conditionally essential and non-essential amino acids

  • Converts glucose to energy
  • Removes toxins / supports liver detoxification
  • Helps regulate nitrogen / glucose balance in body
Asparagine Helps body get rid of ammonia
Aspartic Acid Required for neurotransmitters
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
  • Methyl donor in many body processes, including detoxification and converting homocysteine to methionine (homocysteine involved in inflammation in the body, thus more cysteine, better regulation of inflammatory conditions)
  • Sulfur donor in phase 2 liver detoxification sulfation process (hydrolysis of heavy metals)
  • Helps synthesize glutathione (important for anti-oxidant defense and liver detoxification)
  • Promotes health of connective tissue, joints, hair, skin, nails
  • Best sources – meat, fish, eggs, dairy products
Glutamic Acid
  • Precursor for Glutamate
  • Principle excitory brain neurotransmitter responsible for cognition, memory, movement, sensation and has interaction with specific neuronal receptors
  • Requires calcium to induce excitory effect
  • High levels of glutamate in brain over stimulates NDMA receptors leading to increased Nitric Oxide production leading to neurological disorders, stroke, dementia, epilepsy, Huntingdon’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Hypoglycemia, trauma
  • Glutamic acid and glutamate act as amino acid precursors in synthesis of neurotransmitter GABA
  • Preferred respiratory furl in GI tract
  • Anti-inflammatory to GI tract
  • Conditionally essential for stress states: injury, sepsis and inflammation
  • Acts as nitrogen shuttle in blood; precursor for urinary ammonia
  • Best sources – eggs, whey protein
Glycine Used for synthesizing creatine
  • Main amino in collagen and needed in bone, skin and cartilage formation
  • Needed for maintaining joints and tendons and for tissue repair and healing
  • Can be formed from aminos Glutamine or Ornithine
  • Best sources: dairy products and eggs
  • Useful for stimulating growth hormone release
  • Helps build immune system, promote wound healing and support liver regeneration
  • Can be made from amino Arginine
  • Required for brain and central nervous system
  • Assists phospholipids in the body (in DNA and muscle building)
  • Important component of SAMe cycle (s-adenosylmethionine) critical for processes such as detoxification, gene regulation, hormone production
  • May act as neurotransmitter and modifier of nerve messaging processes, and regulation of cell cycles
  • Best sources:

Meat and dairy, wheat gluten, peanuts, soy

  • May be made in body from Glycine or Threonine (with support of B3, B6, Folic acid)
  • Tyrosine is made from amino acid phenylalanine and is direct precursor to catecholamines epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenalin), dopamine and thyroid hormones (all stimulants of metabolism and nervous system)
  • Needs folic acid, vit C, copper and S-adenosylmethionine for metabolism, into tyrosine, or into melanin, estrogen, and enkephalines (pain killers)
  • May stimulate growth hormone, be anti-depressant, control anxiety, be mild appetite suppressant, is mild anti-oxidant
  • Useful for smoker, highly stressed people, people exposed to chemicals and radiation
  • Metabolism pathways – phenylalanine + folic acid, vit C, copper and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)
  • Sulfur containing – can be made from methionine or cysteine
  • Trauma treatment – regulates heartbeat, prevents brain cell overactivity
  • Free form – does not bond to form protein
  • Required for phase 2 detoxification and bile acid conjugation reactions
  • May act as anti-oxidant
  • May regulate calcium in heart (and regulate heart beat), platelets and nervous system of pre-born children               end product of sulfur metabolism in body

Best sources

  • Highest in animal products – cheese, wild game, pork, milk, yogurt, eggs, turkey, chicken
  • High in wheatgerm, oats, chocolate   not commonly found in plants

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

Haas, E. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Healing Arts.

Bland, J., Costarella, L., Levin, B., Liska, D., Lukaczer, D., Schlitz, B., Schmidt, M., Lerman, R., Quinn, S., Jones, D. (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, Second Edition. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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