Tag Archives: amino acids

Amino Acids – Their Role in Aggressive Brain Cancer

There is an enzyme that causes the breakdown of certain amino acids, which makes brain cancer aggressive. Scientists have discussed their findings in the Nature Medicine journal. These researchers from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) were looking for new kinds of therapies against aggressive brain cancer when they discovered the amino acids hunger is increased in certain forms of brain cancer.

Tumors that grow quickly and aggressively need more energy feeding them than regular (non-aggressive) brain cancer tumors. Tumors also need the right molecular building blocks to build the components of the cells in order to grow. Cancer is now known to feed on sugar (glucose), and some tumors can also catabolize glutamine, which is an amino acid.

Amino acids and role of enzymes in aggressive tumors

Primary glioblastomas are extremely malignant brain tumors. Glioblastomas also have a connection with the two enzymes BCAT1 and IDH (isocitrate dehydrogenase) because these enzymes cooperate together in decomposing branched-chain amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and these proteins can act as a food sources that increase the hunger, or aggressiveness, of cancer cells. For the first time, these scientists have been able to show that branched-chain amino acids have a significant role in the aggressive growth of certain malignant tumors.

Some years ago some researchers found gene coding mutations in IDH for a number of types of brain cancers, such as glioblastomas. If they lacked the IDH gene, then they would grow more slowly due to being defective. Radlwimmer, from the German Cancer Research Center, said that, “we can see that overexpression of BCAT1 contributes to the aggressiveness of glioblastoma cells.”

Their team compared the activity of genes from several hundred brain tumors to find out if intact or altered IDH enzymes had characteristics that might explain the aggressive tumor growth. They did, in fact, find a significance difference between two groups studied. The BCAT1 enzyme in a normal brain breaks down branched-chain amino acids, producing ketoglutarate (BCAT1 needs this molecule). So only intact IDH in tumor cells have the BCAT1 enzyme, so Bernhard Radlwimmer says, “The two enzymes seem to form a kind of functional unit in amino acid catabolism.”

Glioblastomas are what makes the brain cancer tumors particularly aggressive, and when the effects of BCAT1 is blocked, the tumor cells lose their capacity to grow or invade the healthy brain tissue. Also, at that point the cells also release less of the amino acid neurotransmitter—glutamate. When someone has brain cancer they often will get epileptic seizures, which are associated with high glutamate amino acid levels.

Because of this association, and how the researchers understand it now, agents are being searched for to target against the enzymes that are responsible for the aggressive tumor growth. BCAT1 expression is also being studied since it may be a marker to help diagnose brain cancer malignancy.

Reference:

http://www.dkfz.de/en/presse/pressemitteilungen/2013/dkfz-pm-13-35-Brain-Cancer-Hunger-for-Amino-Acids-Makes-It-More-Aggressive.php

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

Nutrition and Depression: Amino Acids Can Improve Mood

We all know the importance of eating well. The link between an unhealthy diet and obesity, heart disease, and diabetes has led to bookshelves groaning with diet and nutrition books. But nutrition also affects our mental wellbeing. Are we getting enough amino acids to maintain our mental health?

A good diet is our best weapon in the war on disease. A healthy, well-balanced diet will also help our immune systems if we do become ill. This healthy diet will help combat some mental illnesses, too.

T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha, et al, explained the link between nutrition and depression in an article in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. They found that the diets of many people suffering from mental disorders are deficient in essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Supplements containing amino acids have been found to reduce symptoms of depression. Some amino acids control our moods—they cross the blood-brain barrier, carrying the chemical signals in our brains. But if we are not getting the right amount, our moods are affected.

Amino acid supplements treat mood disorders

The major symptoms of depression include increased sadness and anxiety, loss of appetite, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities. Deficiencies in neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and the amino acid GABA are often present patients with depression.

The amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and methionine are often helpful in treating mood disorders. Indeed, tryptophan is converted to serotonin–the chemical which controls happiness.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means we must get it from our food. But people with poor diets do not get enough tryptophan.

Antidepressants and other drugs are very successful at treating depression. The researchers hope that nutritional supplements containing amino acids will work with these drugs, possibly leading to lower doses, and fewer side effects. They suggest daily supplements of amino acids to help achieve an antidepressant effect.

Nutritional neuroscience gives us our best shot of preventing and treating some mental illnesses.

Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

What Experts Say About Weight Loss and Amino Acids

There are a tremendous amount of resources online and in books that explain the health benefits to those who are trying to lose weight as it pertains to amino acid supplements; but what are some of these expert sites or doctors saying?

Are there really some amino acids that help you with weight loss better than others? Are there scientific studies to validate some of this information?

You can decide for yourself, but below I have compiled a few of these sources for you to examine.

