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Dr Weil on L-Carnitine (ALCAR) Amino Acid

The question was posed to the famous Medical Doctor (MD), Dr Weil on L-carnitine supplements… what should we know about this amino acid anyway? What are the health benefits?

Said  Dr Weil on L-carnitine, it is found in numerous foods, but also made by the manufacturers of supplements “in a more bioavailable form called acetyl-L-carnitine, also known as ALCAR and it can be a wonderful supplement, if you need it.”

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and are found especially in protein foods. People in North America tend to eat more protein than they need, so are rarely deficient. Even bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness instructors do not usually need to take amino acid supplements, insists Dr Weil on L-carnitine aminos.

That said, Dr Weil on L-carnitine supplements, as a SINGLE amino acid, is another matter entirely.

Dr Weil on L-carnitine single supplements’ health benefits

Health benefits of single amino acids, like acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR), can be a boost to your body, especially since each of the 22 amino acids that exist can target different functions and help particular health problems. What is suggested by Dr Weil on L-carnitine is to “take one on an empty stomach in order to build up high levels in the blood and brain. … ALCAR, known for its energy benefits, is heavily promoted for use as a supplement to increase muscle strength and energy, to burn fat (for weight loss), for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and a host of other problems. It is true that ALCAR aids in muscle metabolism and protects heart muscle and may treat heart disease.”

Dietary supplements like ALCAR, says Dr Weil on L-carnitine, are utilized to help health issues such as to:

–          improve memory

–          possibly treat Alzheimer’s disease

–          alleviate depression

–          to treat Parkinson’s disease

–          stroke

–          Peyronie’s disease

–          protect the central nervous system

–          may benefit the heart

–          increase exercise performance

–          enhance visual memory and attention*

*for people with Down syndrome, or age-related dementia (not Alzheimer’s)

These are amazing uses for acetyl L-carnitine. Please discuss the use of ALCAR or any other amino acid supplement before using them. Even Dr Weil on L-carnitine would agree that any supplement can be abused or misused.


BCAA’s: Branched-Chain Amino Acids To Treat Muscle Control

Supplements containing branched-chain amino acids are taken to treat a wide variety of conditions. They are perhaps best known for their effect on muscle formation and control, but are also often taken to improve nutrition.

Amino acids are naturally occurring molecules which combine to create protein. Protein is an essential part of our nutrition: needed for our internal organs, our brains, our muscles, and also our immune system.

We get some amino acids—essential amino acids–from food, and others—non-essential amino acids–are synthesized in our bodies. A healthy diet must contain amino acids.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids. They are found in meat, dairy products, eggs, soy protein, and legumes. Vegans must therefore make sure they are getting enough BCAAs if their diets do not contain any animal proteins. BCAAs are also available as supplements.

BCAA supplements for muscle control

Athletes sometimes use branched-chain amino acids to improve performance, as the amino acids prevent muscle breakdown during intense exercise.

The muscle control properties of BCAAs mean that they are also used for people with advanced liver disease. Advanced liver disease can cause a reduction in muscle control. Similarly, some antipsychotic medications affect muscle control, and BCAAs may be taken by patients to reduce these unwanted muscle movements.

BCAAs are sometimes taken by people confined to bed, as BCAAs prevent muscle wasting.

Warnings for BCAA supplements

You should not take supplements without discussing them with you doctor, particularly if you are taking any medications. Some BCAAs could interact with your medications. For example, BCAAs could lower blood sugar, which could interact with diabetes medications.

Levodopa also interacts with BCAAs, so if you are taking this drug (for example, for Parkinson’s disease) you must consult with your doctor before taking BCAA supplements.

Sources: WebMD Branched-chain amino acids

Amino Acid Asparagine and Children’s Brain Development

University of Montreal researchers have concluded that the amino acid asparagine is necessary for brain development during childhood. Information that also enlightened the researchers included that the while body can utilize asparagines through diet (such as meats, since protein foods provide asparagine and 21 other amino acids), the brain must obtain it through local synthesis to remain healthy and for proper functioning.

The Medical News Today (MNT) reports on Dr. Jacques Michaud, Senior co-author of the study, said that although asparagine can be gotten through diet, it “is not well transported to the brain via the blood-brain barrier.” What Dr. Michaud and the other researchers discovered is that the deficiency of an enzyme, asparagine synthetase, is linked with a variant of a specific gene that is needed to synthesize the asaparagine amino acid.

Children with rare disease need asparagine

The issue with this specific gene is the root cause of this very rare genetic disease. Symptoms of the disease include disabilities in intellect, refractory seizures, as well as cerebral atrophy, which can eventually cause death.

Dr. Michaud says that healthy children and adults have levels of asparagine synthetase in the brain that supply adequate neurons for proper functioning; however, in “individuals with the disability, the enzyme is not produced in sufficient quantity, and the resulting asparagine depletion affects the proliferation and survival of cells during brain development.”

