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Protein Co.

Proteinco Canada Amino Acids Guide

When you eat "protein" containing foods, the key muscle building blocks are called Amino Acids. In order for you to build muscle mass or boost other functions within your body, you need to break out the amino acids. This process takes varying amounts of energy depending on the protein source. For this reason, amino acid supplements have become popular in Canada for athletes and general consumers alike. Not only are amino acids great for helping build muscle, they can provide a host of other functions to include weight loss and improving general health.

There are two primary groups of amino acids

  • Essential Amino Acids aren't made in your body so they must be consumed through food sources or supplements. There are 8 or 9 essential amino acids depending on age. Infants can't make histidine so it is often listed at the 9th essential amino acid.

  • Non-Essential Amino Acids are made in the body though not always in the quantities needed for intense physical activity or during times of trauma for example. Stress can deplete amino acids to the point you are well advised to consume them in supplement form. In these circumstances, non-essential amino acids are consider "conditionally essential".

Essential Amino Acids (Body cannot make these amino acids, they must come from food or amino acid supplements)

Amino Acid
Sym.
Abbr
Min. Daily mg.
Pre Acid Base Neu.
Post # of pathways - One Pathway
Generates
Works With (Against)
Augments
Isoleucine*
I
Ile
10
n
1 - threonine --> isoleucine
-
-
muscles
Leucine*
L
Leu
14
n
1 - keto-isovalerate --> leucine
-
-
blood, muscle, hormone
Lysine
K
Lys
12
B
2 - asparate --> lysine
-
calcium
herpes, triglycerides
Methionine
M
Met
13
n
7 - homoserine --> methionine
cysteine
selenium, zinc
hair, skin, chelator
Phenylalanine
F
Phe
14
n
3 - chorismate --> phenylalanine
tyrosine
B6
depression
Threonine
T
Thr
7
n
3 - aspartate --> threonine
glycine, serine
-
collagen, tooth enamel
Tryptophan
W
Trp
3.5
n
1 - chorismate --> tryptophan
niacin, seratonin
-
depression
TValine*
V
Val
10
n
1 - pyruvate --> valine
-
-
muscles
Food Sources: Fish - meat - poultry - cottage cheese - peanuts - lentils A= acid, B= base, N= Neutral, n= non-polar *= BCAA, Branched-Chain Amino Acids, all important in muscle recovery

Non-Essential Amino Acids (The body can make these amino acids from the above essential amino acids.)

Amino Acid
Sym.
Abbr
Min. Daily mg.
Pre Acid Base Neu.
Post # of pathways - One Pathway
Generates
Works With (Against)
Augments
Alanine
A
Ala
-
n
4 - valine pyruvate --> alanine
-
-
-
Arginine*
R
Arg
-
B
4 - citrulline --> arginine
polyamines, creatine
zinc (lysine)
immune, healing, muscles
Asparagine
N
Asn
-
n
3 - asparate and ammonia
-
-
CNS
Aspartic Acid
D
Asp
-
A
3 - glutamate --> aspartate
-
-
CNS, brain
Cysteine
C
Cys
-
n
4 - serine --> cysteine
homocysteine, taurine
B6, Vit.E
skin, hair
Glutamic Acid
E
Glu
-
A
3 - ketoglutarate --> glutamate
glutamine, GABA
B6
brain
Glutamine
Q
Gln
-
n
2 - glutamate --> glutamine
-
-
brain
Glycine
G
Gly
-
n
2 - serine --> glycine
glutathione
GABA, taurine
body protein
Histidine*
H
His
-
B
1 - histidinol --> histidine
histamine
-
blood, allergy, sex
Proline
P
Pro
-
n
4 - l-glutamine --> proline
hydroxyproline
Vitamin C
collagen, elastin
Serine
S
Ser
-
n
1 - phosphoglycerate --> serine
cysteine, glycine
choline
blood sugar
Tyrosine
Y
Tyr
-
n
2 - phenylalanine --> tyrosine
thyroxin, melanin
B6
thyroid
* = These are Essential for infants, since their bodies cannot produce them yet.

Other Amino Acid Factors

Amino Acid
Sym.
Abbr
Min. Daily mg.
Pre Acid Base Neu.
Post # of pathways - One Pathway
Generates
Works With (Against)
Augments
Carnitine
-
Car
-
-
carnitine --> butyrobetaine -->
Lysine, methionine
Vitamin C
fat metabolism
Citrulline
-
Cit
-
-
argenine --> citrulline --> ornithine
Ornithine
zinc
urea cycle
Hydroxyproline
-
Hyp
-
-
proline --> hydroxyproline
-
Vitamin C
collagen
Ornithine
-
Orn
-
-
argenine --> citrulline --> ornithine
-
-
urea cycle
Taurine
-
Tau
-
-
methionine --> cysteine --> taurine
GABA, glycine
B6
heart, bile
The above are precursors for, or important products of, the 20 "true" amino acids listed above.

Amino Acid Supplements

Canadian Bodybuilders started the popularity of amino acid supplements. The branch chained amino acids (BCAA) became popular for their benefits to muscle repair. We sell BCAA Capsules and a BCAA Drink for this purpose. Because other amino acids, both essential and non-essential, can be depleted for one reason or another, we also sell a number of others separately. This allows everyone to supplement to correct a specific deficiency. Glutamine for example, is useful for helping promote growth hormone production as well as improve gut health that can be a cause of ulcers. Arginine is effective for helping your body produce nitric oxide which dilates blood vessels helping with removing toxins from the bloodstream, and carrying more oxygen and nutrients to working muscles. Leucine is the primary BCAA and it helps you lose deep visceral fat stores for weight loss when nothing else can.

Food Sources Of Amino Acids

Of course many foods contain some or all of the amino acids you need. To be labeled "protein" it must contain the 8 to 9 essential amino acids which again are those your body doesn't produce. Meat and fish are typically considered protein foods. A little known fact however is many vegetables contain an abundance of amino acids as well. You must eat them raw for the protein benefit however as cooking them breaks down the amino acids. Vegetables that contain all the essential amino acids are quinoa, chia, buck wheat and spirulina. You can also get all the essential amino acids by eating a variety of colors with raw vegetables. A mixed salad containing green, yellow, red and purple vegetables will have all the essential amino acids present. Knowing a bit more about amino acids, you can now consider buying some supplements for specific purposes. Whether it is for athletic reasons, helping to recover from surgery or an accident, or to improve your overall health in one way or another, amino acids are "essential".

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