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THE ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS

METHIONINE Sources: Methionine is an essential amino acid found in beef, chicken, fish, pork, egg, soybean, cottage cheese, and yogurt. General Information: Methionine, along with cysteine, are amino acids that contain a principal source of sulfur. Methionine is particularly important because it is also a “methyl donor,” meaning it gives up terminal methyl groups to choline. This is important, since the methyl group or CH3 (carbon-hydrogen) molecule is imperative in many chemical processes in your body, particularly the synthesis of RNA and DNA. Methionine is also an important antioxidant, being particularly effective in combating the free radicals caused by alcohol consumption. Other functions include assisting gall bladder function, detoxifying heavy metals in the body, and even strengthening hair follicles. Deficiency: Methionine deficiency has been shown to decrease protein synthesis, so consuming enough in your diet is of key importance. By guiding your clients to consume complete protein sources regularly, adequate intake of methionine is normally attained. ! Although possible, deficiencies of methionine are very rare. Needs/Benefits: While the importance of methionine to support protein synthesis is well documented the bulk of this research has been done with persons contending with severe trauma or burns, which does not support the need for athletes to take supplemental methionine. Addressing your clients overall protein requirements in the nutritional planning stage will ensure ample amounts of this essential amino acid are supplied. Dosage: Methionine supplementation should not be required for clients that follow the nutrition planning guidelines set forth in chapter (xx).

PHENYLALANINE: Sources: Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is found in cottage cheese, soybeans, fish, meat, poultry, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, chickpeas, and lentils. General Information: There are three forms of phenylalanine: D-phenylalanine, Lphenylalanine, and the man made chemical mixture called DL-phenylalanine. D-phenylalanine is

classified as Catecholamines. Phenylketonuria A cautionary note for trainers. arterial blood pressure. Phenylalanine is converted into tyrosine. such as heart rate and output. These hormones. chemical messengers in the body. blood glucose levels. the parent compound for the manufacture of L-dopa. oxygen consumption. which cause feelings of fullness. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid form to make aspartame. Catecholamines cause general physiological changes that prepare the body for physical activity (fight-or-flight response). Phenylalanine has shown to play a role in appetite suppression.not an essential amino acid. This section refers to L-phenylalanine (phenylalanine) the essential amino acid that is the only form of phenylalanine found in dietary protein. which are the precursors for important biochemicals. whereas an increase in catecholamines has been linked to improvements in muscle force. lack the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase. which is why you see this warning on a product labels containing aspartame: WARNING Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine . and fat metabolism (ref). act as neurotransmitters which are chemical messengers in the body. Those afflicted. and epinephrine. and control a variety of processes. and muscle force production. is understanding some people suffer from a genetic condition called phenylketonuria. which is further converted into hormones dopamine. and its function in human nutrition is not known. however. norepinephrine. Because it functions to support a multitude of endogenous (originating from within). Phenylalanine is a unique amino acid because it’s converted into many other amino acids. Phenylketonurics. What results are dangerously high levels of phenylalanine in the brain. and can’t convert this amino acid into tyrosine. Phenylalanine can trigger the release of a chemical called cholycystokinin (CCK). ultimately causing psychotic or schizophrenic behavior.

sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Therefore. placebo . Most grains have little or no threonine. Threonine is generally low in the diets of vegans and vegetarians. normalize appetite and support healthy responses to exercise perfomance.Deficiency: Deficiencies of this amino acid could increase the chances of developing or amplifying mood disorders. peanuts. Currently there not double-blind. the physiological roles of this essential amino acid are not well understood. but currently no studies provide sound scientific results. adzuki beans. Lack of threonine in the diet may compromise protein synthesis in the same way as Methionine (see above). eggs. 500-mg per dose. Deficiency: Deficiencies can result in decreased protein synthesis. Other symptoms of deficiencies include bloodshot eyes and cataracts. reminding your client that Phenylalanine. soy protein (concentrated/isolated). black beans. and without such evidence we can't be sure that the supplement is actually effective in this arena. L-phenylalanine supplements have been considered as a treatment for depression. like other amino acids that are neurotransmitter precursors are more effective when taken at least 30-minutes before meals containing protein. . when counseling clients on these diets it is important to advise them to include.controlled studies using phenylalanine for depression. various beans. This is so the single amino acids are not competing to to initiate neurotransmitter production with amino acids being broken down from food. General Information: Aside from its requirement for protein synthesis. In these instances. THREONINE Sources: Threonine is found in meats. seeds and nuts. clients should be advised to use no more than 500-mg increments. Needs/Benefits: Phenylalanine may support an overall sense of well-being. which are rich sources of Theronine. including depression. For increased dosages.. For appetite suppression or mild depression. before meals. 1) appetite suppression and 2) mild depression (the blues). primarily in your clients that which to exclude animal proteins in their diet. Dosage: Our work suggest the two primary uses clients looking to take supplemental Phenylalanine have in mind are..

bananas. poultry. carbohydrates. liver damage. . Why? Both amino acids compete to cross your blood-brain barrier first. cottage cheese. which can become depleted through low carbohydrate diets. TRYPTOPHAN Sources: Tryptophan is contained in most protein-based foods and ready-to-drink or powdered protein supplements. or more specifically. Dosage: As directed through dietary protein intake. Needs/Benefits: Tryptophan can be useful for clients that have trouble winding down to sleep. you’ll be alert and ready to roll. pumpkin seeds. and weakness. chocolate. Subsequently. milk. a deficiency in tryptophan can lead to edema. our body uses tryptophan to make 5hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) an intermediate and naturally occurring compound that can then be turned into the critical neurotransmitter serotonin. and possibly food cravings. yogurt. Through an enzyme called tryptophan hydroxylase. sesame. play a big role in regulating your energy or excitatory levels. sunflower seeds. are necessary to carry tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier. dried dates. These features are driven by Tryptophan's ability to boost serotonin levels. and peanuts. If tryptophan crosses first. Tryptophan is also partly responsible for manufacturing niacin in your body. however. fish. chickpeas. oats. the insulin surge released when carbs are consumed. Deficiency: As with many other amino acids. Vitamins B3 and B6 convert it to the sleep-energy regulating transmitter serotonin. Research shows Tryptophan. red meat. When tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier and enters your brain. spirulina. If. as well as a loss of muscle and fat.Needs/Benefits: Although threonine is lacking in most vegetable proteins. eggs. along with the amino acid tyrosine. tyrosine wins the race. What’s more. you’ll be relaxed and ready for a nap. Foods that deliver high levels of tryptophan also include. serotonin can be converted into the neurohormone melatonin through yet another set of enzymatic reactions. there is no need to advise your non-vegetarian clients to take supplemental amounts. General Information: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that like phenylalanine above. functions as the biochemical source material that makes several hormones and neurotransmitters the can directly impact your clients well-being.

clients should be advised to use no more than 500-mg increments. We do know. soy flour. Take on an empty stomach 20-minutes prior to last meal or bedtime. which also include leucine and isoleucine. . poultry. is also known as a branched-chain amino acid or BCAA. cottage cheese. Furthermore. Take on an empty stomach 20-minutes prior a meal For increased dosages. BCAAs play an important role in protein synthesis and/or minimizing protein breakdown.000-mg per dose. and this task spares other amino acids from being used up during exercise. but based on protein requirements active individuals should be consuming 3 to 5 grams daily and is met following the nutrition planning guidelines set forth in chapter (xx). not much is known about valine or how it works. For food cravings: 1. an essential amino acid. They’re called branched-chain amino acids because of the configuration of the molecule: the CH3 (methyl) groups branch out and interlock. that intense exercise “eats up” valine.000-mg per dose. The disease was traced to a contaminated batch of tryptophan manufactured in Japan. BCAAs are used directly for fuel by muscles. brown rice. many trainers have heard about the tryptophan “scare. The trouble is. but the FDA has yet to reverse its decision and allow the sale of tryptophan because of this and other quality issues with its manufacturing. beef. glutamine and alanine. lamb.Dosage: As a natural relaxant: 1. along with the other BCAAs.” In 1989. Needs/Benefits: Use of supplemental valine is covered in the section on BCAA's (page here). are substrates for two other amino acids. Aside from their somewhat unusual molecular configuration. General Information: Valine. however. where tryptophan products were pulled form the market because they were thought to have caused a rare disease called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. It. HISTORICAL FACTS Even if you are very young. VALINE Sources: Foods that are high in valine include fish. as do most good protein powders and meal-replacement powders (MRPs). and various nuts.4 Research on the amount of valine needed is mixed at this point.

