Amino Acid Supplements-Benefits and Hazards

Naturally Savvy
Naturally Savvy

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.

Dr. Rona

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Dr. Zoltan P. Rona is a graduate of McGill University Medical School (1977) and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut (1984). He is past president of The Canadian Holistic Medical Association (1987-88) and is the author of three Canadian bestsellers: The Joy of Health (1991), Return to the Joy of Health (1995) and Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection (1997). He is co-author with Jeanne Marie Martin of The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook (1996) and is the medical editor of the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Encyclopedia of Natural Healing (1998). He has had a private medical practice in Toronto for the past 35 years, has appeared on radio and TV as well as lectured extensively in Canada and the U.S. Dr. Rona currently writes regular articles for Reader’s Digest, Alive, Vitality magazine and for several web sites. His latest book “Vitamin D, the Sunshine Vitamin” was published in 2010. In 2011, Dr. Rona was named Chief Medical Advisor for NAKA Herbs and Vitamins and has developed a line of nutritional supplements (TriStar Naturals) which are sold in health food stores across Canada. He can be found at