Amino acids in general

There are 20 different amino acids which are important in human biochemistry. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. 8 of them are called essential amino acids, because the body cannot synthesize them in sufficient quantities.

Amino acids take their name after the amino group which they contain. They also contain an acid group. This is the reason why a high-protein diet can cause an unhealthy accumulation of acid in the body, and this should be balanced by basiying foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Amino acids exist in L- and D-forms. These names refer to the molecular structure, as L stands for laevo - that means left - and D stands for dexter - that means right - which indicate how the molecules turn polarized light.

All the natural amino acids in the human body are L-amino acids. The L-amino acids are organic, orthomolecular and compatible with the body. In very few cases the D-forms or - more often the DL-forms - also known as the racemic forms - e.g. DL-phenylalanine - are used.

Certain amino acids are used for different illnesses. It is wise to combine this treatment with vitamin B6 and other nutrients.

In order for isolated amino acids to have an effect, they should be taken in rather large quantities. As opposed to nutrients such as minerals and vitamins where dosage is stated in milligrammes (mg) and microgrammes (mcg/µg), amino acid dosage is stated in full grammes (g).

To be taken between meals
A daily consumption of amino acid supplements is usually divided into two doses to be taken in late in the morning and in the afternoon, respectively. (There are exceptions, such as phenylalanine and DL-phenylalanine).

The point is to isolate the consumption of these amino acids from other nutrients - meaning competing protein. For the same reason, amino acid supplements are not taken in connection with meals, and they are washed down with water or juice, not with milk or any other high-protein drink.

The essential amino acids:
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine *
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophane
  • Valine
  • Histidine (essential for children)

Non-essential amino acids:
  • Alanine
  • Arginine (essential under certain circumstances)
  • Aspargine
  • Asparagic acid
  • Carnitine
  • Citrulline
  • Cysteine *
  • Cystine *
  • Glutamine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Glycine
  • Serine
  • Taurine *
* Sulphur-containing Amino acids

Amino acid complexes - Protein supplements

Proteins consist of chains of amino acids in various lenght and composition. The human body uses a total of approximately 25 different amino acids for the production of the proteins used for the building of tissue, the production of hormones, enzymes, and various blood cells etc. Protein constitutes about 25% of our body weight.

About 2/3 of these 25 amino acids the body produces by means of the other amino acids; the last 1/3, however, must be supplied through the diet. These are therefore called essential and are vital just like certain vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. They are isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophane, and valine.

A supply of amino acid complexes containing the eight essential amino acids function as an easily absorbable protein supplement since the body doesn't have to break down and transform the proteins into its basic components, the amino acids.