Category Archives: Energy and Vitality

Acetyl-L-Carnitine: Grade-A Energy Producer

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (also called N-Acetyl-L-Carnitine) is one of the body’s basic building blocks, an amino acid that is involved in the production of energy, good heart and brain function, muscle movement, the metabolism of cells and many other bodily processes.

The body is capable of converting Acetyl-L-Carnitine into the closely related L-Carnitine, a substance that turns body fat into energy. It is also able to convert in the other direction. Your body makes both of these substances in the liver and kidneys, and they are packed away for future use at various sites around the body: in skeletal muscles, brain, heart and sperm, for instance. L-Carnitine, which sometimes is less available as a nutrient than Acetyl-L-Carnitine, is very important in the body, and having a more accessible version around helps with basic bodily function.

As a supplement, this amino acid reacts on the mitochondria in the cells of the human body. Because they are so vitally involved in the production of energy, boosting their production may lend an overall increase to physical and mental health.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine also has great potential as a treatment of many forms of disease. When taken in greater amounts than normally produced in the body, according to the Internet Drug Index, it has shown itself possibly effective against a wide variety of symptoms. It might be beneficial in loss of cognitive function and loss of memory in the elderly (such as those resulting from Alzheimer’s Disease or dimentia), for instance, as well as helping to rehabilitate stroke victims. It may also help with diabetes-induced nerve pain, male infertility and age-related testosterone issues.

Overall, this vital amino acid is very important to the body’s proper function, and when used in larger doses, may even provide a preventative against many symptoms of age and poor health. To read more about Acetyl-L-Carnitine, head to Dr. Weil’s Vitamin Library.

Is Taurine in Energy Drinks Safe? Maybe…

There is a lot of energy in the media and within consumers about the health benefits as well as dangers of energy beverages, including some warnings about the amino acid taurine in energy drinks, but is taurine safe? How much is okay versus too much? Are there any health implications or hidden issues with the taurine in energy drinks?

According to Dr. Oz, says the Herald Tribune, the number of visits to the emergency room have doubled in the last four years, and hit more than 20,000 in the year 2011. But are these super-charger energy drinks really to blame for some of the cardiac issues that some people have or are claiming? Is the taurine in energy drinks, or the caffeine, or sugar, or other supplements added to these beverages the cause of these heart issues?

How taurine in energy drinks affects your heart

In one study mentioned by the article mentioned above, which measured how 18 peoples’ (15 men, 3 women, around age 27) hearts reacted about an hour after consuming taurine in energy drinks (16 oz), the MRI showed a “significantly increased peak systolic strain” in the left ventricle of the heart.

Although black coffee or even caffeinated water was suggested (one might also consider green tea or white tea due to the enormous health benefits, since it also contains caffeine); however, real energy can come from 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, eaten raw, steamed, or even made into smoothies. Plus raw foods are packed with enzymes, anti-oxidants, and other vitamins and minerals.

Do we really need taurine in energy drinks?

If the amino acid taurine in energy drinks may keep your left heart ventricle contracting too severely, sometimes causing palpitations, anxiety attacks, or other cardiac related issues, then is it really wise to consume them? Energy drinks may only say they have “amino acids” but they also may have creatine, lecithin, phenylalanine, tyrosine, choline, citicoline, plus taurine, of course.

Additionally, some of the main ingredients in energy or power drinks include: caffeine, glucuronolactone, guarana, B vitamins, ginseng, l-carnitine, ginkgo biloba, sugars, antioxidants, as well as trace minerals. According to one study even coaches have to advise their athletes about taking energy drinks because of the effects and risks associated with consuming them, even after exercise.

Overall the ingredients may be natural, or commonly found in food (amino acids, for instance, are in protein foods such as meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc.), eggs, and fish. However, a combined effect of all of these ingredients may have some serious health consequences if consumed regularly, or especially in excess.

Adverse effects of taurine in energy drinks or their other ingredients can include: restlessness, heart palpitations, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, dehydration, and increase blood pressure. Long term effects have not been established. Those with heart disease or cardiac issues, or children, should probably avoid taurine in energy drinks, or power beverages in general.

Positive information on taurine

Taurine, in and of itself, is an amino acid that the body needs for neurological development, and for regulating water levels and mineral salts within the blood. Taurine also has antioxidants, is found in breast milk, and can be purchased as a dietary supplement.

