Tag Archives: alanine

Can threonine-encoding alleles reduce triglyceride levels?

High levels of triglycerides and triglyceride-rich lipoproteins are significant risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Prevention plans to lower risk include reducing dietary total and saturated fat, but since lifestyle and genetics also play significant roles in developing heart diseases, researchers at the University of Minnesota examined the genetic variations in fatty acid binding proteins and lipid metabolism. Fatty acid binding protein 2 (FABP2) relates absorption and transportation of long chain fatty acids in the intestine. At codon 54 of FABP2, a DNA variation occurs where amino acid alanine is substituted with threonine in the protein. 

This allele of threonine at codon 54 (Thr54) can transport a greater amount of fatty acids than alanine, across the intestine into the plasma. Recent studies have found that the threonine allele have higher fasting plasma triglycerides than alanine variants.

Researchers Steven McColley, Angeliki Georgopoulos, Lindsay Young, Mindy Kurzer, Bruce Redmon and Susan Raatz hypothesize that a high-fat diet would reduce triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRL) and the threonine-encoding allele (Thr54) would respond by changing the transportation rate. Lipoproteins are the biochemical compounds containing both proteins and lipids that help transport fat inside and outside cells. One of their main functions is to emulsify fat molecules.

The effect of threonine-encoding alleles on triglyceride-rich lipoproteins

For the crossover study, the researchers used 16 healthy postmenopausal women as participants. The participants would undergo three different 8-week isoenergetic diet treatments: high fat, low fat, and low fat plus n-3 fatty acids.

The high fat treatment consisted of a diet where 40% of energy consumed is fat, the low fat treatment consisted of a diet where 20% of energy consumed is fat, and the low-fat plus n-3 fatty acids consisted of a diet where 20% of energy consumed is fat plus 3% as omega-3 fatty acids.

The treatments were assigned in a random order with a regular diet given 6-12 weeks between conditions. Blood samples were collected throughout the process to evaluate triglyceride levels and DNA analysis.

After assessing the data, researchers McColley et al. found that carriers of the Thr54 allele had significantly lower plasma triglycerides, chylomicron triglycerides, very low density lipoprotein and chylomicron remnant triglycerides after taking part in a high-fat diet. Participants with the Ala54 allele (alanine) did not demonstrate significant changes from baseline with any of the diets.

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156623/

Amino Acids for Pregnancy Health

Being a mom does not just happen when you birth a new baby into the world, it starts with pregnancy. A healthy pregnancy means you need proper nutrition, such as vitamins, minerals, as well as things like folic acid, and even amino acids. There are common 22 amino acids that are important for health, and that bring with them their own respective health benefits, but some of these include alanine, tryptophan, tyrosine, cysteine, and even phenylalanine.

It is important for a pregnant mother-to-be to know that amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so this is important for the baby’s development. Proteins like muscles, organs, tissues, plus even the fetal brain, are all dependent upon the proper amount of amino acids in the mother’s body.

There are essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. “Essential” means that they must be gotten through diet, while non-essential means that the body makes these aminos on its own. Protein foods like meats (chicken, beef, turkey, pork, etc.), plus fish and eggs, provide all 22 amino acids.

If a mother lacks enough amino acids then the developing fetus could suffer. Preeclampsia as well as spina bifida are associated with a lack of amino acids in a pregnant mom.

Lack of amino acids associated with preeclampsia and spina bifida

A study discovered that the amino acid L-arginine (also known simply as arginine) may protect against preeclampsia in pregnant women. About 5-8% of all pregnant women in the United States get preeclampsia, which shows protein levels in urine and can cause dangerously high blood pressure. If not treated it can cause low birth weight, preterm labor, or even death. Around the world 76,000-500,000 infants die because of preeclampsia in pregnancy and hypertension disorders. L-arginine amino acid helps alleviate the conditions associated with preeclampsia. Ask your doctor about how much to take.

