We have been told for years about the important role which protein plays in our fitness and health, but did you know that protein itself is made up of amino acids? Strands of amino acid molecules form the building blocks of protein and therefore the building blocks of life. They are absolutely essential for every metabolic process; from moving and transporting nutrients aroundour bodies to cleansing our vital organs and even preventing wrinkles and hair loss.
Some amino acids are incredibly unique in the way they’re used by the body, especially when it comes to fitness and overall health and well-being. As we get older, if we are ill or during exercise our amino acid levels can dip, so supplementation helps us stay on top form. And there is no doubt that we have chosen some ‘big hitters’ when it comes to the amino acids in our triple award-winning day and night supplements.
It may seem odd that a protein can help you stay well but amino acids such as L-arginine have been found to help us fight disease. Our immune system depends on L-arginine for defending the body. This is why it’s included in treatments post-surgery, viruses and infections.
As well as being taken internally, some topical wound treatments also contain L-arginine as it helps keep blood flowing more freely and can fight pain and swelling.
As well as supporting our immune system proactively, amino acids can be reactive too and L-cysteine supports one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body, glutathione.
Researchers studying long life think that glutathione is so important the amount of this antioxidant you have might be a predictor for how long you will live!
Amino acids perform a cleansing role in our bodies to make sure they are running in tip-top condition. L-alanine helps the body convert the simple sugar glucose into energy and eliminate excess toxins from the liver. L-arginine and L-glutamine can lower the amount of ammonia, a by-product of our bodies breaking down protein, in the blood stream.
As amino acids are at the core of all our bodily functions, it’s no surprise that they have a powerful effect on our brains as well. Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a super antioxidant which specifically benefits our brain as it supplies it with energy and has been shown in studies to benefit cognitive ability, memory and mood. Another key amino acid, L-Glutamine, is essential as it helps with memory, focus and concentration so it’s the perfect way to stay sharp!
The way in which our bodies metabolise fat can be affected by our amino acid balance. L-Carnitine is an amino acid the body uses to turn fat into energy. Another great metabolism booster which has also been credited with improving recovery and building muscle is L-glutamine. It’s one of the most abundant amino acids in the bloodstream because our bodies use it in large amounts. While enough can be supplied by a healthy diet, when we exercise we require a larger amount than usual so supplementing with L-glutamine allows your muscles to push a bit further. It also helps to burn fat and stabilise blood glucose and insulin levels. If you have a sweet tooth or crave carbs, this amino acid could really help.
Collagen is something we all take more of an interest in as we get older for the simple reason it’s what makes our skin look firm and baby-smooth and our hair thick and shiny. L-Lysine is one of the key components of collagen, making it a fabulous anti-ageing ingredient. It’s also beneficial to hair as it’s part of the protein keratin which hair is made of.