Tag Archives: natural

Amino Acid Taurine Prevents Diabetic Kidney Disease

More evidence on the preventive effect of the amino acid taurine. S Lin, J Yang et al, from Shenyang Agricultural University, China, published some great news for diabetics. They developed an animal study to test the preventive effect of taurine on the kidney disease known as diabetic nephropathy. This may be the light at the end of the tunnel for many diabetics.

Taurine is known to have some preventive effects on type 2 diabetes and its complications, but can it also prevent the kidney disease diabetic nephropathy? Rates of type 2 diabetes have risen over the past few decades, just as obesity rates have increased. This is no coincidence, as obesity is one of the main risk factors for developing diabetes.

Diabetic nephropathy is caused by longstanding diabetes. It’s a disease of the blood vessels in the kidneys. It’s one of the most difficult diabetic complications to treat, and can lead to chronic renal failure. Kidney dialysis is often the only possible treatment, and even then diabetic patients are 17 times more likely to die of renal failure than non-diabetic patients.

Preventing the kidney disease diabetic nephropathy is therefore a very urgent issue.

Can the amino acid taurine prevent diabetic kidney disease?

The amino acid taurine is the building block of all the other amino acids. It’s the most abundant amino acid in our bodies, and has some preventive and even curative effects on diabetes. The researchers in this trial tested its effects on diabetic rats.

One hundred and ten rats were given various concentrations of taurine for the ten week trial, and their blood was tested for blood glucose, cholesterol, and lipid metabolism.

High blood glucose results in many diabetic complications, as nerve endings and small blood vessels are damaged.  Taurine was shown to decrease blood glucose.

Lipid metabolism disorder is another complication of diabetes. Great news: results indicated that taurine significantly decreased blood fat, and improved lipid metabolism.

The preventive effects of taurine were proven in this trial. Blood glucose was decreased, lipid metabolism improved, and kidney function increased. This gives very positive hopes for taurine to be used in more treatments for diabetes.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20804623

Lysine Deficiency in Vegans and Vegetarian Diet

Lysine is an amino acid that is very often found in deficient levels within vegetarians, and especially vegans. Lysine is found in abundance within meats and other protein foods, such as beef, turkey, pork, lamb, chicken, as well as fish and eggs. Since vegans and vegetarians do not typically consume animals or their products, the levels of lysine are sometimes dangerously low. How can this be helped?

Vegetarian foods that are highest in lysine

Although meat contains all 22 common amino acids, including lysine, it is not a product that vegetarians—and especially vegans–consume, Below are some suggestions for a high-lysine diet and the kind of protein foods that can provide this important amino acid.

Lysine from protein foods should include eating 1.0 to 1.1 grams/kilogram of body weight daily (for adults). This is especially important if you are over the age of 60. Vegetarian sources of lysine-containing foods, for the vegetarian that allows no mammals, but do allow some animal products, include these…

Ovo-vegetarians can eat eggs, which have all 22 amino acids, including plenty of lysine.

Pescetarians eat fish, which is also an excellent source, plus have heart-healthy oils for cardiovascular health.

Lacto-vegetarians eat milk / dairy products, which contain lesser amounts of this amino acid, but definitely more than vegetable sources.

Vegan foods high in lysine

There are definitely some high-lysine vegan foods that are available for people who do not eat any animal products whatsoever. Vegetable sources for lysine, which should be eaten daily, include:

Legumes
quinoa
seitan
pistachios

Legumes include soybeans, and products of soybeans (such as tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy protein, etc.), and beans (garbanzo, pinto, black beans, and other dry beans) and their products (refried beans, hummus, falafel), and peas (split, green peas, black-eyed, etc.).

Nine essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body, so must be taken in via food or through supplementation. Legumes and seitan—per serving—have the highest amount of lysine. In fact, the highest vegan foods also include tempeh, tofu, soy meats, lentils, and seitan.

Lysine is also found in fairly decent quantities within quinoa and pistachios.

The US RDA recommendation for lysine from proteins is about 1g/kg protein for children, and .8g/kg for people aged 18-59, and up to 1.3g/kg protein for people over 60.

