Amino acids play an active role in the regulation of the body
Amino acids are not only the components of proteins that make up our body tissues. Niacin (a type of vitamin), epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin (an important substance for the regulation of the neurological function) are also made from amino acids such as tyrosine and tryptophan.
Amino acids are needed every day
Amino acids that make up the body are synthesized and decomposed many times everyday. Therefore, it is important in our everyday diet to regularly take the necessary amino acids from the food we eat. Almost all the proteins taken from food have been broken down into amino acids by the time they reach the liver.
Of the 20 kinds of amino acids that constitute body proteins, 11 of them can be produced from other amino acids or other substances, whereas the remaining 9 cannot be synthesized in the body. These 9 are called essential amino acids and we must obtain them from food.
The preferable balance of amino acids is defined by standards established by international health organizations. Amino acids that are deficient, when compared with these standards, need to be supplemented. Generally, animal proteins contain large amounts of essential amino acids and their balance is very similar to human proteins. Therefore, the bioavailability of animal proteins is considered to be high. Plant proteins also contain plenty of amino acids. However, some plant proteins are lacking in certain essential amino acids (lysine and methionine). People who do not have a balanced diet may need to replenish deficient amino acids by taking supplements.
If amino acids become deficient
If amino acids become deficient, the body cannot perform various functions well. When essential amino acids are deficient malnutrition and bad skin may occur. Amino acids are absolutely necessary nutrients for human beings to live.
Amino acids enhance our immune system
Human immune resistance works when immunocytes (macrophages) attack viruses that have infiltrated the body. Once physical fitness is lowered the effectiveness of macrophages is reduced, and the person is more likely to contract infectious diseases such as the common cold.
Arginine and glutamine support the immunological function of macrophages and other immunocytes. Arginine and glutamine are non-essential amino acids which can be produced in the body. However, macrophages must activate and proliferate more than usual when faced with the infiltration of extraneous foreign matter such as a virus.
Enhancement of immune resistance by increasing blood amino acid level will make us less likely to contract infectious diseases. Wise replenishment of amino acids helps make the body more resistant to diseases.
Amino acids help with the hangover resulting from excessive alcohol
The hangover after excessive alcohol intake occurs as a result of alcohol metabolism to acetaldehyde in the body. Acetaldehyde is alcohol’s primary and most toxic metabolite. Acetaldehyde is a highly toxic compound that builds up within your body when you consume alcohol. Glutamine and alanine activate gluconeogenesis, thus expediting the metabolism of alcohol and acetaldehyde. BCAAs (Valine, leucine, isoleucine), arginine, and glutamine boost the liver function, thus promoting alcohol metabolism. If you consume these amino acids before/after drinking and the day after, they will aid liver function and relieve the discomfort of hangover that we have helplessly accepted until now.
Amino acids are indispensable in the medical field
In 1956 amino acid infusions for the supply of nutrition to patients before and after surgery were launched in Japan. This was the world’s first application of purified amino acids for the medical field.
Improvements were made in various countries, high-calorie infusions (hyperalimentation) containing not only amino acids but also carbohydrates and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium were established. They were found to increase the surgical success rate in addition to allowing nutritional control, and are now widely used as indispensable medical products for surgery.
The physiological function of each amino acid has been studied in depth, and hopes run high for the development of medical products using their physiological functions.
Amino acid production technology, including the fermentation method, has made it possible to manufacture high-quality amino acids in large amounts. This technological development has made a significant contribution to the diffusion of amino acid infusions throughout the world.