In another study the amniotic fluid was tested to check concentrations of amino acids in pregnant women whose babies were already known to have spina bifida. Researchers said that their levels of “alanine, cystathionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tryptophane, and tyrosine amino acids” were lower than the healthy fetuses from the control group. This suggested that the “loss of amino acids from the fetus through the spinal cord may contribute to the etiology of spina bifida.” Spina bifida, a congenital disorder affecting the spine of the fetus, can come from a lack of the mother having enough folic acid in very early pregnancy. Taking folic acid before conception is essential, as well as afterwards in order to decrease chances for the disorder up to 70%.

Be sure to get enough amino acids in your diet during pregnancy, which means not too much and not too little. This is especially important if you are vegan or vegetarian since most complete amino acids come from animals or animal products. You may want to discuss this with your physician.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23157048

http://newhope360.com/blog/can-amino-acid-ensure-healthy-pregnancy

EGGS: The Raw Food Anti-Aging Superfood with Amino Acids

Eggs for anti-aging? Wasn’t the last thing we heard that they had too much cholesterol and were bad for cardiovascular health? According to Dr. Mercola who wrote “Top 7 Food That Slow Your Aging” eggs are one of the superfoods, and he insists that there is no link between consuming eggs and heart disease, to boot. Why? There is a whole list of reasons… some of which include essential amino acids (like arginine, leucine, phenylalanine) and  that raw whole eggs contain.

First of all, says Dr. Mercola, they need to be raw, and organic. This means they also need to be as fresh as possible to reduce the risk of contamination or infection. Furthermore, a single egg contains 9 essential amino acids. This is a fantastic raw item for raw foodists.

Aside from the “highest quality protein you can put in your body,” and that proteins are necessary for building and maintaining your body tissues (skin, muscles, and internal organs), eggs are also important for your hormones and immune system.

Besides the 9 essential amino acids in raw, organic eggs, they include these health benefits:

Zeaxanthin, and Lutein (for your eyes)
Choline (for your brain, cardiovascular- and nervous systems)
Vitamin D

How to choose the best eggs – amino acids, nutrition, omega-3’s, and allergies

Dr. Mercola says that not do we need the 9 essential amino acids in eggs for their anti-aging effects, but we should eat them raw for maximum benefits.

Allergic reactions, he insists, are usually caused by changes in the eggs due to the cooking process. Raw eggs, such as how muscle-builders take in their morning protein shakes, help preserve the highly perishable nutrients that eggs contain.

Raw egg whites contain avidin, a glycoprotein that binds biotin (a B vitamin), which some believe may lead to biotin deficiency; however, although cooking the whites deactivates the avidin, although it also impairs the proteins in the egg. Realize that the yolks also have plenty of biotin, some of the highest found in nature, so if you eat the whole egg raw, you should not be deficient. Eating only the whites may ensure a biotin deficiency.

Avoid omega-3 eggs, says Dr. Mercola, because “they typically come from hens fed poor quality omega-3 fat sources that are already oxidized.”

Be sure to buy organic and TRUE free-range chicken eggs, and preferably locally produced eggs from a pasture farmer. Dr. Mercola suggests requesting them at your local health food store or do a search in your area by visiting www.eatwild.com or www.localharvest.org.

Overall, the amino acids and other health supporting properties of local organic eggs, show many benefits to human health, especially when eaten whole and raw.

Reference:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/27/top-7-foods-that-slow-your-aging.aspx

Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Amino Acids Cysteine, Glycine and Histidine

Inflammation in the body is like fire in the veins! But can inflammation be “cooled off” by the amino acids cysteine, glycine, and histidine? Inflammation is characterized as the bodily response of vascular tissues to unsafe stimuli. 

Such stimuli may include pathogens, irritants or damaged cells. Symptoms can vary in cases of inflammation, but the most common signs are redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function in the affected area.

Because inflammation is a discomfort that affects a majority of the population at one time or another, researchers at Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan set out to examine the anti-inflammatory effects of the amino acids cysteine, glycine and histidine.

