation of muscle tissue, collagen and elastin, is involved in the creation of strong bone tissue and teeth (enamel). Stimulates the growth processes and normalizes protein metabolism in the body. It supports almost all body systems: central nervous, cardiovascular and immune. Prevents fatty liver dystrophy.

Given a healthy, balanced diet, threonine deficiency is unlikely, as it is present in dairy products, meat, cereals, mushrooms and green vegetables.

Can be converted to niacin. Used in the synthesis of methionine and serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate blood pressure and respiratory function. Increasing the amount of serotonin in the body leads to calming and improving sleep.

One of the amino acids with branched chains (BCAA). Along with other BCAA promotes normal growth and restoration of tissues. Provides the body with energy, thus preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue, regulates the level of glycemia. Valine is necessary for normal mental activity, participates in the excretion of excess nitrogenous compounds by the liver, if necessary, can be transported to other organs and tissues. Valine can help in the treatment of damage to the liver and brain due to the abuse of alcohol, drugs or drugs. Take this amino acid should be in combination with other BCAA: leucine and isoleucine.

Natural sources of valine: meat, dairy products, mushrooms, peanuts, soy protein.

Used as an energy source, accelerating the conversion of glucose during energy metabolism, and also helps to remove toxins from the liver. Prevents the decomposition of muscle tissue due to the so-called alanine cycle, which can be represented in simplified form as follows: glucose-pyruvate-alanine-pyruvate-glucose. The alanine cycle increases intracellular energy reserves and thereby prolongs cell life. During this cycle, excess nitrogen is removed from the body (urination). Alanine can compensate for symptoms caused by an increase in the prostate gland.

Sources of alanine: meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fish and certain plant products, for example, avocados.

One of the most important amino acids in the human body, which is necessary to maintain the health of joints, liver, skin and muscles. Due to the reducing properties it can be used by people suffering from arthritis and other joint diseases. Strengthens the immune system by increasing the formation of T-lymphocytes. Participates in the synthesis of creatine and nitrogen metabolism, which is of enormous importance for every bodybuilder. Also helps to reduce the proportion of fat tissue in the body and accelerates the healing of damaged tissues. Although arginine is formed in the body, the possibility of taking amino acids with food supplements should be considered for people suffering from infection or burns, as well as people who want to reduce body weight, strengthen the immune system or gain muscle mass.

Natural sources of arginine: meat, dairy products, wheat, chocolate, coconut, gelatin, oats, peanuts, soy and walnuts.

Closely related to aspartic acid, is necessary for the work of the nervous system, in addition, our body uses this amino acid to synthesize ammonia.

Asparagine can be found in products of animal and vegetable origin: beef, poultry meat, whey, eggs, fish, dairy products, asparagus, potatoes, nuts, seeds, whole grains.

Aspartic acid, also known as L-aspartate

It promotes the improvement of metabolic processes and takes part in the synthesis of other amino acids, in particular, arginine, lysine and isoleucine. Aspartic acid is of great importance for the synthesis of cellular energy, as it takes part in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a universal fuel that provides energy to all intracellular processes. Supports the nervous system by increasing the concentration of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), a substance that stimulates the production of neurotransmitters and other compounds necessary for normal brain function.

Aspartic acid can be synthesized in the body, and among its sources should be called poultry meat, dairy products, beef and sugar cane.

Contained in beta-keratin – the main structural protein of the skin, nails and hair. Cysteine ​​is best digested as N-acetyl cysteine ​​(NAC). Cysteine ​​can be effective in the treatment of cancer, bronchitis, a smoker's cough, cardiac pathology and septic shock.

This amino acid is formed in the body, but it can also be obtained from meat, eggs, broccoli, onions, garlic and red pepper.

Glutamic acid, also known as glutamate

The most important exciting neurotransmitter of the brain and spinal cord. It plays a key role in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, participates in the transport of potassium to the cerebrospinal fluid and through the blood-brain barrier. The brain can use glutamic acid as a fuel. Can be converted into glutamine or GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).

Helps create and maintain muscles and remove toxins from the liver. Can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and, after conversion into glutamic acid, act as a fuel for the brain. It can also increase the level of GABA. Glutamine is the most important source of energy for the nervous system. L-glutamine preparations are used mainly in bodybuilding, but against the background of taking glutamine people also note a general surge of strength and an improvement in the emotional background. Glutamine is formed by amination (attachment of amino group) glutamic acid, which helps to remove toxic ammonia from the liver – nitrogen does not convert to ammonia.

Glutamine also helps to transport nitrogen to other organs and tissues, especially muscles, where it helps to increase glycogen stores. This is of great importance in preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue. Up to 60% of amino acids contained in the muscles are accounted for by glutamine. Glutamine is also important for the immune system and can help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue and scleroderma.

Glutamine is found in many foods, but it quickly degrades during cooking. Parsley and spinach in its raw form are excellent sources of this amino acid.

This amino acid helps build muscle tissue, participates in the conversion of glucose into energy and increases the level of creatine, which contributes to the collection of muscle mass. Collagen approximately at 30% consists of glycine. In fact, without this amino acid the body can not heal wounds and other tissue damage.

Excellent sources of glycine are high-protein foods, for example, fish, meat, milk, beans or cheese.

Proline is needed for the formation of collagen and cartilaginous tissue. It stimulates the synthesis of collagen, which in turn promotes cartilage remodeling, and therefore can be useful for people suffering from injuries and joint diseases. This amino acid accelerates the healing process and is successfully used in the recovery period after injuries, for example, after burns.

Good sources of proline are meat, dairy products and eggs. Vegetarians should consider taking this amino acid with food supplements.

The main function of serine is to maintain the normal functioning of the brain and the central nervous system. Proteins of the nervous tissue and its protective cells contain this amino acid. She also takes part in the synthesis of serotonin, a chemical compound that has a significant effect on mood. In addition, serine is involved in the metabolism of fats and fatty acids and promotes the absorption of creatine.

Meat, dairy products, wheat (gluten), soy and peanuts are examples of good sources of this amino acid.

This amino acid promotes normal functioning of the whole organism. Tyrosine helps to control appetite, and its deficiency is fraught with a decrease in blood pressure, slowing of metabolic processes and increased fatigue. In addition, tyrosine promotes the formation of neurotransmitters, which has a great influence on the interaction of the human body with the environment.

Amino acids are of great importance for the work of the body. Nutritional supplements may be useful, but sometimes their administration leads to side effects, and therefore be sure to consult a qualified specialist before starting taking amino acid preparations. This is very important, because hidden health problems can worsen when taking amino acids. In addition, some of these amino acids are formed in the body, and many amino acids come with food, and therefore it is important to determine whether an additional influx of these nutrients is really necessary. It should be noted that amino acids are sold without a prescription and are generally considered safe.


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