Lysine, since it is an amino acid, can also be taken as a dietary supplement from the health food store or drug stores. Overall, there is no reason why one has to give up their vegan or vegetarian lifestyle just because they are deficient in this aminio acid. There are ample ways to include it via foods or supplementation into your daily regimen.

Reference:

http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/protein

Diazepam Alternative? – Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid

Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) is a natural sedative, sometimes referred to as natural valium. It may also serve as an alternative to those who cannot take drugs like Diazepam. In fact, Diazepam works by increasing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid, so taking GABA as a supplement can help accomplish a similar effect without the same side effects of Diazepam.

What is Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)?

GABA is a non-essential amino acid, which acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It works by soaking up extra adrenaline, plus brings relaxation as well as smoothes out activity in the brain.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid has GABAergic effects and the GABA receptor (GABAR) involvement is why anti-anxiety and anti-seizure drugs work, although scientists still don’t understand all the reasons why, but its connection to the suppressing the functions and nerves is well known.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid can be purchased as GABA supplements in most health food or supplement stores; however, doses may vary for use in medical situations and anyone attempting to use it for more than as a sleep aid should consult their physician first.

What is Diazepam?

The common or generic name for Diazepam is Valium. Diazepam is often used to treat acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, and seizures or muscle spasms.

Diazepam belongs to the drug class of benzodiazephines, which affect the brain and central nervous system, so has a calming effect.

Diazepam works by enhancing the natural GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) chemical in the body.

Connection between GABAARs and Diazepam-like drugs

According to a study by Andrea N Beltran Gonzales, Pablo E Pomata, et al., titled Benzodiazepine modulation of homomeric GABAAρ1 receptors: Differential effects of diazepam and 4´-chlorodiazepam the “GABAA receptors (GABAARs) are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate inhibitory neurotransmission in the central nervous system … Many GABAARs receptor subtypes are allosterically modulated by benzodiazepines (BDZs), which are drugs extensively used as anxiolytics, sedative-hypnotics and anticonvulsants.”

In their research they said that “human homomeric GABAAρ1 receptors were expressed in Xenopus oocytes and GABA-evoked responses electrophysiologically recorded in the presence or absence of BDZs. … Diazepam produced potentiating effects on GABA-evoked … currents and … diazepam induced biphasic effects depending on the GABA concentration.”

They concluded, “Our results suggest that GABAAρ1 receptor function can be selectively and differentially modulated by BDZs.”

GABA receptors and drugs like Diazepam work by enhancing the gamma-aminobutyric acid effects in the human brain.

Reference:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001429991400661X

http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6306/diazepam-oral/details

Improve Sleep for Insomnia via Amino Acids and Deep Breathing

1… 2… 3… 4… How many of us have tried counting sheep, or other things that never seem to work, just to get some sleep at night? Insomnia can strike a person for a good many reasons, including: worry or fretting, stress or anxiety, racing thoughts, sleep cycles being off kilter (light therapy can sometimes help), hormones or metabolic reasons, and even due to being overly tired, among other things. However, there are two natural things you can do to help you sleep… take certain amino acids, and perform certain breathing exercises.

Studies have shown that increasing oxygen levels through deep breathing exercises, contrary to popular belief, can actually help induce sleep rather than wake you up. This is due to the connection with CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels in the body, which I will go into later.

Interestingly, amino acids can also help relieve insomnia. Two of the common 22 amino acids, in particular, are able help calm the mind and induce rest in a weary but aggravated body.

Insomniacs need oxygen, and amino acids for serotonin

Adults with insomnia were studied and given relaxation techniques, including deep breathing exercises (do not forget about bedtime yoga!) as part of information included in complementary and alternative medicine or naturopathic medicine techniques. These insomniacs, after being informed of these easy activities at bedtime, had higher rates of continued use.

Deep breathing exercises aside, it is not just increasing oxygen levels alone that help you relax and slumber, but reducing CO2 levels in the body. Amino acids actually play a vital role in this process.

In a fascinating cross-species study that compared plants, insects, animals, and humans, the levels of CO2 and anxiety were investigated. Anyone who has woken up in the night due to a panic attack knows what I am speaking about here. CO2 levels are higher in correspondence with anxiety or negative emotions.

