Amino Acids and Their Actions

Amino Acid Deficiencies Can Easily OccurOnce again, the common assumption may be that the majority of Americans get plenty of amino acids through their diets due to their high meat consumption. Just the opposite, however, may be the case. Diets that are not balanced and high on empty carbohydrates can become protein deficient. Balance is the key here. While we are well aware of the perils of a diet that is too high in protein, most of us do not eat quality protein foods. High fat red meats are not the only source of amino acids. Other protein foods, including nuts, beans, soy products, fish and eggs, are excellent sources of protein. Unfortunately the majority of Americans eat diets that are deficient in the total amino acid array we need to maintain our health.
Commercial Amino Acid PreparationsAmino acid supplements are available in single or combination form and are often part of a complete multivitamin or protein supplement formula. They come in capsules, powders or tablets and are usually derived from soy, egg or yeast protein. The term crystalline free form refers to amino acids which are extracted from grain sources such as brown rice bran. Free form amino acids are recommended in that they are rapidly assimilated.
Amino Acid Products: RecommendationsAmino acid preparations are readily available at health food stores in the form of capsules, powders, and liquids. Their sources are usually animal, yeast or vegetable proteins. Brown rice, milk protein and yeast sources are also utilized. More and more companies are offering amino acid supplements. Some simple guidelines to follow include the following: Look for USP (U.S. Pharmacopoeia) or pharmaceutical grade products that are denoted by the letter L and by the word crystalline. Note: Phenylalanine comes in the DL form. Look for free form products which are much easier to digest and assimilate and are considered less allergenic. Capsulized, powdered forms are best. Take amino acids either singly or in combinations on an empty stomach with a little fruit juice. If you take them with meals, the other nutrients you have ingested will compete with the amino acids for absorption. Make sure that you do not eat for at least 30 minutes before or after taking an amino acid supplement. Amino acid therapy should be short term, rather than indefinite. Large doses are discouraged and going off and on them is preferable. For example, two months on, two months off seems to work best. Children should not be given these supplements unless under the supervision of their physician.

Information provided is intended to provide an electronic reference library about nutrition and health. The views expressed in this or other sections of this site, have not been independently researched or confirmed.
Updated on : 2/19/2012 6:18:51 PM
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