Children who have the genetic mutation can manifest symptoms that vary, including severity of the disease. It was reported by MNT that a family in Quebec, Canada lost three babies to the disease (all under 1-year of age) but had two living siblings who were healthy.

Dr. Michaud hopes that the study can help with the development of treatments for the disease. Infants who are born with the genetic disease could potentially be given asparagines supplements to ensure asparagine levels in the brain are high enough for healthy brain development. However, Dr. Michaud also warns that “The amount of supplementation remains to be determined, as well as its effectiveness … it is uncertain whether this supplementation would correct the neurological deficits.”

So far nine children from four separate families have the mutation (three from Quebec, three from a Bengali family in Toronto plus three Israeli children) although their symptoms are not as acute. Others are surely yet to be identified for the condition.

Dr. Michaud does not think children are out of the woods yet; he says, “We are not at the verge of a miracle drug, but we at least know where to look.”


Amino Acid Information Center Page Views Up 59% in a Single Month

Amino Acid Information Center posted a record month both in terms of the number of visitors and page views.  The number of page views jumped by a whopping 59.1% month-over-month to a new record – an annualized level of more than 300,000 views.

Amino Acid Information Center is a news portal focusing on an underserved niche market: amino acids. Amino Acids are the end products of protein digestion. Proteins provide the structure for all living things. Just as with medicinal mushrooms, most people are not aware of the powerful health benefits of amino acid therapies.

Instead of having to rely on dietary supplement companies’ marketing claims, or go through multiple scientific websites full of clinical trial data and other medical information, Amino Acid Information Center does the work for you and places all that information under one roof… in plain English!

You can search Amino Acid Information Center either by choosing the amino acid you are interested in or by selecting a health problem that you want to focus on.  Health problems are grouped into twelve different major categories, including but not limited to cancer, cardiovascular health, exercise and fitness, diabetes, mental health and sexual issues.

Amino Acid Information Center was launched in December, 2012.  In the following seven months, this news portal has increased its page view count by almost 1,000%.  The 59.1% monthly growth rate in July is not an anomaly.  In fact, Amino Acid Information Center’s page views doubled from May to July – in just 60 days.

Amino Acid Information Center helps people understand how to improve their health with amino acids

“The Amino Acid Information Center provides its readers a great overview of amio acids and their health benefits,” says Jukka Tolonen, President of National Nutraceuticals, Inc., the company behind Amino Acid Information Center and several other online health news portals.

“Almost all of the articles on our site are based on publicly available clinical trials, often publicized and listed in the National Institutes of Health database.  Our job is to take the scientific ‘jargon’ and translate it into plain English for our readers.  Pharmaceutical companies do not have any financial incentive promoting amino acid products as they cannot be patented.  Companies selling amino acid products, on the other hand, cannot always use university level clinical trials conducted by third parties in their marketing, due to complex FDA regulations.  As a result, consumers have very few sources for amino acid related health information.  I believe this is clearly contributing to our growth. As more and more people learn about our service, our visitor volumes continue to balloon,” states Tolonen.

Even though most articles on Amino Acid Information Center are based on publicly available medical studies, clinical trials or other scientific information, information on our site is not a substitute for medical advice.  Please consult your doctor before using any mushroom related products. Do not discontinue, change or start a treatment program without consulting your physician first.

Amino Acid Information Center Visitor Volumes Up 660% since February

Amino Acid Information Center, a service provided by Vancouver, BC-based National Nutraceuticals continues to grow rapidly.  August was a record month for the service, both in terms of number of visitors and page views.  The visitor count went up by 6.5%.  In the last six months, Amino Acid Information Center has increased the number of its monthly readers by 660%!

“Amino Acid Information Center is an information service focusing exclusively on the health benefits of amino acids. We want to provide you with the latest news and research relating to amino acids and amino acid therapies.  Instead of having to rely on dietary supplement companies’ marketing claims, or go through multiple scientific websites full of clinical trial data and other medical information, we do the work for you and place all that information under one roof… in plain English,” says Jukka Tolonen, Vice President of National Nutraceuticals, Inc., the company behind the increasingly popular service.

Health Benefits – Amino Acids

Amino acids provide certain health benefits to the human body. They are the building blocks of proteins and help the body’s metabolic functions. Of the 22 amino acids known to science, only 9 are considered to be essential to the human body, with some sources claiming the number is 10.

List of amino acids include Essential, Non-essential, and Conditionally Essential

To avoid amino acid deficiencies and to experience optimum health you must consume the essential amino acids since they cannot be produced by the body. Some medical professionals, like Naturopath Dr. Eliezer Ben-Joseph, who advises his patients and the public on alternative health matters through his Natural Solutions Radio show, suggest a list of 10 amino acids to include in your diet, which include: Arginine, Histidine, Methionine, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, and Leucine.

