Getting to know Essential Amino Acids

The following information is what I’ve found so far on Essential Amino Acids. A short list of sources can be found at the bottom of this post.

Tryptophan – tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin and melatonin. It is plentiful in chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey and peanuts. Alfalfa, brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, chives, dandelion greens, endive, fennel, snap beans, spinach, turnips, nutritional yeast.”

Lysine – Lysine deficiency can result in a deficiency in niacin (Vitamin B) and this can cause the disease pellagra. It is also beneficial in treating and preventing herpes. Lysine sources include green beans, lentils, soybean, spinach and amaranth. Apples, apricots, grapes, papayas, pears, alfalfa, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dandelion greens, parsley, spinach, turnip greens.”

Methionine – Eggs, Sesame seeds, Brazil nugs, Peanuts, Chickpea, Corn, Almonds, Pinto beans, Lentils, Brown rice.

Methionine supplies sulphur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. It belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics that help the liver process fats. It is found in fish, whole grains, and dairy.Apples, pineapples, Brazil nuts, filberts, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chives, dock (sorrel), garlic, horseradish, kale, watercress.

Methionine assists in the breakdown of fats and thereby prevents the build-up of fat in the arteries, as well as assisting with the digestive system and removing heavy metals from the body since it can be converted to cysteine, which is a precursor to gluthione, which is of prime importance in detoxifying the liver. The amino acid methionine is also a great antioxidant as the sulfur it supplies inactivates free radicals. It may also be used to treat depression, arthritis pain as well as chronic liver disease – although these claims are still under investigation.

Some studies have also indicated that methionine might improve memory recall. It is also one of the three amino acids needed by the body to manufacture creatine monohydrate, a compound essential for energy production and muscle building.”

Valine: Dietary sources of valine include dairy products, grain, meat, mushrooms, peanuts, and soy proteins. Apples, almonds, pomegranates, beets, carrots, celery, dandelion greens, lettuce, okra, parsley, parsnips, squash, tomatoes, turnips, nutritional yeast.

Valine is needed for muscle metabolism, tissue repair, and for the maintenance of proper nitrogen balance in the body. Valine is found in high concentration in the muscle tissue. It is also one of the three branched chain amino acids, which means that it can be used as an energy source by muscle tissue. It may be helpful in treating livere and gallbladder disorders, and it is good for correcting the type of severe amino acid deficiencies that can be caused by drug addiction.”

Leucine: Leucine is a branched chain essential amino acid that stimulates muscle protein synthesis and may be the major fuel involved in anabolic (tissue building) reactions During times of starvation, stress, infection, or recovery from trauma, the body mobilizes leucine as a source for gluconeogenesis (the synthesis of blood sugar in the liver) to aid in the healing process.

It has recently been suggested that leucine may have beneficial therapeutic effects on the prevention of protein wasting, as it occurs during starvation, semi-starvation, trauma, or recovery after surgery. Insulin deficiency is known to result in poor utilization of leucine; therefore, individuals who suffer from glucose intolerance may require higher levels of leucine intake. Leucine is found in cottage cheese, sesame seeds, peanuts, dry lentils, chicken, and fish.”

Isoleucine: Isoleucine is found in eggs, fish, lentils, poultry, beef, seeds, soy, wheat, almonds and dairy. Avocados, papayas, olives, coconut, sunflower seeds.

Isoleucine is a branched chain amino acid that is important for blood sugar regulation, muscle development and repair, haemoglobin development, and energy regulation. Deficiencies of isoleucine result in possible dizziness, headaches, fatigue, depression, confusion and irritability.”

Threonine: Dietary sources of threonine include dairy, beef, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. Papayas, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, green leafy vegetables such as celery, collards, kale, and lettuce (especially iceberg), lima beans, laver (Nori — a sea vegetable).

Threonine is important for antibody production. It can be converted into glycine and serine. Deficiencies are rare but can result in skin disorders and weakness.”

Phenylalanine: Food sources or phenylalanine are dairy, almonds, avocados, lima beans, peanuts, and seeds. Apples, pineapples, beets, carrots, parsley, spinach, tomatoes, nutritional yeast.

Phenylalanine serves in the body as a precursor to the catecholamine family of hormones. These hormones include adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are activating substances in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Deficiencies are rare but can include slowed growth, lethargy, liver damage, weakness, oedema, and skin lesions.”

“Histidine– Apple, pomogranates, alfalfa, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dandelion, endive, garlic, radish, spinach, turnip greens.

The importance of the amino acid histidine for sexual function is often overlooked. While it is already common knowledge that arginine is the amino acid important for erections, Histidine plays a role in ejaculation. It does so because the body utilizes histidine to produce Histidine, and histamine in the corpus cavernosum (the penile erection tissue) is ultimately responsible for the way ejaculations and orgasms happen.”

“Foods listed below are considered complete proteins, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids:

  • Nuts
  • Soy foods, such as tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk
  • Sprouted seeds — each type of sprout has differing proportions of nutrients, so it’s best to eat a variety of them
  • Grains, especially amaranth and quinoa, are highest in protein and are high-quality proteins
  • Beans and legumes, especially when eaten raw
  • Spirulina and chorella (blue-green algae), which are over 60 percent protein”

“Essential Amino Acids”.
“Histidine – Medical & Other Uses”.
“Vegan Protein Sources”.


Posted on October 5, 2012, in Nutrition and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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