Researchers S. Hasegawa, et al., report that nuclear factor-kappa B is a system that regulates endothelial activation. They explain that nuclear factor-kappa B is induced by tumor necrosis factor-alpha in vascular endothelial cells, and it is this process that can lead to inflammation and disorders such as atherosclerosis.

The researchers wanted to test the anti-inflammatory effects in coronary endothelial cells since results from previous studies ended inconclusively. They hypothesize that amino acids cysteine, glycine and histidine would produce inhibitory effects on nuclear factor-kappa B activation in human coronary arterial endothelial cells.

The effect of amino acids cysteine, glycine and histidine on inflammation in endothelial cells

For the study Hasegawa et al. took human coronary arterial endothelial cell cultures and treated them with either alanine, cysteine, glycine and histidine amino acids. They stimulated the cultures with 2 ng/mL of tumour necrosis factor-alpha before taking out nuclear extracts to determine their concentrations of proteins and nuclear factor-kappa B.

They found that without treatment, the cultures showed significant activation of nuclear factor-kappa B. But with pretreatment of cysteine, glycine and histidine, nuclear factor-kappa B activation was inhibited significantly in the coronary endothelial cells. Alanine did not have an effect on the activation, demonstrating no anti-inflammatory properties.

Overall, cysteine showed the most inhibiting effects out of the tested amino acids at any concentration. They also found that the amino acids inhibited E-selectin expression, a cell adhesion molecule that plays an important role in inflammation.

Based on these results, the researchers conclude that cysteine, glycine and histidine can help reduce inflammation to the endothelial cells.

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22236003

Table of Amino Acid Abbreviations

Students and teachers come together with terms like “Amino acid abbreviations” – but scientists use these abbreviated forms to refer to the 20+ names of amino acids as well.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and they can be gotten from food. Before we get into the amino acid abbreviations you may want to know that there are two main types of amino acids (with a few exceptions)…

Essential and Non-essential amino acids

Essential amino acids does not mean they are “essential” as in necessary… it simply means that they can only be gotten from the food you eat so must be included through diet or dietary supplementation. Protein foods like meats (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) and eggs, as well as fish, are excellent sources of amino acids. Many meat-eating Americans actually eat an overabundance of protein compared with what the human body requires, which can lead to acidity (which leads to disease), cardiovascular and other diseases.

Non-essential amino acids are those that your body can produce naturally. Occasionally, someone is born with a deficiency in their body’s ability to produce the amino acids necessary for proper functioning, leading to diseases or disorders where people have trouble breaking down certain amino acids. An example of the latter is Maple Syrup Urine Disorder (MSUD) which is what newborn babies are screened for soon after birth.

There are 22 different amino acids in all (some of them semi-essential), but about 20 of them are more common. Their names, 3-letter, and 1-letter amino acid abbreviations follow.

Table of amino acid abbreviations

Amino Acid

3-Letter

1-Letter

Alanine

Ala

A

Arginine

Arg

R

Asparagine

Asn

N

Aspartic acid

Asp

D

Cysteine

Cys

C

Glutamic acid

Glu

E

Glutamine

Gln

Q

Glycine

Gly

G

Histidine

His

H

Isoleucine

Ile

I

Leucine

Leu

L

Lysine

Lys

K

Methionine

Met

M

Phenylalanine

Phe

F

Proline

Pro

P

Serine

Ser

S

Threonine

Thr

T

Tryptophan

Trp

W

Tyrosine

Tyr

Y

Valine

Val

V

Aspartic acid or Asparagine

Asx

B

Any amino acid

Xaa

X

Termination codon

TERM

For more information on amino acid abbreviations or more detailed information on amino acids in general, please see other articles at the Amino Acid Information Center. There are also many excellent resources on the Internet or in encyclopedias.

Reference:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Class/MLACourse/Modules/MolBioReview/iupac_aa_abbreviations.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amino_acid#In_human_nutrition

http://www.newbornscreening.info/Parents/aminoaciddisorders/MSUD.html

Valium (Diazepam) or GABA supplement?

Valium, also sold under a Diazepam brand name, is a a benzodiazepine drug. But would GABA amino acid supplement be as effective or even more potent than Diazepam?

