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Amino Acids

Amino Acids

Amino acids

The benefits at glance:

  • components of proteins that support muscle building processes
  • rapid absorption
  • covers the increased demand for amino acids of athletes
  • Some amino acids are essential

1. General information

1.1 The essential task of amino acids in human body

Proteinogenic amino acids (α- amino acids) are the main component of proteins, which in turn are part of many different biomolecules and part of every body cell. After consumption, proteins are first divided into many different building blocks of protein and then, due to digestion, into amino acids. Therefore, protein consists of amino acids that are connected with each other. This is the reason why amino acids are also called building blocks of life.

Amino acids build the basis for a healthy and well-functioning organism. Amino acids  take part in a wide range of functional processes within human organism :

  • development of many hormones and enzymes
  • renewing and repairing of cells
  • bone regeneration
  • development of blood protein and immune cells

2. What kind of amino acids do exist?

2.1. Proteinogenic amino acids

There are about 20 so called proteinogenic amino acids that can be consumed via nutrition. In nature amino acids do only exist in a D- or  L- form. Proteinogenic amino acids contain only amino acids in L-form. Amino acids in D- form do not exist in protein.

2.1.1. Essential amino acids

a) Essential amino acids :

  • L-leucine
  • L-isoleucine
  • L-valine
  • L-methionine
  • L-tryptophan
  • L-threonine
  • L-lysine
  • L-phenylalanine

Amino acids can be divided into essential, semi-essential and non-essential amino acids. Eight of these amino acids are considered to be essential. This means that they are indispensable amino acids. These essential amino acids cannot be built by the body itself and have to be consumed via nutrition. Following essential amino acids exist:

L-leucine

 L-isoleucine, L-valine and L-leucine belong to branched chain amino acids (see section b).  L-leucine is part of certain proteins and appears to take part in the development of certain tissue structures.

L-Isoleucine

L-Isoleucine is component of proteins that are important for the metabolism of muscle cells.

L-valine

This amino acid can be found in nearly every protein within the human body. Proteins contribute to a well working energy metabolism and take part in the regulation of the blood sugar level.

L-methionine

L-methionine is important for a wide range of metabolic processes. A necessary requirement for this process is the reaction of the amino acid adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to S-adenosyl methionine (SaM). By submitting the methyl numerous endogenous substances can be synthesized, for example, the hormone adrenaline, L-carnitine and creatine.

L-tryptophan

Not only is tryptophan part of the muscle, but it is also contained in many enzymes. This amino acid is a precursor of vitamin B3. In this context it is termed as provitamin and involved in important metabolic processes. Together with various enzymes L-tryptophan is converted into serotonin, which is a tissue hormone and neurotransmitter and can affect the regulation of blood pressure in the cardiovascular system. In addition, serotonin has as messenger in the brain various functions and is the feedstock for melatonin, another important hormone, which is said to regulate the sleep-wake rhythm.

L-Threonine

A persistent lack of the amino acid threonine can lead to fatigue and listlessness. Threonine is a central component of proteins - for example the collagen in the connective tissue. It assists the body in building bones and may contribute to the formation of antibodies. Adequate intake of magnesium, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6 may increase the effectiveness of threonine.

L-lysine

The amino acid L- lysine is an important component in various proteins; these include enzymes, proteins in blood plasma for the transport of substances, hormones and antibodies and structural proteins in bone and skin. An adequate intake of lysine may have a positive effect on the formation of collagen, which is formed together with the amino acids glycine and proline.

 

L- phenylalanine

Physical and mental stress leads to an increased release of substances whose raw material is phenylalanine. In the human body, the amino acid tyrosine is synthesized from phenylalanine in the liver, which is inter alia required for the formation of various hormones such as adrenaline.

b) Branched Chain Amino Acids
• L - leucine
• L - isoleucine
• L - valine
 
L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine are branched Chain Amino Acids and are known by the acronym BCAA. If a lack of energy occurs, the body is able to synthesize the BCAAs to glutamine and Beta-alanine, and these in turn to glucose. Through the sufficient supply of the three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, the body has the ability to promote the protein structure; moreover, the quick absorption of all amino acids is promoted in the muscles and the liver. However, this is not scientifically clearly recognized.

2.1.2 Semi - essential amino acids

• arginine

• tyrosine

• cysteine

• histidine

Semi- essential amino acids are partially vital (essential) amino acids. They can be formed from other amino acids in the body. Cysteine can partly be formed from the essential amino acid methionine, and tyrosine can be formed from the essential amino acid phenylalanine.

In certain stages of life , for example, in infancy , in the growth phase , during pregnancy , in case of injuries or competitive  sports , these amino acids cannot or only insufficiently be formed. Because of this, the semi- essential amino acids, as well as the essential amino acids, have to be consumed via food.

 

2.1.3 Non-essential amino acids

The human body can produce about 12 amino acids themselves. They are therefore referred to as non-essential amino acids :
• L- arginine
• L -cysteine
• L - histidine
• L-Tyrosine
• L - alanine
• L - asparagine
• aspartic
• glutamic acid
• L-glutamine
• glycine
• Protin
• serine

L-alanine

The human body is able to form alanine out of other amino acids or from pyruvate, the end product in the degradation of glucose. In case there are no longer sufficient reserves of glucose available, alanine is converted into sugar, which provides the body with energy.

L- asparagine

L-asparagine is a proteinogenic amino acid. In the body asparagine serves as a raw material of chemical messengers. Asparagine is also involved in the transport of nitrogen, which is required for various biochemical reactions.

L - arginine

The human body can produce arginine itself, but especially in infants and during pregnancy or in the growth phase, it can appear that the supply of this amino acid is not sufficient. In comparison to other proteinogenic amino acids, arginine contains with four nitrogen groups the highest amount of nitrogen. Arginine is involved in the formation of nitrogen molecules.