People with congestive heart failure who took taurine supplements 3x/day (for two weeks) did show an improvement in their capacity to exercise. Up to 3,000 mg of taurine per day is considered safe. Of course, these people were taking supplements, not drinking energy beverages.

Most people can consume up to 16 oz. (500 milliliters) in energy drinks per day and still feel good, although the sugars are high and so these things need to be weighed out in terms of what is actually healthy for the human body.

References:

http://health.heraldtribune.com/2014/01/07/dr-oz-avoid-energy-drinks-with-amino-acids-on-the-label/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2966367/
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/taurine/faq-20058177

The Youthful Old: Amino Acids are Among Methods Used for Anti-Aging

As the older generations get older they turn to what works for helping reverse the aging process. As we age our bodies’ cells stop regenerating at the same rate they used do, and things slowly start deteriorating. Entropy takes a hold, and wrinkles appear, skin thins and loses elasticity, and our bodies do not work quite as efficiently as they used to. Tonics and television ads announcing the next “fountain of youth” seem to have the next best thing, but what does science actually test in their studies, and what actually works? Evidently amino acids, among a list of other things, are among the many tools and methods people can use to help reduce the signs of aging and bring some vitality and life back to an old soul.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They perform functions in our bodies that are necessary at just about every level, from tissues and organs, skin and hair, muscles and the immune system. All 22 amino acids come from protein foods, but some are actually created by our bodies (non-essential amino acids) while others must be gotten from food (essential amino acids). This would include meats, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, and beans.

Anti-aging with bio-molecules and amino acids

According to P Dabhade and S Kotwall, the way to help slow down or reverse the aging process starts with the process of bio-molecues. To help avoid incurable or chronic or even fatal diseases, slow the aging process, as well as improving quality of life, the researchers who reviewed some bio-molecules that are part of anti-aging therapies. Some of the interventions were dietary and included:

Adherence to nutrition
Anti-aging supplements/nutrients (e.g., amino acids)
Genetic manipulations
Hormonal therapies
Cell-based therapies

Skin treatments contain amino acids

Researchers M Ooe, T Seki, et al., did a comparative evaluation of different treatments for wrinkles. Since noninvasive cosmetic surgery and aesthetics were common, but nothing existed for how to treat the wrinkles themselves, they compared four wrinkle treatment methods, including amino acids:

YAG laser treatment
CT-atRA external application
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy
Nutritional therapy with amino acid supplements

The results were that all four procedures, which were minimally invasive, had “demonstrated statistically significant improvement in the degree of wrinkle. As for the subjective assessment of VAS, all four treatments demonstrated equivalent satisfaction.” The bottom line is that amino acids may actually help get rid of wrinkles rather than just covering them up topically.

Dr. Oz on which amino acids are anti-aging

So of these methods for anti-aging, which amino acids actually can help with the process? Well, Dr. Oz says that there are five ways to supercharge your body in five days, and amino acids are one of them.

Says Dr. Oz, and HGH levels (Human Growth Hormone, which also may help the antiaging effect) mentioned in a study, that “a special blend of four amino acids has the potential to spike HGH levels by more than 600%. To boost your HGH levels naturally, try taking this supplement that researchers have deemed the most powerful anti-aging amino acid combination.”

These four naturally anti-aging amino acids include:

Arginine (give you energy, regulates blood pressure, keeps heart from working as hard, may help lower body fat)

Glycine (supports muscles, helps you store energy, helps you sleep)

Lysine (helps your body make energy from fatty foods)

Ornithine (gives you energy by removing toxins out of your body)

Dr. Oz recommends an amino acid complex that has a combination of at least 2000 mg of these amino acids.

If you have any questions regarding amino acid supplements please talk with your physician or naturopath.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23451844

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23397058

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/supercharge-your-body-5-ways-5-days?page=4

Amino Acid Supplement Improves Health: Study

An Australian study into amino acid depletion and sub-health has found promising results with a complex amino acid supplement.

Sub-health is an intermediate state between health and disease. Sub-health can be a chronic condition, usually indicated by low energy, loss of vitality, altered sleeping patterns, and increased incidence of viral infections. Sub-health can also lead to the debilitating medical conditions of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Many illnesses can result in amino acid depletion. Amino acid imbalance is often found in cancer-related fatigue, for example. Could amino acid imbalance also result from sub-health? If so, would correcting this imbalance improve health?

Some amino acids are synthesized in the body, but the essential amino acids are obtained through food.

