Amino acids

Amino acids, or aminocarbic acids, are organic compounds whose molecules are amine and carboxyl groups.

General characteristics

Amino acids are usually crystalline substances with a sweet aftertaste, which can be obtained in the process of hydrolysis of proteins or as a result of certain chemical reactions. These solid, water-soluble crystals are characterized by a very high melting point — about 200-300 degrees Celsius. Amino acids serve as “precursors” of a number of polyamides: proteins, caprone, nylon, enanth, peptides. They are a component of sports nutrition, and some of the amino acids have been used as additives in the food industry.

Although the name “acid” is present in the name of these substances, their properties are more like salt, although according to the specific structure of the molecule, they may have acidic and basic abilities at the same time. And that means – equally effective with acids and alkalis.

Most amino acids come in two forms:

The first are characterized by optical activity and are found in nature. Amino acids of this form are important for the health of the body. D-substances are found in bacteria, play the role of neurotransmitters in the organisms of some mammals.

In nature, there are 20 so-called standard, proteinogenic amino acids. They actually constitute the polypeptide chain containing the genetic code. In recent years, science has started talking about the need to expand the amino acid “family”, and some researchers complement this list with 2 substances – selenocysteine ​​and pyrrolysine.

Amino acids in the human body

20 percent of the human body consists of proteins that are involved in almost all biochemical processes, and amino acids are the “building material” for them. Most cells and tissues of the human body are composed of amino acids, which play a key role in the transportation and storage of nutrients.

These organic compounds are necessary for the synthesis of hormones, pigments, vitamins, purines. Interestingly, in nature, only plants and some microorganisms are able to synthesize all kinds of amino acids. But people (and animals) reserves of some essential for the life of amino acids can only be obtained from food. Based on their ability to synthesize, these useful substances are divided into 2 groups:

  • irreplaceable (the body receives only from food);
  • replaceable (produced in the human body).

The essential amino acids are: arginine, valine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, phenylalanine.

Replaceable amino acids: alanine, asparagine, aspartate, glycine, glutamine, glutamate, proline, serine, tyrosine, cysteine.

And despite the fact that the body is able to synthesize arginine and histidine, these amino acids are also among the essential, as often there is a need to supplement their reserves from food. The same can be said about tyrosine, which can go from its group of replaceable substances to the list of irreplaceable, if the body feels a lack of phenylalanine.

Popular classifications

In the scientific world for the systematization of amino acids using different parameters. There are several classifications used for these substances. As already noted, distinguished and essential amino acids are distinguished. Meanwhile, this classification does not reflect the objective degree of importance of each of these substances, since all amino acids are significant for the human body.

Other most popular classifications:

  1. Given the radicals, amino acids are divided into:
  • non-polar (alanine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine, proline, tryptophan, phenylalanine);
  • polar uncharged (asparagine, glutamine, serine, tyrosine, threonine, cysteine);
  • polar with a negative charge (aspartate, glutamate);
  • polar with a positive charge (arginine, lysine, histidine).
  1. Given the functionality of the group:
  • aromatic (histidine, tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine);
  • heterocyclic (histidine, proline, tryptophan);
  • aliphatic (in turn create several more subgroups);
  • iminoacid (proline).
  1. Given the biosynthetic family of amino acids:
  • pentose family;
  • pyruvate family;
  • aspartate family;
  • serine family;
  • the glutamate family;
  • shikimat family.
  1. According to a different classification, 5 types of amino acids are distinguished:
  • sulfur (cysteine, methionine);
  • neutral (asparagine, serine, threonine, glutamine);
  • acidic (glutamic acid, aspartic acid) and basic (arginine, lysine);
  • aliphatic (leucine, isoleucine, glycine, valine, alanine);
  • aromatic (phenylalanine, tryptophan, tyrosine).

In addition, there are substances whose biological properties are very similar to amino acids, although in fact they are not. A good example is taurine, called an amino acid, not quite right.

Amino Acids for Bodybuilders

Bodybuilders also have their own amino acid classification. In sports nutrition, 2 types of nutrients are used: free amino acids and hydrolysates. The first include glycine, glutamine, arginine, which are characterized by a maximum speed of transportation. The second group is proteins that are split down to the level of amino acids. Such substances are absorbed by the body much faster than ordinary proteins, which means that the muscles get their “portion” of proteins faster.

Also for bodybuilders irreplaceable amino acids are of particular importance. They are important for maintaining the shape of muscle tissue. And since the body is not able to synthesize them independently, it is important for bodybuilders to include a large amount of meat and dairy products, soy and eggs in the diet. In addition, those wishing to increase muscle resorted to supplements containing amino acids.

For health and beauty

Apart from the fact that amino acids play an important role in the synthesis of enzymes and proteins, they are important for the health of the nervous and muscular systems, for the production of hormones, and also for maintaining the structure of all cells in the body.