L- cysteine

This amino acid is primarily found in hair and nails. As part of structural proteins, cysteine is to be found in connective tissue and in bones.

L- histidine

The additional consumption of this amino acid is, especially for children, very important. Histidine is involved in various metabolic processes and in the building of iron- storage proteins.

L - tyrosine

Tyrosine is an integral part of virtually all proteins and base material of various hormones. In addition, it is a precursor of neurotransmitters that serve as chemical messengers to transmit electrical impulses between nerve cells.

Aspartic acid

The aspartic acid is one of the most common chemicals in the brain. It is part of the immune system and is said to be involved in the formation of RNA / DNA or rather be one of the starting materials.

Glutamic acid

Glutamic acid is a messenger substance that occurs in proteins and also in muscle tissue. These substances are involved, inter alia, in the transport of nitrogen in the body.

L-glutamine

This amino acid occurs in the human body frequently unbound. Free glutamine occurs particularly in muscle cells. Glutamine is involved in protein synthesis and is needed especially by tissues that have a high rate of cell division.

Glycine

Glycine can be produced in many different ways, inter alia, the amino acid serine. Glycine is the most common amino acid of the collagen.

Proline

Proline is an important component of the connective tissue and an important building block of collagen.

Serine

Serine, as well as phosphatidylserine, belongs to the starting material of many cell membranes. Especially in the brain, there is an increased concentration of serine. A deficiency of this amino acid can result in inattentiveness and poor concentration.

 

2.2 Nonproteinogenic amino acids


In nature several other amino acids exist besides the 20 proteinogenic amino acids that were mentioned before. These are called non-proteinogenic amino acids; they are generally no constituents of proteins. There are far more than 250 nonproteinogenic amino acids known. Some have important biological functions, but in many cases their exact function is not yet known. Below are some known non-proteinogenic amino acids listed:

Gaba

The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is one of the most important chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) of the central nervous system.

Beta Alanine

The compound of beta-alanine with the amino acid histidine makes the formation of carnosine possible. Therefore, a sufficient supply of Beta-alanine contributes to a higher level of carnosine, which in turn can counteract the lowering of the pH and thus the acidification of the muscles.

theanine

This amino acid is contained in the leaves of green and black tea. Theanine is a building block of protein and it is produced from the amino acids glutamic acid and ethylamine. In addition to a calming effect, theanine is designed to promote the ability to concentrate. These effects are, however, scientifically not clearly approved.

L-carnitine

This is a so-called vitaminoid, a vitamin-like substance. L-carnitine is formed by the supply of the essential amino acids methionine and lysine to a common protein compound. It is necessary to distinguish between two different forms - firstly, L-carnitine, which performs important functions in the body and secondly, D-carnitine, a health-threatening similarly constructed substance as L-carnitine.

L- Taurine

Taurine is not an amino acid in the strict sense, but a metabolic product of the two amino acids methionine and cysteine. The highest concentration of taurine is noted in the retina of the eyes, in the blood platelets and in the central nervous system.

 

3. Use in Sports

3.1. Benefits and Use of EAAs in Sports

Since the glucose storage of muscle cells are gradually depleted during intensive physical exercise, these storages have to be filled up again afterwards. More glucose for muscle cells means less glucose for fat cells. Especially after intense training phases, athletes have an increased need for essential amino acids (EAAs, because EAAs are involved in the synthesis of proteins and thus also in anabolic (muscle building) processes). In order to make these construction processes possible, the essential amino acids must be present in sufficient quantity. If this is not the case, the organism takes the required amount of EAAs from our own body substance, i.e. from the muscles.

It is possible to consume EAAs isolated or together with a protein shake. It is recommended to consume EAAs shortly before, during or after a workout. For this purpose, we offer dosage forms such as powder (with or without flavor) and capsules.

PEAK offers EAAs in TST - shape containing eight vital amino acids. Additionally, the amino acids histidine and cystine that are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) are added. Similarly, vitamins are added, which can contribute to a reduction in fatigue and tiredness.

 

3.2. Benefits and Use of BCAAs in Sports

 In particular, endurance and strength athletes have an increased need for branched chain amino acids. After a meal that is high in protein, the BCAA are the first amino acids that enter the blood plasma and then the muscles. Thus the body is directly able to use them.

The branched chain amino acids include L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine, which are involved in the formation of proteins. These three amino acids are found in high protein foods and can be used as a supplement in bodybuilding, strength and endurance sports. As a dietary supplement, they are available in powder, liquid- or capsule form.

Even with less physical exertion an adequate supply of BCAAs is necessary, because the branched chain amino acids may play a role in maintaining and in the regeneration of muscle tissue. Moreover, the intake of branched chain amino acids results in an increased release of the growth hormone somatotropin (STH). These effects, however, are not scientifically well established.

During the rehabilitation after an injury or under temporary intense physical exertion, increased release of somatropine in order to compensate the energy balance, is also possible. In addition, this hormone regulates the provision of free (naturally in the body produced) fatty acids that produce energy and thus somatropine regulates the relationship between muscle mass and fat percentage.

The human body needs energy substrates that are present in blood and muscle cells. These substrates include not only the glucose, but also amino acids. The latter are important building materials for proteins, which the body needs for building and maintaining muscle. Isoleucine is a component of proteins, which are used for the formation of glucose when the glucose storage of the muscles are empty or consumed by physical training.

 

Also the amino acid leucine is supposed to contribute to the release of insulin from the pancreas. Moreover, leucine is involved in tissue development, particularly in the protein metabolism in the muscles and the liver.

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