Amino acids (AAs) are compounds which can be linked together in the body to form different kinds of protein. Without AAs, the body becomes deficient in hormones, antibodies, enzymes, nutrient carriers, neurotransmitters (chemical messengers between brain cells and other parts of the nervous system) and many other substances essential to life. The best dietary source of AAs is the much maligned egg. When high doses of individual AA's are supplemented, they can have powerful effects that imitate the body's natural healing mechanisms. The main advantage of using AA supplements as drug alternatives is their relative safety.
Therapeutic action of AAs
The average therapeutic dose of amino acids is 1-3 grams daily. Some potential benefits are:
- Anabolic (muscle builder) branched chain AAs (valine, leucine, isoleucine), alanine, carnitine
- Appetite curber arginine, phenylalanine, carnitine, tryptophan, GABA
- Anticonvulsant taurine, GABA, glycine, alanine, tryptophan
- Antidepressant tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine
- Antiviral lysine
- Heart muscle strengthener (i.e., inotropic agent) tyrosine, taurine, carnitine
- Sperm count and motility booster arginine
- Stamina promoter carnitine, dimethylglycine (DMG)
Excess AAs can either enhance or antagonize the therapeutic effects of prescription drugs or hormones (e.g., arginine can inhibit effects of pain killers and antibiotics). Some AAs can worsen existing diseases (e.g., schizophrenic symptoms can increase with tyrosine). Single AA therapies should be used with caution in people with kidney, liver, or heart disease. Most therapeutic dose single AAs require a prescription from a medical doctor and careful monitoring.