Amino acids – a few sources for weight loss

First of all, you can read our other article called Dr Oz Weight Loss Amino Acids: L-Carnitine, L-Glutamine, and L-Arginine, which covers how these three amino acids can help you lose weight.

According to WebMD authors, Whey Protein, Amino Acids May Boost Fat Loss. This information was reliant on a study that was done and discussed by researcher Robert Coker, PhD, an associate professor of geriatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock.

Dr. Nicholas Perricone (MD, CNS) through the Huffington Post announces that The Top 10 Weight Loss Supplements include Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), Glutamine, Carnitine, Acetyl L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q-10 (also called ubiquinone), Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Chromium, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), and Maitake medicinal mushroom extract. Outside of weight loss benefits, maitake also helps regulate blood sugar levels, especially in diabetic patients.

In a sister site (but completely unrelated to Amino Acid Information) of Amino Acid Studies, three main amino acids are found—based on studies—that can help with weight loss. In their article titled Amino acids and their significance for fat burning, arginine, glutamine, and methionine are three aminos that can boost your efforts to lose weight.

These are but a few of the excellent sources that exist that are based on either scientific studies or that have experts telling us that these amino acid supplements can help you lose weight. Weight loss should always be part of a balanced diet and by eating healthy food and proper exercise, rather than focusing on fad diets or by popping pills.

It is also important to note that all 22 amino acids, whether they are essential amino acids or non-essential amino acids, are available through protein foods like meats (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, etc.), eggs, and fish.

References:

http://aminoacidinformation.com/dr-oz-weight-loss-amino-acids-l-carnitine-l-glutamine-l-arginine/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20121212/whey-amino-acids-fat-loss

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-nicholas-perricone/the-top-10-weight-loss-su_b_227618.html

http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/areas-of-use/fat-burning.html

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

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.

4 Amino Acids: Natural Painkiller-Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory

Amino acids, like L-isoleucine, may act as a natural painkiller. There are actually a number of amino acids that are involved, and a study was done regarding prostaglandin to see just how much of an analgesic (natural painkiller) and anti-inflammatory these really are.

In order to understand the study done on the amino acids and how they deal with inflammation and work as an analgesic, or natural painkiller, we must understand prostaglandin.

Prostaglandins are on-site lipid compounds work like Aspirin. They are enzymatically derived from fatty acids to serve important bodily functions. Prostaglandins work in a number of ways, but one of them is as a natural painkiller, or analgesic. Analgesics are usually drugs that help your body achieve analgesia (relief from pain).

When injured or ill, prostaglandins—from the 4 amino acids or otherwise—are not secreted from a gland, but are chemically made on-site and used specifically where needed. One of their purposes is to control inflammation.

Amino acids – natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory properties

According to a study done by E Ricciotti and GA FitzGerald on prostaglandins, they act as a natural painkiller and carry an anti-inflammatory response. They said, “prostaglandins may function in both the promotion and resolution of inflammation.” Amino acids can also have an anti-inflammatory response.

In a separate study, RN Saxena, VK Pendse, and NK Khanna “Orally administered L-isoleucine, DL-isoleucine and L-leucine exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in many test models of inflammation except formaldehyde-induced inflammation. L-beta-phenylalanine inhibited carrageenan-induced oedema only.”

However, it was L-isoleucine that exhibited a prolonged analgesic (natural painkiller) effect. In the meantime, DL-isoleucine had a short-lasting effect.

Luckily the amino acids caused no gastric ulceration or acute toxicity in the doses that effectively suppresses inflammation. Their final assessment on these natural painkiller amino acids were that the “anti-inflammatory activity seems to be related with interference with the action and/or synthesis of prostaglandins and deserves further intensive study.”

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6335992

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21508345

Selenium and Selenocysteine and Health

Selenium is a nonmetal element on the periodic table (between sulfur and tellurium), while Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid. But when Selenium performs its biological functions, it does so through selenoproteins. Selenoproteins have selenium in them as the form of the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine (also called Sec), which is a cysteine analog. Selenocysteine is encoded by the UGA codon (one of three) in mRNA translation for non-selenoprotein genes. Selenocysteine is a proteinogenic amino acid.

Unlike the 20 regular amino acids (both essential and non-essential) selenocysteine is biosynthesized on its tRNA from the amino acid serine. Interestingly, there are 25 selenoproteins, like selenocysteine and selenomethionine (the latter of which replaces methionine amino acid residues, and is sometimes randomly substituted for methionine), which are encoded in our human genome.

