Essential Amino Acids (must be supplied by diet, these amino acids are not produced by the human body):
Histidine - essential for the growth and repair of tissue. Histidine is the only amino acid consistently found to be low in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
Lysine - 25% of collagen is made up of lysine and proline; a 155 lb person has about 500g of lysine stored. Dr. Rath states that supplementation as high as 10 grams per day is not excessive. Dr. Rath's "Vitacor" supplement supplies a total of 110 mg of Lysine per day (his other supplement formulations provide up to 1,000 mg of Lysine per day).
Phenylalanine - a precursor to tyrosine. Supports dopamine levels, and is a therapy for ADD and depression. Beware: Nutrasweet/Aspartame contains phenylalanine! Phenylalanine is a stimulant. Phenylalanine is contraindicated for anyone with cancer.
Semi-essential Amino Acids (able to be synthesized in the human body but not in enough quantity to meet the needs for full health):
Arginine - is very valuable in the urea cycle to remove toxic byproducts of protein metabolism. Arginine also helps remove nitrogen from muscle tissue. Arginine is absolutely essential to cats and they will rapidly become seriously ill within 24 hours if they are deprived of arginine. Ornithine may be a better arginine supplement than arginine itself, due to ornithine's ability to enter mitochondria.
- Sources: fish, oats, peanuts, soybeans, walnuts, chocolate, brown rice and raisins. Very little arginine is found in most vegetables, fruits and oils.
- Antagonist: lysine
- Arginine is a poorly absorbed amino acid; if adequate availability of ornithine does not exist then high dosage supplementation (4 to 5 g) may be required, however this may cause diarrhea and kidney failure can be induced by doses greater than 40 grams.
Other Amino Acids (able to be synthesized in the human body if the components are provided):
Beta-alanine - increases carnosine in muscle, which helps maintain intracellular pH (which is very important during intense exercise).
Carnitine - technically neither an amino acid nor a vitamin, carnitine is an amine and usually classified as an amino acid. Carnitine can by synthesized from lysine and methionine if adequate amounts of niacin (B3), B6, and vitamin C are available. During pregnancy, infancy and breastfeeding the need exceeds the body's ability to synthesize it and thus requires some supplementation for optimal health.
- Carnitine has a major role in metabolizing fats to produce ATP. In this manner it is valuable for weight loss and athletic performance.
- Carnitine is a vasodilator.
- Carnitine is effective in reducing lp(a) levels (whereas statins are not)
- Deficiency may be detected by elevated lipids (cholesterol).
- Vegetarian diets tend to be low in carnitine.
- An average omnivore diet provides 100 to 300 mg of carnitine per day
- Typical supplemental dosage is 500 to 1,000 mg three times per day.
- No toxicity is known and pure, high quality, carnitine is considered safe even at high doses.
- Carnitine inhibits thyroid hormone from entering certain cells (hepatocytes, neurons and fibroblasts) and can be used to prevent adverse effects of synthetic thyroid therapy or as a treatment for hyperthyroidism.
Cysteine - an anti-oxidant and powerful de-toxifier. The most potent detoxifier in the body, even more potent than Vitamin C as an antidote for toxins. (it is used in emergency rooms to treat overdoses of acetaminophen) It is important to have plenty of pyridoxine (B6), cyanocobalamin (B12) and folic acid for utilization of cysteine.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) - the best absorbed form of cysteine. It is important to take two to three times as much vitamin C at the same time as taking NAC
GABA - is an inhibitory neurotransmitter
Glutamic Acid - is an excitatory neurotransmitter
Glutamine - is a mediator of GABA and glutamic acid activity and a primary source of "brain fuel".
Glutamic acid can be converted into either GABA or glutamine and vice versa. Make sure you have an adequate intake of vitamin B6 to facilitate proper regulation and metabolism of GABA, Glutamic acid and Glutamine. Manganese is also critical to the synthesis of glutamine and metabolism of glutamic acid.
Be with careful compounds of these amino acids, such as MSG, as they can be neurotoxic when consumed in excess.
Proline - another important component of collagen
Taurine - may possibly help lower homocysteine levels; boosts glutathione levels; critical for heart function; important for immune function.
Theanine - found in green tea (counteracts most of the effects of the caffeine in green tea, the decaffeination process removes most of the theanine too), calming, relaxing (enhances alpha waves), dosage of 50 to 200 mg per day can help reduce stress and cortisol levels. Theanine reaches it's maximum level in blood thirty minutes to two hours after taking it.
Theanine anti-cancer properties: http://www.grouppekurosawa.com/blog/2005/01/l-theanine-and-cancer-control.htm
Green tea has between 2-5mg of theanine per gram of leaf.
Tyrosine - a building block for thyroid hormone.
- Dosage for treating ADD/ADHD is typically 500 to 1000 mg three times per day (3000 mg / day)
- Tyrosine supplementation may impact blood pressure. If blood pressure is low it tends to raise blood pressure and if blood pressure is high then it tends to lower blood pressure.
BCAAs - Branched-chain amino acids (Isoleucine, leucine and valine) are the most important amino acids for maintaining muscle and skeletal health. BCAAs serve as a major energy source for muscle during severe stress and in anabolic (building) reactions. For athletes, trying to build muscle, BCAAs are a viable alternative to steroids.
"The Healing Nutrients Within" by Eric Braverman (2003)
"Herb, Nutrient, and Drug Interactions" by Stargrove, Treasure and McKee (2008)