Why Does My Diet Need to Incorporate More Amino Acids?
Amino acids are something you commonly see in the world of athletics. They are promoted on different drink mixes and powders that promise to enhance athletic performance, – which is great – but did you know they are responsible for a great deal more than that? We are talking about some seriously important functions in the human body.
Here, we discuss amino acids – what they are, why your body needs them, and ways you can incorporate more of them into your life.
What Are Amino Acids and Why Does Your Body Need Them?
In simple terms, amino acids are the building blocks of protein in your body. And no, we don’t mean the kind of protein you get from your protein shake or your burger.
The human body is made up of thousands of different proteins that are responsible for a variety of different jobs. By combining different amino acids, you get different proteins in the body that allow your body to function properly.
Amino acids are integral to all kinds of systems in your body including:
- Creation of muscles
- Muscle growth
- Muscle tone
- Mood regulation
- Production of neurotransmitters
- And more
What Are the Different Types of Amino Acids?
Your body requires 20 different amino acids that are divided into three different categories.
As the name suggests, this class of amino acids is essential to survival. However, there is a catch – your body actually cannot produce essential amino acids on its own. Thus, you must get them either via food or supplementation.
- Histidine. This is responsible for making the neurotransmitter histamine which is key for digestion, sleep, immunity, and sexual function.
- Isoleucine. This plays a role in both muscle metabolism and immunity as well as energy regulation.
- Phenylalanine. This is used by your body to create tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine which are key neurotransmitters. Phenylalanine is also used in the production of other amino acids.
- Valine. This is one of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which means it has a chain that branches off from one side. Valine specifically is responsible for stimulating muscle growth as well as the production of energy.
- Threonine. This is key to the structural proteins of collagen and elastin which are important not only for your skin but also for your body’s connective tissue.
- Tryptophan. This one likely sounds familiar (hello Thanksgiving turkey). It is what leads to the creation of serotonin, which is key to appetite, sleep, and mood.
- Methionine. This is needed for your body to naturally detox and also to keep your metabolism going.
- Leucine. This is another BCAA that also aids with muscle repair as well as regulating blood sugar and producing growth hormones.
- Lysine. This is important for the synthesis of protein as well as hormone production.
Though these are called “nonessential,” that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. What’s nice about these amino acids is that they are produced naturally by your body, so if things are running smoothly, you should have no issues with getting these amino acids.
- Spartic acid
- Glutamic acid
These amino acids are ones that aren’t sitting in storage in your body all the time. Rather, they are only produced in specific situations in which your body calls out for an SOS, such as illness or times of stress.
While amino acids are lauded for their ability to help in muscle development and repair, as you can see, your body needs them for far more than that.
So, you can imagine that when your body does not have the essential amino acids it needs, problems can arise.
Why Do I Need More Amino Acids In My Diet?
In order to keep the key systems in your body functioning properly (nervous, immune, digestive, and reproductive), you need to have the right amount of essential amino acids.
It is possible to get all the amino acids you need through a healthy diet. In order to achieve this, your diet should be rich in the following:
- Animal protein (beef, eggs, poultry)
- Complete proteins (animal proteins, fish, dairy, soy, buckwheat, quinoa)
- Incomplete proteins (nuts, seeds, beans, select grains)
If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, it may be more difficult for you to get all of the essential amino acids you need.
What is Amino Acid Deficiency?
- Muscle loss
- Hair loss
- Skin sores
To avoid the above from happening (especially if you are a vegan or vegetarian or if you are a serious athlete), you may want to consider supplementation.
There are a variety of different options for amino acid supplements, but we prefer one that comes with additional support and added benefits, like PYM Mood Chews. These are packed with GABA as well as adaptogens that help regulate your body’s hormone levels and work to manage your stress. Enjoy a boost in your mood and an improvement in your mental health with this addition to your life.