Amino Acids

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.

Isoleucine -

Leucine -

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).

Methionine -

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.

Threonine -

Tryptophan -

Valine -

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.

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.

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:

Green tea has between 2-5mg of theanine per gram of leaf.

Tyrosine - a building block for thyroid hormone.

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.

Primary sources:

"The Healing Nutrients Within" by Eric Braverman (2003)

"Herb, Nutrient, and Drug Interactions" by Stargrove, Treasure and McKee (2008)