Amino acids are the building blocks for every cell in our bodies and come from protein foods. They are used for every process in the body, including muscle building, liver detoxification, brain chemistry, tissue repair and every other function.
Amino Acids have some of the most dramatic effects of any supplements in that people often feel the impact of an amino acid as quickly as 20 minutes after taking it.
The best way to determine whether you need amino acids is through the TRIAD test which measures 22 different essential amino acids. The same symptoms, such as anxiety and insomnia, can be caused by deficiencies in different amino acids so it’s important to know what the levels are. Once we know which ones are depleted we can get to work replacing them and rebalancing the body.
Let’s take a look at some of the most fascinating ones:
Tyrosine: produces dopamine, which we need for focus. It’s also one of the two building blocks needed to make thyroid hormone, iodine being the other. Promotes energy and a sense of well-being.
Phenylalanine: makes epinephrine and nor-epinephrine which the body uses to make cortisol, the hormone that gives us motivation, energy, and stamina. Poor protein intake causes depletion of phenylalanine , creating low cortisol and fatigue, weight gain, insomnia and depression, among other things. Low cortisol at night can also cause disrupted sleep, so it’s important for maintaining healthy sleep.
Tryptophan: makes serotonin, which helps us with mood and a sense of contentment and happiness. Low tryptophan can cause insomnia, irritability, anxiety, and depression.
Arginine: this is the amino acid that helps us detoxify ammonia, a neurotoxin that can irritate the brain or bladder (causing frequent and urgent urination or bed-wetting in children.) It is also a vasodilator and regulates blood pressure.
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