Study on selenium and selenocysteine on health

Selenocysteine, according to S Kurokawa and MJ Berry, in their publication titled Selenium. Role of the essential metalloid in health discuss selenocysteine and its role in health. They say that selenocysteine (Sec) is described as “having stronger nucleophilic and electrophilic properties than cysteine, and Sec is present in the catalytic site of all selenoenzymes. Most selenoproteins, whose functions are known, are involved in redox systems and signaling pathways. However, several selenoproteins are not well characterized in terms of their function.”

Even though selenium can be considered toxic if the dose is too high, it is still required for health purposes in the bigger picture, selenocysteine notwithstanding. According to the researchers the selenium field (which includes the selenoproteins, and selenomethionine, etc.) has “grown dramatically in the last few decades, and research on selenium biology is providing extensive new information regarding its importance for human health.”

Selenocysteine, itself, is a building block of selenoproteins, contains selenium, and is present in several enzymes such as glutathione peroxidases, glycine reductases, methionine-R-sulfoxide reductase B1 (SEPX1), and so on). Glutathione and glycine are standard amino acids.

The biochemist, Theresa Stadtman (married to Earl R. Stadtman) at the National Institutes of Health, discovered selenocysteine.

Reference:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24470102

Amino Acids Lysine, Proline, Arginine To Treat Prostate Cancer

A study into the anti-tumor effects of specific nutrients has led to positive results. A unique amino acids-plus formulation of lysine, proline, arginine, ascorbic acid, and epigallocatechin gallate was proved to have anticancer properties, and could become a natural anticancer agent to treat prostate cancer. 

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, after skin cancer. In fact, about 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer (U.S. data). But prostate cancer can often be treated successfully, especially if detected early.

Prostate cancer can often be found by testing for a prostate-specific antigen in the blood. A digital rectal exam is also a common screening technique. Once diagnosed and staged, prostate cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and other treatments.

Because some treatments, like chemotherapy, have severe side effects, scientists worldwide are studying new, non-toxic anti-cancer therapies, including some amino acids.

Amino acids nutrient study results: proliferation of prostate cancer cells reduced

Researchers Roomi MW, Ivanov V, et al, from the Matthias Rath Research, Cancer Division, Santa Clara, USA, developed a unique formula containing specific amino acids to treat prostate cancer cell lines.

Various concentrations of the amino acids lysine, proline, and arginine, were combined with ascorbic acid and epigallocatechin gallate. This mixture was tested on prostate cancer cell lines in vitro. The proliferation, or growth, of prostate cancer cells was measured.

Lysine is one of the essential amino acids, which means we must ingest it since our bodies cannot produce it by themselves. The two amino acids proline and arginine are synthesized in our bodies, though of course all amino acids can be consumed as supplements or can come from eating certain protein foods, including meats.

Results of the study were impressive. The amino acids-plus mixture produced a dose-dependent inhibition of some of the prostate cancer cell lines. The researchers concluded that the lysine, proline, and arginine amino acids, ascorbic acid, and epigallocatechin gallate mixture could become a potent anticancer agent, and could be a new treatment for prostate cancer.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17564322

Amino Acids and Diabetes — Drinking Amino Acids Before Meals Controls Blood Sugar

here is new and exciting research regarding amino acids and diabetes. Drinking a protein/amino acid mix before eating can help keep your blood sugar low, finds a Swedish study. This is great news for diabetics, and people at risk for developing diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disease which causes high blood sugar. It already affects millions of people. Being overweight is one of the main risk factors to developing this disease, and the current obesity crisis—which the World Health Organization calls an epidemic—means more people are being diagnosed as diabetic every day.

Diabetics often suffer from hyperglycemia , which means they have an excessive amount of glucose in their blood plasma.

People with high blood sugars can develop very serious complications, including kidney damage, neurological damage, cardiovascular disease, damage to the retina or damage to feet and legs. So diabetics must control their blood sugar. And monitoring your blood sugar is an important way to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

Amino acids and diabetes — amino acid drink reduces blood sugars after meals

A study to evaluate the effects of pre-meal drinks on blood sugar was developed by Ulrika Gunnerud, Cornelia Heinzle, et al, researchers with the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, at Lund University in Sweden.

They investigated the effect of consuming drinks containing protein and a mixture of five amino acids, before eating. The amino acids studied were isoleucine, leucine, lysine, threonine and valine.

14 healthy, non-smoking volunteers took part in this randomized, single blind trial. Their blood was tested after fasting, and then again after they had eaten. They were given the pre-meal protein, amino acid drink, and then given a ham sandwich. The drink and sandwich were consumed within 12 minutes.

Amino acids and diabetes — blood glucose levels reduced by almost 50%

Researchers found that starting a meal by drinking whey or soy protein with amino acids significantly reduced the post-meal blood sugar—by up to 47%.

The study concluded that using specific proteins and amino acids in pre-meal drinks could be a new strategy to help diabetics reduce high blood sugar.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23028596