10 of the remaining 22 non-essential amino acids, which your body can manufacture on its own include Alanine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Cysteine, Glutamine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Proline, Serine, and Tyrosine. Dr. Ben-Joseph suggests that if you are stressed or have a disease then these amino acids are “conditionally essential”: Arginine, Glycine, Cystine, Tyrosine, Proline, Glutamine, and Taurine.

Amino acids help build cells and repair tissues as well as create antibodies to ward off viruses and bacteria. Additionally, they help with enzymes and they body’s hormonal system. Dr. Ben-Joseph suggests these 8 amino acids provide these health benefits:

Tryptophan: is a natural relaxant, alleviates insomnia, and reduces anxiety/depression

Lysene: helps the body absorb calcium

Methionine: supplies sulfur to help hair, nails, and skin

Histidine: repairs tissue, good for digestion/ulcers, blood pressure, nerves, sexual function

Phenylalanine: aids the brain to produce Norepinephrine, which helps the brain and nerve cells

Valine: calms emotions, helps with mental vigor and coordination of the muscles

Leucine & Isoleucine: helps the body manufacture other necessary biochemical components

You can never be certain that you are getting enough of the aminoc acids that your body needs.  It may be a good idea to incorporate amino acid dietary supplements in your health regimen.  Each one serves a different function so it is important to ensure your body obtains the necessary nutrients.  As with anything else, be sure to check with your doctor before taking amino acid supplements or any dietary supplements.


Braggs Liquid Aminos Soy Seasoning Benefits

It is funny how you remember certain smells and tastes and associate them with a particular time and place in your life. I remember about two decades ago visiting some vegetarian friends of a friend in Silver City, New Mexico and eating dinner with them; it was the first time I was introduced to the benefits of Braggs Liquid Aminos. 

Liquid Aminos vs Soy Sauce

This soy sauce alternative had it all—the basic flavor and look and liquidity of regular soy sauce, but with less sodium and packed with 16 amino acids that are necessary for proper functioning of the human body. Perhaps that is why they are, still decades later, still so popular among vegans, vegetarians, and other health enthusiasts and experts. It’s not for everyone, certainly, but compared to regular soy sauce, it’s a definite step up!

Liquid Aminos Benefits

The one thing I recall eating that evening in Silver City—a town in the high desert (filled with rolling hills and Juniper trees)—was that we used the Bragg’s to dip our potstickers in before eating them. In fact, there were a number of items on our plates that night that wound up dipped and eaten quickly.

One of the more obvious benefits of Braggs Liquid Aminos are that it is not only healthier than the soy sauce alternative, but it is a condiment that you can use in cooking as well as straight from the bottle for a good number of recipes, or just as-is, full strength, as a dipping sauce, or over rice. Bragg’s versatility is amazing.

Even better! Benefits of Braggs Liquid Aminos include being non-GMO, providing protein to its consumers (you cannot usually get that from regular soy sauce, tamari, or seitan), can lower your risk for coronary heart disease (from soy proteins) by using it.

Braggs Amino Acids Additional Health Benefits

Other benefits of Braggs Liquid Aminos is that it is gluten-free, lowers risk of disease in general such as cancer (prostate, colon, and breast cancer included), is chemical-free, and has no artificial coloring, alcohol, or preservatives.

Its use has also been linked to lower rates of osteoporosis or other bone problems. Women who use soy protein products such as Braggs tend to go through fewer numbers of hot flashes during menopause.

Benefits of Braggs Liquid Aminos includes these 16 essential (meaning you have to get it from food, like in Bragg’s) and non-essential (meaning your body makes it) amino acids, made strictly from soybeans:

16 Amino Acids
  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glycine
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Threonine
  • Tyrosine
  • Valine
  • Lysine
From the Bragg’s website, the many uses of the product include being “Great on Salads & Dressings, Soups, Veggies, Rice & Beans, Tofu, Wok & Stir-frys, Tempeh, Casseroles, Potatoes, Meats, Poultry, Fish, Jerky, Popcorn, Gravies & Sauces, Macrobiotics.”

I have a bottle of Braggs Liquid Aminos at home, and use it regularly, especially when I eat kimbap or sushi. Maybe you will enjoy the health benefits of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos too!


Amino Acid GABA Vital For Normal Brain Activity And Memory

Our brains use on average only 20% of our total energy. But how do they use it? Studying neurotransmitters like the amino acid GABA can lead to a greater understanding of schizophrenia, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid, or GABA, is a non-essential is an amino acid, which is created in our bodies from glutamic acid. It’s a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, essential in maintaining brain function. Simply put, GABA controls neuron activity and prevents nerve cells from firing too often, too quickly.

