Amino acids not only build proteins but some are critical to metabolic functions. And others act as precursors to neurotransmitters (these are essentially the chemicals that convey messages from one nerve to another.) So as you can imagine, they are fairly important to athletes, bodybuilders and pretty much anyone who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle. Here we look at 4 different food sources and their content of certain amino acids.
Eggs, Cheese, Red Meat and Lysine
Eggs, cheese and red meat are all good sources of lysine (as well as other source such as soy products, potatoes and yeast.) Its main job in the body is to help form antibodies, help absorb calcium, form collagen, convert fatty acids into energy and can also help to lower cholesterol. Whilst most people get enough of it in their diet, vegetarians or people on a low protein diet may not which can lead to hair loss, reproductive disorders, poor appetite, lack of energy, inability to concentrate and bloodshot eyes, all signs of lysine deficiency.
Milk, Beans and Tryptophan
Studies show that a possible way to help with depression would be to get enough tryptophan in your diet. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is also a precursor of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in mood regulation. Foods high in tryptophan are milk, nuts, beans, eggs, yogurt and turkey.
Nuts, seeds, lentils and Isoleucine
Isoleucine is a branched-chain amino acid which helps to promote muscle recovery after strenuous activity. Isoleucine increases endurance and gives bursts of energy. It also helps regulate blood sugar, including preventing signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, fatigue, depression, confusion and irritability. Foods high in protein contain lots of isoleucine such as nuts, seeds, meat, fish, eggs, lentils, peas and soy. However, again it must be noted that vegetarians or those on a low protein diet should consider a supplement which includes valine and leucine, as they work best together when they are in balance.
Meat, Wheat, Rye and histidine
Only a small amount of histidine is manufactured in the body, and needs to be replenished either through supplements or nutrition. Meat, rice, wheat and rye all contain histidine. Its purpose is to develop and maintain healthy tissues, help produce red and white blood cells, and aid in the transmission of neurotransmitters. However, an important word of caution regarding the amino histidine, Is must be taken in the right doses. Too much histidine is linked to anxiety and schizophrenia, while too little of it could be implicated in deafness from nerve damage and rheumatoid arthritis. As a dietary supplement it’s recommended you have as little as 1g, twice a day.
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