Amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, benefit the body in more than just a dozen ways. Composed of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, these organic compounds are precisely needed by the body for growth and proper functioning. While the body needs at least 20 different types of amino acids, only 9 of them are called essential amino acids, meaning that the body requires them more and in larger quantities.
Nonetheless, this is not to mean that nonessential amino acids are any less important. Heidi from EHC says that while l arginine and l citrulline are nonessential amino acids, they’re vital in ensuring a healthy blood pressure and promoting heart health, among other functions. This is why many healthcare professionals recommend them as supplements to their patients. In general, however, here are a few benefits of amino acids to your health.
1. Boost Immunity
The need to consume foods rich in amino acids can never be underestimated, the reason being that amino acids are highly involved in almost every process for our bodies to function normally. Therefore, it will be crucial to ensure we consume foods that are rich in amino acids like lean white and red meats, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds, etc. The white blood cells are the war soldiers in our bodies, helping to combat diseases and infections. As they can be converted to nitric oxide, amino acids normally provide the much-required energy to mount this attack. You cannot fight an enemy with an empty rifle, can you? You need the bullets. Amino acids help the white blood cells to increase and multiply to the levels required to fight off infections. The lack of amino acids in the body, especially the branched amino acids, can easily impair your immune system and weaken your immunity.
2. Fat Burning
According to research, amino acids may also help stimulate fat loss. This is especially the case for branched-chain amino acids. Supplements of amino acids are especially recommended for athletes and highly active persons to help in boosting performance and maintaining muscle strength. In athletes, they also help increase tolerance to pain, and decrease muscle soreness during routine exercise, aiding the individual to push further during training.
3. Preventing Muscle Loss
The term amino acid has become common in both the health and the fitness industries, you might be wondering why. Well, one of the reasons is that they help in preventing muscle loss, a common side effect associated with prolonged illnesses and bed rest, especially in mature adults. Essential amino acids have been shown to help prevent muscle breakdown, conserving lean body mass. They have also proven useful in sarcopenia, a condition associated with the loss of muscle mass, muscle weakness, reduced mobility, and heightened susceptibility to injury. Recent studies have shown that amino acid supplements like leucine can be useful for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia.
4. Production of Hormones
Hormones are the molecules that signal the body to respond to any form of stimulus. Amino acids are very critical in the production and release of certain hormones in the body. Hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, thyroxine, and melatonin can all be affected by the levels of certain amino acids in the body. Amino acids like arginine and lysine have also been shown to trigger the release of growth hormones. This is not to forget that lysine plays a major role in muscle development and protein synthesis, as well as the creation of hormones and enzymes in the body. Lysine also helps the body in absorbing calcium, accelerates energy production, and strengthens the immune response.
5. Promoting Healthy Skin
Lately, the majority of people are struggling to keep healthy and look younger. Well, Amino acids have become skincare heroes since they have many surprising benefits to the skin. Different amino acids have different roles in skin health, including maintaining the skin’s hydration, texture, resilience, and healthy appearance. Amino acids are, therefore, very essential in maintaining healthy beautiful skin. This is why most of the skincare products contain amino acid supplements, which help in improving skin appearance. They also work as antioxidants and help in skin tightening. Amino acids like Arginine, histidine, and lysine have been shown to help in restoring visible skin damage, soothing the skin with the help of antioxidants, and protecting the skin from harmful substances.
In conclusion, amino acids are vital to human health. From growth to energy production, metabolism, immune responses, and nutrient absorption, they influence a wide range of functions in the body. Always ensure that the foods you eat have been enriched by amino acids. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor about amino acid supplements in case you are not sure you’re getting enough from your diet.
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