There is a neurological ‘fear circuit’ that is not entirely understood, but evidence reviewed on the amino acid GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) may help modulate anxiety that is CO2 induced. That is, if you take the GABA amino acid, it could help calm the mind, anxiety, and troubling thoughts so you can sleep.

Another amino acid that is known to be a natural sedative is tryptophan (like what makes you tired from turkey meat), plus serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitter) and melatonin also help you induce sleep.

GABA and tryptophan are commonly available as supplements at health food stores and drug stores as a sleep aid. So breathe deeply and reduce the amount of CO2 in your body, plus take amino acid GABA and/or tryptophan to complement this for a good night’s rest.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23243402

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18485466

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22652369

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22365651

Taurine for CHF – Congestive Heart Failure

Evidence is showing that taurine may help congestive heart failure (CHF). Taurine, a sulphur-containing amino acid is found in the tissues of mammals. Although the body can synthesize taurine, most often it is obtained through diet; in particular, protein foods such as meats, eggs, and fish. It is known to act as an antioxidant, helps lower blood pressure, and may help with cardiovascular health problems like: congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetic cardiomyopathy. Although double-blind long-term trials are not commonly found, it is often recommended as a treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Taurine can be synthesized from cysteine and methionine amino acids when in the presence of vitamin B6, but also is obtained through the diet. Taurine is found in high concentrations in the retina as well as the heart. This could be one of the reasons why taurine can help with congestive heart failure (CHF), due to its role within the heart muscle itself.

Congestive heart failure

For the age group of 60+ CHF is the leading cause of both hospitalization and death. Sudden death can occur due to irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrhythmia in over fifty percent of people with CHF. Congestive heart failure is not like a heart attack (sudden tissue death) since CHF is a progressive disease. It can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, increased nighttime urination, and progress to a worsening stage over time.

Left-sided failure of the heart is most common in those with CHF. It leads to limited oxygen to the bloodstream and therefore the body (pulmonary edema). For right-sided failure of the heart it causes increased pressure within the veins, retention of water and sodium, and leads to accumulation of fluid as well as swelling of the liver, abdomen, and legs. Sometimes both left-and-right-sided failure happens together.

So how does taurine affect CHF in a positive way?

Taurine and CHF

Taurine supplements can often be taken as a medicine because of its beneficial health effects in treating congestive heart failure (CHF), as well as liver disease, to help reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure, and cystic fibrosis, among other health issues. Because it is an antioxidant it also protects cells from damage due to oxidation (chemical reactions with oxygen). Excess taurine is usually excreted by the kidneys.

Scientists are still not sure why taurine helps CHF entirely, but some evidence suggests that it improves functioning within the left ventricle (chamber) of the heart. Taurine may also improve circumstances in a heart failure situation since it helps lower blood pressure, plus calms the sympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system can often be overactive in people who have CHF and high blood pressure. The sympathetic nervous system responds to the stress and is responsible for the flight-or-fight response and stimulating other bodily activities in times of stress. Both the sympathetic nervous system (flight-or-fight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest) and the enteric system (gastrointestinal) are the three parts of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Taurine may help with the calming of stress-related activities of the sympathetic nervous system, lower blood pressure, and help improve heart functioning in patients with congestive heart failure. Please check with your doctor as to any taurine supplements and the dosage that you can take if you have CHF.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586397/

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/conditions_treatments/conditions/congestive_heart_failure.html

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1024-TAURINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=1024&activeIngredientName=TAURINE

L-glutamine Amino Acid and Depression

Is there a link between L-glutamine and depression?  Definitely!  It certainly appears that L-glutamine is a vital amino acid that increases positive outlook and relieves depression.  

L-glutamine is one of the major energy sources for the brain and without enough L-glutamine the brain relies on glucose for fuel which is why we crave sugar when we are stressed or sad.  Without enough fuel to function, the brain slumps and the result is a decrease in mental function, a sense of ‘the blues’ and a fundamental lack of motivation.

L-glutamine provides a healthy fuel for the whole body, not just the brain. Too much glucose can cause obesity, diabetes and many other diseases including cancers. Illness contributes to depression as well and it is important to keep the body healthy in order for the mind to be happy.  L-glutamine is a better fuel in this respect then glucose.

