Tag Archives: Essential amino acid

Non-Essential Amino Acid Glycine Can Improve ATP Production

The non-essential amino acid glycine is needed to generate muscle tissue and also for the conversion of blood glucose into energy. It is referred to as being ‘non-essential’ because the body can manufacture its own glycine, and is therefore not an essential component of your diet. Other uses to which glycine is put by the body includes the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.

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Amino acids play three essential roles in the human body:

1. They are the building blocks of proteins: proteins comprise about half of the dry weight of the majority of your body cells, and without them there would be no life. They are produced using monomers known as amino acids, and there are about 20 different amino acids used to make the vast variety of proteins that make up the human body. Proteins are needed to form enzymes, the catalysts that permit the majority of chemical reactions within our bodies, and also genes, the building blocks of DNA.

2. More relevant here, amino acids play an important role in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) by phosphorylation with creatine phosphate. The more creatine phosphate available, the more ATP can be produced. Since ATP is the molecule responsible for the generation of energy, then the more ATP available the more energy is generated. Although creatine is available from many food sources, it is destroyed by cooking, and over half of what you use is made from the three amino acids, glycine, arginine and methionine. The energy produced in this way is very short-lived, and last only a few seconds – more on that later.

3. Glycine is heavily involved in the production of collagen, which is the substance that maintains the flexibility of your skin and other connective tissues while still maintaining their strength and firmness. Without glycine your skin would become slack due to the degrading effect of sunlight, free radicals and oxidation.

The non essential amino acid, glycine, is believed to offer other benefits to the human body, but it is the second of those above, the production of ATP, which interests us here. ATP is an extremely important nanomolecule, second in importance to the body only to DNA, and possibly also RNA since the two are linked. RNA makes copies of your DNA structure for use in cell division and growth.

When a cell expends energy for whatever reason, such as when I am typing this, or when your heart beats, or even when your liver synthesizes a protein, one of the phosphate groups is removed from the adenosine triphosphate molecule, and converts it to adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The ATP is then said to be ‘spent’, just as your energy is spent when you are tired and can exercise no more.

The ADP is then immediately reconverted to ATP in the mitochondria, a part of every cell in your body. A cell can contain hundreds, or even thousands, of mitochondria, the number depending upon that particular cell’s need for energy. Hence, cells in your muscles, or in your liver where most of the body’s chemistry takes place, contain thousands of mitochondria whereas those in your scalp contain a lot less. Once changed to ATP, a phosphate is again lost when energy is expended, and so the cycle continues.

Glucose is needed allow the ADP to be converted to ATP, hence the need for sugars, or the carbohydrates from which they are manufactured in your body. Each cell can contain up to a billion molecules of ATP, although the couch potatoes among you probably have a lot less! Your store of ATP molecules last about 2 to 5 seconds before being changed to ADP although more rapidly for athletes that expend a lot of energy. Then the energy stored in the form of glycogen in the liver kicks in for another 4 – 6 seconds.

Additionally, you cannot expend more energy that the (eventual) sugars that you take in your diet, which can be in the form of ordinary ‘sugar’ (sucrose), fruit (fructose), glucose, carbohydrates that are metabolized into sugars, or any other member of the sugar family (e.g. lactose, maltose, etc.).

Glycine is one of what are called glucogenic amino acids, which refers to their ability to provide glucose to the blood. Because it helps to maintain proper blood glucose levels, it is often prescribed for conditions that are caused by low glucose levels, such as hypoglycemia that shows symptoms of fatigue and tiredness, and also anemia and what is known as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).

The one activity of the human body, in fact that of any mammal, for which ATP is essential, is the heartbeat. Without that no mammal could survive, or any other creature that relies on a circulation system for life. The only reason you heart has to beat is to pump your blood around your body, and it is your blood that contains the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain life. Your cardiovascular health relies on lots of ATP being available to power each and every heartbeat.

Analysis of the heart during the final stages of heart failure has revealed that there is a general decrease in the myocardial arginine: glycine amidinotraferase (AGAT) gene expression, which is indicative of the necessity of this enzyme for proper heart function. The enzyme is responsible for the first stage in the biosynthesis of creatine from glycine.