The activity of GABA in our brains can be measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. A study by Lars Michels, Ernst Martin et al, from University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, was developed to examine GABA neurotransmitter levels in the brains of volunteers performing certain tasks.

Would GABA levels be increased during performance? Would amino acid GABA levels be linked to reaction time and task accuracy? The researchers devised a match-to-sample working memory task, which subjects performed under magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Neurotransmitter GABA’s role in working memory

Working_memory is a theoretical concept, not an actual physical part of our brain. It’s the term for our brain’s ability to examine and manipulate new information. Working memory is associated with cognitive development, and studies show it declines with old age.

Sixteen healthy right-handed volunteers took part in the study. They were shown five letters for a stimulus period of 2 seconds. These letters had to be maintained in memory for a retention period of 5 seconds before a single letter appeared for a probe interval of 2 seconds. The subjects had to indicate by button press whether or not this single letter was part of the stimulus set.

Results showed that GABA levels increased significantly during the working memory test. The amino acid GABA therefore has an essential role in working memory.


Can Taurine Help Reduce Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition characterized by scaly red skin, blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. People who have it may claim their skin winds up damaged, and may look like dragon’s skin, complete with permanent scarring or pock marks. However, can taurine (specifically, taurine bromamine) help reduce the effects of acne?

Acne can be inflammatory in severe cases and occurs most commonly during adolescence. The skin disorder can cause scarring and impact the long-term health of an individuals’ self-esteem. A variety of treatments can be used to reduce and prevent acne, including medication, antibiotics, salicyclic acid, hormones, retinoids and facial procedures, to name a few.

Because of acne’s widespread prevalence and the emergence of resistant bacteria to frequent antibiotic treatment, researchers at the Department of Immunology Jagiellonian University Medical College in Poland examined the efficacy and safety of taurine bromamine as a novel form of treatment.

A combination of sulfonic acid taurine and hypobromous acid, taurine bromamine (TauBr) is shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, helping reduce harmful reactive oxygen species.

For the double-blind study, researchers Janusz Marcinkiewicz et al. recruited 40 participants with mild to moderate inflammatory acne as measured with the Leeds Revised Acne Grading System. The participants were at least 18 years of age, with the average age being 22.7 years. They were split into two groups and either treated with topical taurine bromamine cream (concentration of 3.5 millimolar) or 1% clindamycin gel, a common topical acne antibiotic treatment as control.

The experimental period went on for six weeks, with the treatment applied twice a day. Weekly visits were made to evaluate acne improvement and to record any adverse effects. Efficacy of treatment was determined by assessing the number of papules and pustules on the face.

The effect of taurine bromamine on acne inflamation

After comparing the final results to baseline, researchers Marcinkiewicz, et al., found that both taurine bromamine and clindamycin treatments were associated with a significant reduction in acne at weeks four and six of therapy.

Inflammatory lesions at week four were reduced by 60% in the taurine bromamine group and 49% in the clindamycin group. By the end of treatment, inflammatory lesions were reduced by 65% in the TauBr group and 68% in the clindamycin group. The researchers also found that participants with mild acne benefitted more from both treatments when compared to those with moderate acne.

Based on these results, they conclude that topical taurine bromamine cream is comparable with the popular 1% clindamycin currently administered to individuals with acne. But because clindamycin can lead to bacterial resistance, the researchers believe taurine bromamine may be an alternative option that is just as efficient without inducing tolerance to antibiotics.


Glycine Amino Acid May Help Control Schizophrenia

Could glycine amino acid help people with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder where someone suffers from the inability to tell the difference between what is real and what is not (delusional thoughts). The symptoms of schizophrenia can include hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, disorganized speech and thinking. These symptoms of this mental health problem disrupt work and social life.

A recent study was conducted at Harvard Medical School to determine if oral intake of glycine amino acids contributed to the treatment of schizophrenia. Previous studies showed that subjects who consumed glycine for two weeks showed signs of improvement.

Glycine is an amino acid, a natural compound that is produced by the consumption of protein in your diet. The amount of it in your diet is, however, very small.

For this specific study, the researchers at Harvard Medical School monitored oral glycine intake in 11 healthy adult men. The glycine intake in these subjects was monitored by using a non-invasive proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique to measure brain glycine changes.

The results showed a 38% increase in brain glycine ratio. The purpose of this study was to further understand the glycine dynamics in the human brain. Therefore, the findings are significant to future treatments of schizophrenia and other glutamate system dysfunctions.

The glutamate system is made up of neurotransmitters in the nervous system and glutamate receptors found throughout the brain and spinal cords. The glutamate system plays a huge role in normal physiological functions.

The results of this study suggest that people with schizophrenia and people with other physiological dysfunctions can benefit from oral glycine intake to help them control the mental disorder.

In other words, by taking glycine orally as a glycine dietary supplement, you may be able to control the symptoms of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.

To read further about the study, visit