Skeletal muscle wasting and the loss of protein in the body due to a variety of diseases can be helped by these specific amino acids, arginine, leucine, and citrulline. Dietary considerations have given promise to people with severe or chronic problems related to these diseases.
The two problems—protein loss and muscle wasting—are related specifically with protein synthesis alterations and protein breakdown or protein turnover rates, which occur due to a wide variety of acute or chronic diseases. But amino acids could help!
Dietary changes require specific proteins and amino acids to stimulate anabolism
Specific amino acids, like leucine, arginine, and citrulline, in a particular protein diet can be reintroduced that help to overcome the problems associated with muscle breakdown and protein synthesis in the liver (or the splanchnic area) when chronic or acute diseases are at fault. According to R Jonker, MP Engelen, and NE Deutz at the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, “An altered splanchnic extraction of amino acids as well as an anabolic resistance to dietary protein, related to stress, disuse and aging play a key role in the pathogenesis of muscle wasting in these conditions.” What this means for patients is that the dietary proteins must be of a specific quality and quantity, and be mixed in a balanced way or essential amino acids (gotten through the diet) may be required depending on the intake of amino acids levels in the body.
For instance, amino acid leucine promoted muscle protein synthesis solely by the provision of this amino acid and increasing the protein in the diets of cancer patients, specifically. Additionally, for others with chronic diseases like cystic fibrosis or obstructive pulmonary disease, diets were given with essential amino acids, specialized proteins, and particular dietary combinations to help.
In acute diseases, as opposed to chronic diseases, the anabolic drivers have been documented as the amino acids arginine and citrulline (a precursor to arginine). The evidence continues to grow regarding the reframing of dietary amino acids and meal planning, which aids in the balance for muscle protein breakdown and synthesis. This helps a variety of acute and chronic diseases because it leads to muscle protein anabolism in these disease states.
Although more research needs to be done regarding dietary restrictions and combinations, and the use of essential amino acids, or leucine, arginine, or citrulline, the results thus far are encouraging. Be sure to check with your doctor before attempting to take amino acids or alter your diet in any way, especially if you have any chronic or acute disease(s) that might be causing skeletal muscle wasting or protein loss.
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