Connection between L-glutamine and depression may be in glucose balance

L-glutamine also helps relieve depression by being a more sustained, long burning fuel then glucose.  Glucose gives a large surge of energy that is inevitably followed by a crash that leaves the body craving more sugar and feeling depressed.  The result of this is addictive behaviour, a constant need to increase the amount of sugar ingested and that results in more feelings of depression.

Stress is also a frequent culprit for causes of depression.  Constant stress causes wear and tear on the whole body as a system, including the brain.  Stress also releases many hormones that result in feelings of unhappiness that can lead to long term depression. In order to heal from stress, the body needs to heal the damage done to its proteins and all of these damaged proteins can be synthesized from L-glutamine.  By taking L-glutamine to heal the damage caused by stress you can also prevent or help to recover from depression.

L-glutamine is a precursor to GABA – another relaxing amino acid

L-glutamine also enhances nervous system functions and is a precursor to the amino acid GABA.  GABA is an anxiety quelling amino acid and increased levels of GABA can help to prevent the stress from too much worry.  Worry can quickly lead to feelings of helplessness and depression.  L-glutamine helps by giving your body the building blocks to replenish its supply of GABA and gives the sense of competency to deal with anxiety and depression.

L-glutamine can be found in many high protein foods such as chicken, fish, beef, beans, dairy products, cabbage and beets. It can also be very useful to use a supplement to be sure to get all the L-glutamine you need to recover or prevent depression.

The author of this story, Michelle Carraway, is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, which include Medicinal Mushroom Information Center, Amino Acid Information Center, Vancouver Health News and Today’s Word of Wisdom.  The opinions are the writer’s own and the owner and publisher of the site assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the content. Our articles are for informational, educational and entertainment purposes only. Please do your own due diligence, verify any health claims by doing additional research and consult your doctor before starting any supplementation program or making any lifestyle changes, including changes to your medication and supplementation.

Sources:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23031251

http://www.livestrong.com/article/477074-glutamine-depression/

http://www.sundancevideoonline.com/glutamine.html

http://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/nutraceutical/precursor-amino-acid-therapy

L-Glutamine for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

L-Glutamine is essential in treating irritable bowel syndrome, also called IBS. L-Glutamine is the main source of energy for the cells that make up your intestinal lining. The cells that make up the lining of your intestines manufacture mucus that dictates the permeability of your intestine walls.  This is often referred to as ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and is associated with irritable bowel syndrome.  

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a disease that affects many people and it has a spectrum of symptoms that make it difficult to diagnose and very hard to treat.  Stress, antibiotics and various other factors have been noted to have been frequent factors in the onset of IBS.  These factors may also lower the amount of L-glutamine in the body and cause the intestines, an area of the body that requires L-glutamine to regulate and function, to go short.

L-Glutamine for IBS and other Health Benefits

The results of stress or other factors that can upset the flora of the intestine are that they can become damaged and they are unable to repair themselves without sufficient quantities of L-glutamine to repair them. Once the intestines are repaired, L-glutamine helps to keep them in a state that is less stressed, less permeable and in better health.

L-glutamine also absorbs water from the bowels and transports it into the cells of the body where it can be utilized properly, this stops diarrhea, a common complaint from people suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome.

Natural sources of L-glutamine include cabbage, beets, beef, chicken, fish, beans and dairy. If you choose to use a supplement, it can be beneficial to take L-glutamine a few hours before meals to give your intestines extra assistance.

Sources:

 http://www.livestrong.com/article/431680-irritable-bowel-syndrome-l-glutamine/ 1

http://www.naturalnews.com/038640_ibs_prescription_drugs_alternatives.html

http://www.health911.com/irritable-bowel-syndrome#vitamins

The author of this story, Michelle Carraway, is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, which include Medicinal Mushroom Information Center, Amino Acid Information Center, Vancouver Health News and Today’s Word of Wisdom.  The opinions are the writer’s own and the owner and publisher of the site assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the content. Our articles are for informational, educational and entertainment purposes only. Please do your own due diligence, verify any health claims by doing additional research and consult your doctor before starting any supplementation program or making any lifestyle changes, including changes to your medication and supplementation.