Creatine is well known to athletes, and while it is available naturally from some food sources, it can be destroyed during cooking, and at least 50% of the creatine needed by the body is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. It is creatine phosphate that is broken down into creatine and phosphate, the latter of which is used by the mitochondria to regenerate ATP from ADP.

The study carried out on the reduced AGAT levels found in heart failure patients indicates the importance of glycine to heart health. Without a good supply of glycine, there will insufficient creatine produced biochemically to generate the phosphate needed to for the ATP to produce the energy required to keep the heart pumping with the required strength. The energy provided by the mitochondria is used locally by the cells in which it is produced, and within a few seconds of that production. As explained earlier, ATP stores are used up within 2 – 5 seconds, and glycogen stores within another 4 – 6 seconds.

That is why sprinters cannot keep running at maximum speed for more than around 10 seconds or so, because the immediate availability of glycine, and hence creatine, are insufficient to last longer than that. That is one reason why they have to finish those 100 meters as fast as possible, because otherwise they would run out of energy. Other than trying to win, of course!

However, when it comes to the heart, ATP stores are essential, and the cells in your heart require a constant supply of ATP from creatine, which itself depends upon your intake or biosynthesis of glycine. Since dietary sources are insufficient to meet all your needs, and destroyed by cooking, a glycine supplement is the only way to ensure a sufficient intake. You cannot undernourish your heart and remain healthy.

ATP biosynthesis is essential if that of glycine theoretically is not, but the fact that 50% of your glycine requirement has to be produced by your body and the other 50% is sensitive to heat during cooking, a supplement of glycine could be essential to many people.

Sources:http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/
nonessential-amino-acid-glycine-can-improve-atp-production-615225.html

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Arginine (an essential amino acid)

What is arginine? Why do we need it?
Arginine is an essential amino acid produced naturally by the body. It plays several roles in the body, including an increase in protein synthesis (which promotes wound healing); removal of excess ammonia; stimulation of the immune system; and promoting the secretion of several hormones, including glucagon, insulin and human growth hormone. Arginine is also a precursor to nitric oxide, which keeps blood vessels dilated and allows the heart to receive an adequate oxygen supply……..click & see

Several tests have been conducted on arginine’s properties. Large amounts of arginine help wounds heal faster in both animals and humans. Some studies of men with low sperm counts have experience an increase in the number of sperm while taking arginine supplements. There is also preliminary evidence that arginine reduces angina pain and may help regulate blood cholesterol levels.

How much arginine should I take?
Normally, the body makes enough arginine, even when it is lacking in the diet. Most studies on arginine have used between 2-30 grams per day. Arginine is also sometimes combined with arginine prior to physical activity.

What are some good sources of arginine? What forms are available?
Dairy products, meat, poultry and dish are all excellent sources of arginine. Many nuts and chocolate also contain significant amounts of arginine. It is available in powder, tablet or capsule form, and is sold either alone or in conjunction with other amino acids.

What can happen if I don’t get enough arginine? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?
Because arginine is produced naturally by the body, most people do not need to take extra supplements. However, during times of unusual stress or injury, the body may not be able to produce the necessary amount of arginine. Patients with such conditions should consult with a qualified health care practitioner about arginine supplements.

Individuals with kidney or liver disease should consult with a health care provider before taking arginine supplements. Patients with herpes should not take arginine because it may stimulate replication of the virus.

Large amounts of arginine may both promote and/or interfere with the growth of cancer. While preliminary research has shown that arginine stimulates the immune system, a high intake (>30 grams per day) has also bee associated with increased cancer cell growth in humans. As of this writing, it remains unclear whether arginine is helpful or harmful for people with cancer.

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with arginine.

Alcoholism

Abstinence is the best course for those who can’t control their drinking. Although not a cure, various supplements may help heavy drinkers overcome their craving for alcohol, support them during the taxing withdrawal process, and set them on the road to recovery.

