These three amino acids have special application, do very specialized work in the body and can actually be taken as extra supplementation in specific cases of need. The three star performers are a tongue twisting lot called: L-Glutamine, L-Tyrosine and Phenylalanine.
L-Glutamine as it is officially written, the “L” signifies the substance’s natural source origins. Glutamine is the ultimate food for the brain. It is one of the few substances that can directly cross the blood barrier to the brain tissue itself and is closely linked to the utilization of glucose or blood sugar as a source of nourishment for the brain.
If we do not eat enough Glutamine rich food protein, we are likely to be short-tempered, forgetful, unable to concentrate or are apt to become very drowsy between meals and find it difficult to stay alert.
If Glutamine is taken supplementally (usual doses are 500 – 1000 mg taken between meals) glucose is more efficiently transported to the brain, and alertness is improved. For this reason, Glutamine has often been referred to as the “smart pill” and has been used to improve poor concentration.
It has also been used successfully in the treatment of such diverse conditions as schizophrenia, epilepsy, peptic stomach ulcers and alcoholism. The treatment of the latter two conditions with Glutamine was discovered by Dr William Shive at the University of Texas, USA.
Further investigations by Dr Roger Williams, found that sugar-craving and alcoholism were closely linked and effectively controlled by therapeutic doses of Glutamine. Stomach ulcers responded because the Glutamine protected ulcerated stomach wall tissue from stomach acids and thereby assisted healing.
While we are discussing “brain food” type Amino Acids, we can find two further examples in the other superstars on our present agenda – Tyrosine and Phenylalanine. Both these Aminos act as natural sources or precursors to the brain’s own production of neurochemicals which are natural chemical substances that directly affect brain activity – emotions, feelings of well-being – and which the body can manufacture from raw amino acid materials.
Neurochemicals have a far-reaching role to play in keeping the body and mind functioning together in harmony.
The neurochemicals produced from Tyrosine and Phenylalanine are largely responsible for creating a positive mental attitude, keeping us alert and overcoming lethargy. Studies by Dr Alan Gelenberg of Harvard University have shown that supplements containing both Tyrosine and Phenylalanine together have value in helping cases of depression and stress-related anxiety.
Dr Gelenberg found that using Tyrosine and Phenylalanine instead of anti-depressant drugs acted to harmonize the bodies own neurochemical output. This was preferable to creating a reliance on externally supplied drug equivalents because the natural neurochemicals were gradually reabsorbed by the body for recycling, while the synthetic drug equivalents were merely lost by excretion.
Using Amino Acids to overcome stress and depression makes good nutritional sense. A quick look at what makes up an Amino Acid illustrates why this is so.
Protein molecules are 16% nitrogen, an essential body nutrient. Amino Acids are the body’s chief supply of nitrogen which is used up in the functions of tissue repair, enzyme manufacture and the cumulative effects of stress both physical and emotional.
If one feels literally drained after a bad period of fear, pain, anxiety or anger it is because up to one-third of the body’s supply of nitrogen has been exhausted by the stress. Cumulative minor stresses in life also cause nitrogen drain; for example, exposure to extremes of heat or cold, excessive perspiration, minor but recurrent infections, emotional challenges.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that exposure to stress without compensating nitrogen replacement (eating adequate protein) can lead to protein malnutrition and chronic debility.
Certain instances of chronic pain have responded well to therapeutic use of Phenylalanine supplements, again owing to another of the neurochemicals the brain can produce from this Amino Acid.
Such pain relieving neurochemicals are called endorphins and the Amino Acid Phenylalanine can prompt their release in the bloodstream where they travel directly to the traumatized tissue’s nerve endings and there proceed to block the pain receptor sites in key positions along the nerve fibers.
Using Phenylalanine for this purpose is most effective taken long-term, however, and is not an immediate or one-shot solution. On the plus side, relieving pain with supplements of Phenylalanine is a non-addictive alternative to other heavy-duty drugs and has no adverse side effects. Using Phenylalanine does not create a high from which the individual must ultimately come crashing down when therapy is stopped.
There is a wide variety of foods which contain good quality Amino Acids of the types we have been discussing. Choosing from the following list will give a boost to your amino intake: yogurt, alfalfa sprouts, almonds, bran (oat, barley, rice and wheat), brewers yeast, buckwheat, cashews, sea vegetables like dulse and kombu, mixed grains and beans, millet, lecithin (made from soy beans), peanuts, bee pollen, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and wheat germ. If you are not a vegetarian, then lean meat, poultry and fish are also good amino sources.
Put power in your body with amino acids from a wide variety of protein foods and supplements and you’ll feel the rewards in no time.