According to Wikipedia, it is commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, spasms, restless legs syndrome    and  alcohol withdrawal.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is called your brain’s natural Valium.  In fact, Valium or Diazepam was designed to mimic and enhance GABA’s calming impact.

GABA is both an amino acid and a potent mood enhancer and an inhibitory neurotransmitter which reduces the impact of other brain reactions such as the production of chemicals like adrenaline, the levels of which increase when you are under distress.  These reactions are called “excitatory”.

What happens when you take GABA amino acid?

When you take a GABA supplement, it may fully turn off your stress reaction to an external effect, enabling you to deal with a potential upset, and not become stressed at all.

On the other hand, if you are already stressed, taking GABA supplements can restore your calmness and getting rid of stress within minutes.

Some people can notice a difference already after 100 milligrams.  Personally, I do not feel any measurable effect until I increase the dose 15-fold.  This is one of the challenges with many dietary supplements including GABA and its stress reducing effect. You see, many supplement include various inactive ingredients that are used as lubricants in the production process.  They reduce the absorption rate. Secondly, the recommended daily dosage, if it exists, is a ‘one shoe size fits all’ -type of dosage.  With many natural compounds and dietary supplements including GABA, studies suggest that the response is dose-dependent.  In other words, a small girl might require 100 milligrams but a dramatically obese person with higher tolerance might require a much higher dosage.

Many supplement specialists recommend a maximum of 500 mg of GABA for stress and anxiety relief. They also recommend experimenting with the smallest amount to see how they respond.  My optimal level seems to be three times higher than the recommended 500 mg level.

Please note also that a smaller amount of GABA is intended to relax you, whereas a larger dose of GABA is intended to make you tired.

Pay attention to your reaction.  If you have an addiction, you are going through alcohol withdrawals and any other more serious issues for which your physician has prescribed you Valium or Diazepam or any other ‘benzo’ such Lorazepam, do not simply replace your prescription medicine with GABA dietary supplement. Discuss it first with your doctor.

Buy GABA Online:

GABA is available to purchase online. You can also find GABA at retailers such as GNC and Amazon.

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/

L-Carnosine Benefits: Can L-carnosine Become the Next Wonder Drug?

Found in abundance in muscles and the brain, the dipeptide L-carnosine is an organic compound comprised of the amino acids histidine and beta-alanine. Because of the various ways L-carnosine can benefit cellular activity, such as slowing down the growth of cataracts and certain tumour cells, researchers at Aston University in Birmingham decided to study the mechanisms behind how L-carnosine works.

In doing so, they believe that it could lead to breakthroughs in L-carnosine helping treat and prevent age-related ailments such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Study for L-carnosine for health benefits, numerous diseases, even anti-aging

Scientists Alan Hipkiss, Stephanie Cartwright, Clare Bromley, Stephane Gross and Roslyn Bill believe that L-carnosine slows down age-related biological disturbances through energy metabolism or proteostasis, which is a type of protein stabilization process. Since L-carnosine also acts as an antioxidant, it has the potential to be used as a drug that can target multiple diseases.

They report that L-carnosine can act as a compound to combine the heavy metal that causes cell damage in the system. In doing so, L-carnosine will effective prevent lipids, proteins and DNA from undergoing age-related damage (antiaging properties).

The researchers recall another recent study that supports the theory that L-carnosine can improve cognition in people living with schizophrenia.

For Alzheimer’s disease, L-carnosine can act as a neuroprotective agent and has been shown to inhibit problems in the mitochondria. The dipeptide can also eliminate mutated polypeptides and stimulate the production of stress proteins that will further work to rebalance the system.

Overall, the researchers are very hopeful that the antioxidant and anti-senescence qualities of L-carnosine can greatly help cell deterioration due to old age. They reviewed studies that show L-carnosine can help slow cells that cause cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and alleviate symptoms of diabetes.

More comprehensive studies will have to be completed but the outlook is promising that L-carnosine can be an effective form of treatment for a variety of health problems.

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23442334