Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amino Acids Part II

Peptide bond formation.Image via Wikipedia

We start with the essential amino acids , as our body can not make them, we have to be sure that we have them with our intake of food.
They are arginine (required  for the young, but not for adults), histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Arginine is needed for the function of the anterior pituritary for youngsters but also some adults can be helped by this amino acid, in case of poisening of the liver or erectile dysfunction.Arginine is found in high content in protein rich foods such as peanuts, walnuts, brazilnuts, cocunut, seafoods,  cereals (oats and wheat), and chocolate. Legumes such as soybean and chickpea are also rich natural sources of arginine.
Histidine feeds the blood, bones and gastrointestinal tract. Histamine is a substance typically produced from histidine,  so people with allergies should be special attentive to this amino acid. If they take too much, it can worsten their situation. It is mostly found in high proteine, aged food like old cheeses and dried or roasted meat, and also in some fermentated soy products.
Isoleucine feeds the muscles and is present in almonds, cashews, fish, lentils and most seeds.

Leucine also feeds the muscles , it is found in roasted peanuts with skin, raw salmon, nuts, almonds, chickpeas, raw sesame seed, raw flaxseed, asparagus etc.

Lysine feeds the heart, muscles and skin. People with herpes should eat food high in lysine and low in arginine, like papaya, sprouts, beets, advocados. tomatoes.Lysine can be found in mango, apricot, apples, dried pear, fat fish, turnips, celery etc.

Methionine nourishes the heart and liver, vegetables rich in methionine are spinach, green peas, corn (boiled) and all nuts, tofu and tempeh.

Phenylalanine feeds the brain, the liver, thyroid and hypothalamus. We find it in cocoa powder, brown bread and all things made with whole wheat flour ( chapati, noodles etc..)
Aspartame contains 40 % of phenylalanine . PKU patiens should restrict their intake of this amino acid, so should avoud aspartame. As aspartame is a checmical, it should be avoided by everyone.

Threonine feeds the liver, and it is one of the amino detoxifers. It helps prevent fatty buildup in the liver and is an important component of collagen. It is generally low in vegetarians.But leafy vegetables are high in threonine. It is also found in whole grains, pulses, nuts, apples, peaches and figs.

Tryprophan feeds the liver, blood and brain and can be found in nuts, bananas, soybeans and soy products, tuna, shellfish,roasted seeds of pumpkin, sesame and sunflower. Consumption of red or brown rice would also help to increase the tryptophan in the blood stream. 
This amino acid is very important for a good mood and a healthy sleep as it plays an important role in the production of both serotonin and melatonin.
If you suffer from bad mood or bad sleep, you can do 2 things:
- Consume foods high in tryptophan on an empty stomach as this aids absorption
- Take foods high in tryptophan on their own with no other proteins or amino acids.

Valine build up the muscles  Very high levels of valine can cause symptoms such as a crawling sensation on the skin, as well as hallucinations. Individuals with kidney or liver disease should be careful in consuming high intakes of amino acids without consulting their doctor. Valine should always be taken in balance with leucine and isoleucine.It can be found in seafood, roasted peanuts (with skin), sesame seeds and lentils.

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