And for bodybuilders, amino acids are one of the most significant substances, as they contribute to the restoration of the body. Being the basis for proteins, amino acids are indispensable substances for beautiful muscles. These useful elements help to make training more effective, and after classes relieve pain. As dietary supplements, they prevent the destruction of muscle tissues and are an ideal complement to a protein diet. The functions of amino acids also include burning fat and suppressing excessive appetite.

Daily need: to whom and how much

Daily dosages are determined separately for each amino acid, based on the needs and characteristics of the organism. Meanwhile, the average figures fluctuate between 0,5 and 2 g per day.

To increase the level of consumption of amino acid complexes is important for people who are professionally involved in sports, as well as for a time of increased physical activity, intensive mental work, during and after illness. The correct balance of amino acids is important for children during growth.

Daily allowances for amino acid complex for bodybuilders range from 5 to 20 g substance for a single dose. Meanwhile, combining the intake of these nutrients with sports nutrition, it is important to know some rules. The effectiveness of amino acids (the rate of absorption) is significantly reduced if used together with food or its substitutes, proteins or geiners.

At the same time, people with genetic diseases (who violate the assimilation of amino acids) should not exceed the recommended daily intake. Otherwise, protein food can cause disruption in the gastrointestinal tract, allergies. In addition, diabetics, people with liver diseases, or those suffering from deficiencies of certain enzymes are at risk of developing an amino acid imbalance.

Consuming protein foods, it should be remembered that amino acids from egg whites, fish, cottage cheese and lean meat are absorbed the fastest. And for more intensive absorption of nutrients, nutritionists advise to properly combine products. Milk, for example, is combined with white bread or buckwheat, and proteins from cottage cheese or meat make up a “pair” with flour products.

Cause of hormonal problems

The lack of any beneficial substances, as a rule, affects health. Reduced immunity, anemia and lack of appetite – a signal of a serious imbalance of nutrients. Inadequate intake of amino acids causes hormonal disorders, confusion, irritability and depression. In addition, weight loss, skin problems, dysplasia, and drowsiness also suggest an amino acid deficiency.

Excess

Excess amino acids, as well as a lack of nutrients, leads to disruption of the body. True, most of the negative effects of an excess of amino acids are possible only with vitamin A, E, C, B hypovitaminosis, as well as selenium deficiency.

Excessive use of histidine is almost always a disease of the joints, gray hair at an early age, aortic aneurysm. Excessive tyrosine causes hypertension, a dysfunction of the thyroid gland. Methionine in high doses is a heart attack or stroke.

Where to look for essential amino acids

Most food products (mainly protein foods) contain about 20 amino acids, of which 10 are indispensable.

Meanwhile, the list of these useful substances is much broader: there are approximately hundreds of amino acids in nature approximately 2. And most of them are necessary for a healthy life. Some of these elements are active components of sports nutrition, dietary supplements, medications, and are also used as additives to animal feed.

Almost complete complex of essential amino acids contain:

  • pumpkin seeds;
  • pistachios;
  • cashew;
  • peas;
  • potatoes;
  • asparagus;
  • buckwheat;
  • soybeans;
  • lentils.

Other useful sources of amino acids are eggs, milk, meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken), fish (cod, pike-perch), different types of cheese.

Interaction with other substances

Water-soluble amino acids are perfectly combined with ascorbic acid, vitamins A, E and substances of group B. In a complex, they are able to bring many times more benefits. This nuance is important to consider when making a menu of foods rich in vitamins and healthy nutrients.

Amino Acid Supplements

Bodybuilders actively use amino acids as nutritional supplements. There are several forms of release of these nutrients: tablets, capsules, powders, solutions and even intravenous injections.

The time and frequency of taking amino acids as a dietary supplement depends on the goal. If the drug is taken as an aid to gaining muscle mass, then it is necessary to drink amino acids before and after exercise, as well as in the morning. And if the drug in the first place should play the role of a fat burner, it is worth to drink it more often (how often it is indicated in the instructions for use).

How to choose amino acids

Amino acids in the form of bioactive additives to sports nutrition, as a rule, the pleasure is not cheap. And in order not to throw money away to the wind it is important to check the quality of the goods before buying First of all, you should pay attention to the shelf life and quality of packaging, the substance and color should be fully consistent with the description. In addition, most amino acids dissolve in water and have a bitter aftertaste.

Essential Amino Acids: Comparative Table

Amino acidApplicationDosage (as a supplement for athletes)Overdose;

Deficit

Sources of
GistidinTreats arthritis, nervous deafness, improves digestion, is necessary for babies and children during growth8-10 mg per 1 kg of weight (minimum 1 g per day)Mental disorders, anxiety, schizophrenia, exposure to stress;

Unknown.

Dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, rice, rust, wheat, apples, pomegranates, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dandelion, chicory, garlic, radishes, spinach, turnips
lysineTreats herpes, adds energy, promotes the production of muscle protein, fights fatigue, maintains nitrogen balance in the body, is important for the absorption and preservation of calcium, promotes the formation of collagen12 mg per 1 kg of weightIncreased cholesterol, diarrhea, gallstones;

Violation of the production of enzymes, weight loss, decreased appetite, deterioration of concentration.

Cheese, eggs, milk, beans, potatoes, meat, yeast, soybeans, salad, tofu, apples, apricots, grapes, papaya, pears, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dandelion greens, parsley, spinach, turnips
phenylalanineTreats depression, arthritis, nervous disorders, convulsions, relieves tension in muscles, is important for the production of neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin1 mg per 1 kg of weightHigh blood pressure, migraines, nausea, impaired functioning of the heart and nervous system. Not recommended for pregnant women and diabetics;

Drowsiness, weakness, growth retardation, impaired liver function.

Dairy products, almonds, nuts, seeds, avocados, soybeans, sesame, beans, spinach, apples, pineapples, beets, carrots, parsley, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast
methionineTreatment of liver, arthritis, depression, accelerates fat metabolism and improves digestion, antioxidant, prevents the accumulation of excess fat in blood vessels and liver, removes toxins12 mg per 1 kg of weightPossible with a deficiency of vitamins of group B. Atherosclerosis;

Fatty degeneration of the liver, growth retardation, lethargy, edema, skin diseases.

Meat, fish eggs, beans, garlic, onions, lentils, sour cream, yogurt, spinach, potatoes, sesame, soybeans, cereals, apples, pineapples, hazelnuts, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, sorrel, horseradish, watercress
leucinePrevents muscle atrophy, a natural anabolic agent, promotes wound healing, and is important for the production of growth hormone16 mg per 1 kg of weightIncreases ammonia levels;

Unknown.

Protein foods, brown rice, beans, nuts, whole grains, wheat, soybean, lettuce, alfalfa seeds, beans, tofu, sesame, avocado, papaya, olives, coconut
IsoleucineHeals wounds, releases growth hormone, regulates blood sugar, is important for the formation of hemoglobin, is responsible for the structure of muscles10-12 mg per 1 kg of weightCauses frequent urination, carefully taken in case of kidney or liver disease;

Unknown.

Eggs, fish, meat, liver, chicken, cashew almonds, lentils, soy products, watercress, chard, spinach, beans, avocados, olives, coconuts
valineRegulates nitrogen balance, restores and promotes muscle growth.16 mg per 1 kg of weightTingling of the skin, hallucinations, is prohibited for people with liver or kidney disease;

Disease “maple syrup”.

Dairy products, meat, cereals, mushrooms, peanuts, soybeans, lettuce, sesame, peas, beans, apples, almonds, pomegranates, beets, carrots, celery, dandelion greens, lettuce, okra, parsley, parsnip, pumpkin, tomatoes, turnips, Brewer’s yeast
threonineImportant for the production of collagen, elastin, antibodies, maintains healthy muscles, stimulates growth, is used to treat the psyche8 mg per 1 kg of weightUnknown;

Irritability, weakened immunity.

Meat and dairy products, eggs, lettuce, soybean, spinach, sesame, sunflower seeds, beans
tryptophanImportant for the production of serotonin and melatonin, essential during growth3,5 mg per 1 kg of weightDizziness, migraine, vomiting, diarrhea;

May cause the development of tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, dementia.

Meat and dairy products, soy products, spinach, sesame, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, beans, oat bran, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, onions, chicory, dill, brewer’s yeast
arginineResponsible for muscle recovery, rapid healing of wounds and injuries, removes toxins, strengthens the immune system0,4 mg per 1 kg of weightDiseases of the pancreas, liver;

Decreased blood pressure, weakness, indigestion.

Pork, chicken, salmon, eggs, milk, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, rice, buckwheat, corn, peas

Replaceable amino acids: meaning for humans

Alanin – is responsible for blood sugar levels.

Asparagine – promotes the functioning of the immune system.

Glutamine – “fuel” for the body at a time of particularly high loads, strengthens memory, enhances attention.

Glycine – “raw materials” for the creation of creatine, is important for maintaining vitality.

Proline – necessary for connective tissue, feeds the body during exercise.

Serine – is important for the nervous system, supplies cells with energy.

Citrulline – removes ammonia from the body.

Taurine – affects the functioning of the nervous system.

Cysteine ​​- helps cleanse the body of toxins and slags, is responsible for hair growth.

Ornithine is essential for fat metabolism.

Amino acids, like vitamins and nutrients, are an important component for maintaining health and strength. Their lack is very sad effect on health. But at the same time there is no need to “plant” the body on amino acids in the form of dietary supplements (of course, if you are not a bodybuilder who dreams of muscle sorrow). It is enough for ordinary people to adhere to proper nutrition, because almost the entire amino acid complex is contained in our daily food.

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