When we look at the subject of amino acids, we quickly come to the conclusion that it is quite extensive knowledge that covers practically all aspects of our lives.The role of amino acids is particularly important from the point of view of trainers, but not only from the point of view of athletes.The key role is metabolic health.Amino acids in our body perform many important functions.These functions are quite diverse, depending on what amino acid we take into account.
For people training the most important information is that individual amino acid configurations build proteins that are very much needed for training people to build the right amount of muscle.
Amino acids can be divided into exogenous and endogenous amino acids.What is the difference between them?How do the individual components of both groups work?What function do they display in our body and where can we take them?Why is it important to consume the right amount of amino acids?In the text below, we will answer all of these questions.
So what are amino acids?
Amino acids known in the art of amino acids, these compounds belong to the organic group, where the characteristic of their structure is that they have a minimum of one basic amino group in the molecule and an acidic hydroxyl group.It is characteristic for them, therefore, that they are both at the same time as bases and acids, because they exhibit this type of activity.
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of all proteins, and 20 of them have a building function.They are also called protein amino acids, which in addition to proline belong to the group of alpha-amino acids.
If there are protein amino acids, then there is also a group of non-protein amino acids. Although they do not build proteins, they show specific physiological functions that are necessary for the proper functioning of the human body.One of the more popular amino acids in the sports world is beta-alanine, which is part of, among others, a strong antioxidant – Coenzyme A.
Amino acids due to the fact that they have a specific chemical structure that resemble the structure of salt, are white crystalline compounds.Their melting temperature is very high and they all dissolve in water.When looking at the possibility of reaction with water, proline is most soluble.At the organoleptic angle, taste, amino acids are usually neutral in taste, reminiscent of a slightly salty or slightly bitter taste.Only tryptophan deserves attention, which is 40 times sweeter than sugar.
How do we divide amino acids?
If we wanted to divide the amino acids that we mentioned in the text in terms of chemical diversity, there would be many possibilities.However, we will focus on their main division, which divides the primary amino acids in the following way
- a) essential amino acids
- b) endogenous amino acids
Endogenous amino acids are those amino acids that the human body can produce itself. This means that taking them with food is not particularly important and there is nothing to focus strongly on this aspect when composing an athlete’s diet.The endogenous amino acid group includes amino acids such as alanine, asparagine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, proline, serine, tyrosine, cystine, citrulline, homoserine, hydroxylysine, hydroxyproline, carnitine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, ornithine and taurine.
Endogenous amino acids are those amino acids that have been given the necessary name. This means that our body is unable to produce them alone, and their delivery to the body with food should be a priority for us when composing a healthy, balanced diet.There are many preparations on the supplementation market that allow you to supplement your diet with this type of amino acids.This group includes phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, valine.
However, there are still amino acids that are considered to be relatively exogenous.These include amino acids such as arginine and histidine.The body of a young person is not able to produce them in the right amount, but an adult person is already able to cover the daily demand for compounds of this type.
Another important division, which was mentioned at the beginning of the text, is the division of amino acids into proteins and non-protein ones.There is also a division that classifies amino acids for their amino group (alpha, beta, gamma), and also because of the polarity of the side chain, which is more useful in the typical science of chemistry.
How do amino acids work and what is their role in the body?
All amino acids that build proteins in the body have a specific role.The most important of them are:
Phenylalanine – is an essential amino acid, which for proteins is the basis of their construction.What’s more, without the proper amount of phenylalanine, depression is possible, hence it is necessary for the proper functioning of the human nervous system.This amino acid is also used to support the pharmacological treatment of eg migraine headaches.In terms of metabolic functions, the amino acid affects how the thyroid and adrenal glands work, responsible for the correct amount of hormones produced by these organs.In terms of quantity, both excess and deficiencies of phenylalanine can be dangerous to health.It is difficult to overdose phenylalanine as soon as we base on a healthy, balanced diet, and the problem is more related to people who suffer from phenylketonuria.Because of this, people have to avoid food products that are a source of phenylalanine.These products include meat, fish, milk, cheese, cereals, and even vegetables and fruits.
Tryptophan – is part of human proteins, therefore belongs to the group of exogenous amino acids.It is part of the serotonin hormone, which is often called the happiness hormone, because its appropriate level is responsible for the well-being and how we feel happy.In the human body undergoes transformations that cause melatonin, which is responsible for how our body functions during the daytime in the context of sleep.The right amount of tryptophan in our body will be responsible for the proper synthesis of such vitamins as niacin or pyridoxine.The best sources of food for tryptophan are bananas and dairy products.Tryptophan deficiencies will lead to lower immunity, higher risk of depression, insomnia or anxiety.
BCAA branched amino acids in their composition include valine, leucine and isoleucine, they form a group of essential amino acids for our body that condition many energy, metabolic changes, as well as those that are more important for the athlete, such as affect the testosterone-cortisol ratio.As they belong to exogenous amino acids, they occur in significant amounts in animal proteins, however, some plant proteins are also rich in BCAAs.Deficiencies associated with the appropriate amount of branched chain amino acids in the diet are very rare, and are usually associated with extreme malnutrition or metabolic disorders that affect the absorption of amino acids in the digestive system.The adult BCAA requirement is about 40 mg per day for 1 kg body weight for leucine, 17-25 mg for valine and about 19 mg for isoleucine.Due to the significant impact on the level of regeneration, people practicing sports appreciate the addition of BCAA in the form of a dietary supplement, which they use okołotreningowo.
Methionine – contains in its composition a sulfur atom.It belongs to the group of exogenous amino acids.The body is responsible, among othersfor the synthesis of choline and lecithin, thanks to which it influences the possibilities of preventing atherosclerotic diseases or fatty liver.The right amount in the diet prevents brittleness of the nails, improves the appearance of the hair (strengthening it and preventing hair loss) or maintains the impeccable condition of the skin.Methionine deficiencies can affect mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.In the diet the best sources of methionine are rice, millet, wheat bran, mushrooms, legumes, fish, meat.
Lysine – the last amino acid on our list, is associated with the use for the production of body proteins.It is the main component of skin proteins, tendons, cartilages or bones.The right amount of lysine will affect the calcium metabolism in our body, helping in its greater absorption in the small intestine.It also strengthens immunity, thanks to which our immune system works more efficiently.Lysine can be found in products such as eggs, poultry, meat, cheese, pods and fish.Its shortages are extremely difficult, and in healthy people who are not on the elimination diet, they are practically non-existent.
What is the use of amino acids?
When looking at amino acids in terms of their chemical diversity, they are found in virtually all food products as well as in many industrial sectors.It will not be surprising that the food industry is the one that is the main element of their occurrence, because it is natural that they build proteins.
Amino acids are also used in cosmetology, being an addition to creams, balms or shampoos, which aim to care for the skin, hair and nails.
On the other hand, amino acids are widely used in sports supplementation.Trainers mainly use here mixtures of BCAA and EAA amino acids, which are used in the period of training.Often, we also supplement with arginine, lysine, alanine and beta-alanine, which aim to increase exercise capacity.
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