What Do Building Muscle, Mood and Brain Function Have in Common?
Amino acids are the building blocks of every cell in our bodies. They’re derived from protein rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds. Since we can’t store excess amino acids for later use like we do fats and starches, they must be consumed every day. About 20-percent of our bodies are made up of protein by weight and amino acids control almost every cellular process so it’s super important to eat enough every single day.
A good general rule of thumb is to consume about an ounce of protein per kilo of body weight. To find out your minimum protein requirements divide your body weight by 2.2. That means that if you’re 150 # you should be eating a minimum of 68 grams or about 10 oz protein each day. Remember, this is the minimum and our demands increase during periods of stress, such as healing from surgery or broken bones, pregnancy, training for an athletic event or recovering from illness. Emotional stress also increases our needs. We actually recommend closer to 100 grams for 150# body weight for optimal health.
Humans can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids. The others must be supplied in food. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids that we can’t make, results in depletion of the body’s building blocks so that muscle, brain chemicals, and overall tissue repair is diminished. If you’re going to the gym and working out and still can’t build muscle, you may be low in branch chain amino acids. If you are depressed and anxious you may need serotonin. If you can’t focus, tyrosine. The positive effects of these amino acids can sometimes be felt within hours of the first dose.
The 10 amino acids that we do produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. But even these rely on precursor amino acids that we must get from our diet. A good example is the amino acids tyrosine, which makes dopamine, the brain chemical we need for focus. It is produced from phenylalanine, so if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, which we have to get from food, tyrosine will be affected.
Having adequate amino acids is just the first step. Adequate cofactors are also critical. Every amino acid is dependent on co-factors, such as the B vitamins and minerals (Complete Mineral Complex) to convert the amino acids into their active form. Most people need extra B Complex (B Supreme) vitamins and a mineral rich multivitamin, such as Vita Lea multivitamin.
The Essential Amino Acids
The essential amino acids that we cannot produce are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. These amino acids are required in the diet. Here’s how they affect our bodies:
Arginine: Arginine plays an important role in cell division, wound healing, removing brain and bladder- irritating ammonia from the body (caused by hidden infections or excess protein intake), boosting immune function, releasing hormones and the producing nitric oxide. It’s helpful for treating erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure and irritable bladder, among other things.
Histidine: Histidine is the direct precursor of histamine and is needed to help grow and repair body tissues and to maintain the myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells. It also helps manufacture red and white blood cells and helps to protect the body from heavy metal toxicity. Histamine stimulates the secretion of digestive enzyme, gastrin, which is essential for protein digestion.
Isoleucine: Isoleucine belongs to a special group of amino acids called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). They’re needed to help maintain and repair muscle tissue. Leucine and valine are the other two branched-chain amino acids. Isoleucine is needed for hemoglobin formation and to maintain regular energy levels since it stabilizes and regulates blood sugar.
Leucine: Leucine is another branched-chain amino acid that is necess