If people are unable to ingest the correct quantities of essential amino acids in their diet, they are often given amino acid supplements to correct the imbalance. However, these supplements contain a complex formula of ingredients. In addition to perfecting the formula, developers must ensure the taste is palatable.

Amino acid supplement study

Researchers (R Dunstan, S Sparkes, et al) with the School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Australia, developed a study into the new, broad-spectrum amino acid dietary supplement, Fatigue Reviva (developed by TOP Nutrition Pty Ltd).

17 men reporting symptoms of sub-health took part in the 30 day trial. After the trial, 65% of the study group reported that their energy levels had significantly improved.

Urinary amino acid analysis revealed that the supplement increased the levels of valine, isoleucine and glutamic acid, and reduced levels of glutamine and ornithine.

However, some participants reported gastrointestinal symptoms. The researchers believed these symptoms were caused by the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide, an ingredient in the supplement. Further product development is needed for those patients susceptible to fructooligosaccharide.

The study concluded that this amino acid supplement could prevent fatigue, and increase wellbeing, for patients with symptoms of sub-health.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23927677

Amino Acids for Women who Exercise

When it comes to women, amino acids definitely have their place as far as supplements go. Amino acids play a crucial role in women’s health because they are the building blocks of proteins, and affect hair, bone, skin, and even hormones and exercise, plus muscles, tissues and organs. There are some amino acid supplements for women that you can take to aid exercising regimes, which can be purchased at supermarkets or vitamin shops.

Amino acids supplements

Amino acids for women are the same as they are for men. There are 22 amino acids that are broken down into these categories: essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids, as well as semi-essential or conditional aminos. Amino acids can be taken in the form of capsules but they also come from protein foods like meats (beef, lamb, fish, chicken, turkey, pork, and even eggs) and dairy, beans, and nuts.

Taking amino acids for women can help boost fat burning and muscle building, and should be taken along with proper exercise and a healthy diet in order to keep a fit physique and lean and strong muscles.

Amino Acids for Women:

L-arginine:
L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide (NO), which helps keep the body healthy. L-arginine also dilates blood vessels, which allows for better blood flow and delivery of nutrients to the muscles for fat burning. Arginine also boosts HGH (human growth hormone) that comes from the pituitary gland. HGH also helps with women who have low testosterone levels, which does less for muscle burning, but more for fat burning. 3-5g in the morning and a half an hour before bed or exercise will do the trick.

L-glutamine:
Another of the amino acids for women is L-glutamine, which enhances the recovery time for muscles after they’ve been used or damaged. Glutamine also helps with energy, fat burning, and boosts immunity. If you are dieting or doing some really intense workouts you can lose muscle and metabolic function, but glutamine protects lean muscle from breaking down when the muscles are stressed. Stressed muscles can trigger the cortisol-connection. Cortisol, which is a stress hormone, can actually stop fat burning and promote the storage of fat in those troublesome areas like the buttocks, hips, and thighs.

L-carnitine:
One of the well-known amino acids for women is L-carnitine. Carnitine plays a role in energy production (co-factor). Cells cannot make energy without carnitine’s help because it is what transports fatty acids into the mitochondria, which in turn produce the energy. Carnitine is also one of those amino acids for women with the nitric oxide connection, which is a systemic gas that helps bring faster results when working out in the gym. Heart health is also boosted in women, thanks to carnitine, since the heart muscle requires heavy energy production so it can beat efficiently. You can take 1-3g of carnitine up to three times per day.

Beta-Alanine:
Beta-alanine is also one of the amino acids for women that I will cover today. Beta-alanine increases the intramuscular levels of L-carnosine (don’t confuse it with L-carnitine above). Carnosine buffers lactic acid levels in the cells of muscles. Lactic acid is what builds up and makes your muscles feel sore after an extra-long or extra-hard workout or muscle contraction. Lactic acid makes you feel the “burn” in the muscles. Carnosine buffers and allows you to work harder or longer in the gym. Taking beta-alanine also can be taken with creatine to further boost body fat loss and muscle building. Take 1-3 g just before and after your workouts.

BCAA’s:
Last but not least, BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids) are also amino acids for women, which helps the female body to lose weight fater. BCAA’s help prevent muscle breakdown by keeping the supply needed by working muscles in check. This is important since they fuel muscles directly for energy, while also triggering lean muscle building and the burning of fat. 3-5g of BCAA’s can be taken before and after workouts.

Reference:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/267249-amino-acid-supplements-for-women/