ISOLEUCINE Sources: Foods that are high in isoleucine include fish. We do know this though. In fact. and leucine is used up at the highest rate of all three. soy flour. to recovering from . and until recently (ADD HERE) neither of them seemed to have any specific therapeutic value. beef. Leucine's role initiating protein synthesis is a key learning for trainers and coaches who formulate nutrition plans for active individuals. all three BCAAs play an important role in protein synthesis and minimize protein breakdown. lamb.19 Like the other BCAAs. as well as most good protein powders and MRPs. thereby sparing other amino acids from being burned up. cottage cheese.Dosage: Valine requirements are met following the nutrition planning guidelines set forth in chapter (xx). Leucine initiates the metabolic pathway called.5 Needs/Benefits: Use of supplemental isoleucine is covered in the section on BCAA's (page here). General Information: In many ways. eggs. and they can be used for fuel by muscle cells. protein powders and meal replacement drinks. there’s evidence that even sedentary people require much more leucine than the RDA handbook recommends. leucine and the other two BCAAs make up one-third of muscle protein. numerous studies have shown leucine is actually the silver bullet that triggers muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Dosage: Isoleucine requirements are met following the nutrition planning guidelines set forth in chapter (xx). poultry. and various nuts. leucine is required to ensure high protein synthesis rates and to minimize protein breakdown. Recently. mammalian target of rapamycin or mTOR which is primarily responsible for the magnitude and duration of protein synthesis. General Information: Together. Of course. and in turn muscle growth. LEUCINE Sources: Leucine is contained in every complete protein such as meat. Muscle protein synthesis underwrites everything from rebuilding worn out tissues. isoleucine is similar to valine: They’re both branchedchain amino acids. they both serve as a precursor for glutamine and alanine.

and maintain its skeletal muscle groups. where they can be used as a source of energy. repair. This can be attained through 20-35 grams of complete protein. lamb. and vegetarian friendly. specifically. black.500mg of lysine a day. kidney and garbanzo. an amino acid that plays a role in transporting fatty acids into muscle cells.1. soy protein. supplemental lysine and removing supplemental arginine products in the diet may prove beneficial. . chicken. General Information: Lysine is an essential amino acid that your body uses to make carnitine. some researchers suggest taking 1. Many vegetable proteins are lacking in lysine. Dosage: For herpes infections. lentil. whole-protein sources. Lysine is also of interest because it may interfere with viral replication. Leucine plays a key role in human nutrition. However.000 . Needs/Benefits: An essential amino acid. namely. be sure to keep arginine intake low. in herpes infections. Dosage: To stimulate muscle protein synthesis. research supports intakes of 2-3 grams of leucine per meal. black. kidney and garbanzo beans. including animal sources. with notable exceptions being beans. taken in divided doses throughout the day with Vitamin C. Needs/Benefits: Lysine is the limiting.500mg of lysine (along with gram of Vitamin C). beef. or deficient amino acid in the majority of all non-animal sourced proteins. which is essential to the body's ongoing need to grow. and supports the synthesis of muscle protein. because arginine often causes herpes infections to worsen (ref). During a herpes infection. an extra 1. LYSINE Sources: Dietary sources of this essential amino acid include fish. or the virus herpes simplex. to increasing muscle size and maintaining resting metabolic rate through muscle maintenance. For clients who express cold sores on the mouth. has shown some promising results.injury. For your vegetarian clients it is important to emphasize meals that include lentil. and other high quality.