Symptoms
Constantly seeking opportunities to drink; being unable to cut intake; putting alcohol before family, friends, and work.
Needing more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect.
Reacting indignantly to criticism of drinking; adamantly denying the problem.
Experiencing withdrawal signs (tremors, seizures, and hallucinations) if drinking is stopped.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you drink before breakfast.
If binges last 48 hours or more.
If you have blackouts or falls.
If you routinely turn to alcohol to relieve stress or pain.
If your drinking is ruining your personal relationships.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor

What It Is
An intense physical and psychological dependence on alcohol is the hallmark of alcoholism — which many consider a chronic disease, like diabetes or hypertension. Though alcohol appears to protect the heart when taken in moderation, excessive drinking over time can damage the liver, pancreas, intestine, brain, and other organs. It can also cause malnutrition when empty alcohol calories replace a nourishing diet.

What Causes It
Drinking has a social component: It makes most people feel talkative and relaxed. Precisely why some people pursue alcohol to excess remains a mystery; psychosocial factors play a role, but there seems to be a strong genetic component as well. Indeed, children of alcoholics are at high risk for the disease, even when raised in nondrinking households.

How Supplements Can Help
The recommended supplements, all of which can be taken together, can play several important roles in weaning problem drinkers from alcohol and helping them through the initial recovery period, which may last for weeks or even months. In addition to supplements, prescription drugs are usually needed to help weather withdrawal symptoms.
Most heavy drinkers are deficient in important nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, and amino acids (protein), because they do not consume a healthy diet and because alcohol has toxic effects; it may be beneficial to continue therapy for several months, or longer, to help restore depleted nutrients. Vitamin C can help to strengthen the body during this difficult period, clearing alcohol from the tissues and reducing mild withdrawal symptoms; it is most useful when taken with vitamin E. The B-complex vitamins, the amino acid glutamine, and extracts from the kudzu vine appear to reduce the craving. Researchers at the University of North Carolina noted that in monkeys (considered good stand-ins for humans), kudzu cut alcohol intake by about 25%. Harvard scientists found that in a strain of golden Syrian hamsters that preferred alcohol to water (and could drink the equivalent of a case of wine a day), kudzu cut consumption in half.

Be sure to take extra thiamin to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

The herb milk thistle, the amino acid NAC (N-acetylcysteine), and phosphatidylcholine (500 mg three times a day) strengthen the liver, helping it rid the body of toxins. Studies confirm the protective effects of the herb milk thistle. When people with cirrhosis (liver scarring), a dangerous late-stage complication of alcoholism, took milk thistle, 58% were alive after four years, compared with only 39% who did not use the herb.

The mineral chromium should be taken to prevent fatigue caused by low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), a common problem in alcoholics. Evening primrose oil provides the fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid); this substance stimulates production of a brain chemical called prostaglandin E, which works to prevent withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and depression. It also assists in protecting the liver and nervous system. The herb kava and the amino acid GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) are both natural sedatives that can aid sleep.

What Else You Can Do
Join a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Try acupuncture. It may reduce the craving for alcohol.


Supplement Recommendations
Vitamin C/Vitamin E
Vitamin B Complex
Amino Acids
Kudzu
Milk Thistle
Chromium
Evening Primrose Oil
Kava

Vitamin C/Vitamin E
Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C 3 times a day; 400 IU vitamin E daily.
Comments: Vitamin C helps boost the effects of vitamin E.

Vitamin B Complex
Dosage: 1 pill, plus extra 100 mg thiamin, each morning with food.
Comments: Look for a B-50 complex with 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg folic acid; and 50 mg all other B vitamins.

Amino Acids

Dosage: Mixed amino acid complex (see label for dosage amount), plus L-glutamine (500 mg twice a day), NAC (500 mg twice a day), and GABA (750 mg twice a day).
Comments: For best absorption, take on an empty stomach.

Kudzu
Dosage: 150 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 0.95% daidzen.

Milk Thistle
Dosage: 250 mg 3 times a day between meals.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 70% silymarin.

Chromium
Dosage: 200 mcg twice a day.
Comments: Take with food or a full glass of water.

Evening Primrose Oil
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Can substitute 1,000 mg borage oil once a day.

Kava
Dosage: 250 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 30% kavalactones.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)