Alpha hydroxy acids
Ampoules & serums
Anatomy of the skin
High protein diets
Know your fats
Vitamins & minerals
RDA vs ODI
Articles of interest
Effects of the
Fact or fallacy
To take or not to take
WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS
acids are the building blocks of proteins. Each protein consists of a
specific number of different amino acids arranged in a way which is characteristic
of that protein. Proteins are broken down into their constituent amino
acids by digestion and it is in this form that they are absorbed through
the intestinal wall.
There are two types of amino acids, essential and non-essential. The essential
amino acids are obtained from eating proteins in food, and the non-essential
amino acids which can be manufactured by the body.
A diet lacking in even one of these amino acids can be detrimental to one's health.
Stress, infection, trauma, age and some medications may also put one's amino
acids out of balance. Scientists are only just beginning to understand how these
chemical compounds work and whether or not amino acid supplements can be beneficial
for certain conditions.
There are some 80 different amino acids but only 20 are found in protein. Humans
can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids. The others must be supplied in the food.
Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, those that
we cannot make, results in degradation of the body's proteins (muscle) to obtain
the one amino acid that is needed. Unlike fat and starch, the human body does
not store excess amino acids for later use—the amino acids must be in the
food every day.
FIRST CLASS PROTEIN
This is the name given to protein foods which contain all the essential amino
acids in the correct proportions. They are derived almost entirely from animal
sources and include:
Meat, milk, fish, eggs and soya beans
SECOND CLASS PROTEIN
These do not contain all the amino acids in the correct proportions; they are
mainly of vegetable origin and can be found in peas, beans and lentils, called Pulses.
A variable proportion of protein is to be found in other vegetables and in some
carbohydrate foods, such as bread and potatoes.
Functions of amino acids
1. Growth and repair of body cells and tissues
2. Synthesis of hormones, enzymes, plasma proteins and antibodies (immunoglobulins)
3. Provision of energy, normally a secondary function, but becomes important
only when there is not enough carbohydrate in the diet and fat stores are depleted.
Another reason to avoid low carb diets like the Atkins Diet. Remember: The Atkins
Diets is NOT a high protein diet - it's a low carb diet. See also 'High
When protein is eaten in excess of the body's needs, the nitrogenous part is
detached and excreted by the kidneys and the reminder is converted to fat for
storage in the fat depots, eg in the fat cells of adipose tissue.
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Histidine l Isoleucine l Leucine l Lysine l Methionine l Phenylelanine l Threonine l Tryptophan l Valine
Is found abundantly in hemoglobin; has been used in the treatment of rheumatoid
arthritis, allergies, ulcers and anemia; is essential for the growth and repair
of tissues; important for the maintenance of the myelin sheaths, which protect
nerve cells; is needed for the production of both red and white blood cells;
protects the body from radiation damage; increases activity of T cells - helpful
in AIDS/HIV treatments; lowers blood pressure, aids in the removal of heavy metals
from the body; aids in sexual arousal.
*Essential only in children - non essential in adults
Found in: Dairy, meat, poultry and fish are good sources of histidine as well
wheat and rye.
Is needed for hemoglobin formation; stabilizes and regulates blood sugar and
energy levels; is valuable to athletes because it aids in the healing and repair
of muscle tissue, skin and bones; has been found to be deficient in people suffering
from certain mental and physical disorders.
Found in: Almonds, cashews, chicken, eggs, fish, lentils, liver, meat
Works with Isoleucine and Valine to promote the healing of muscle tissue, skin,
and bones; is recommended for those recovering from surgery; lowers blood sugar
levels; aids in increasing growth hormone production.
Found in: Protein foods, as well as brown rice, beans, nuts and whole wheat.
Needed for growth, tissue repair and production of antibodies, hormones & enzymes;
ensures adequate calcium absorption and maintains a proper nitrogen balance in
adults; helps form collagen (which makes up cartilage and connective tissue);
aids in the production of antibodies which have the ability to fight cold sores
and herpes outbreaks; lowers high serum triglyceride levels; assists in building
muscle mass; increases concentration
NOT SUITABLE FOR KIDS
Found in: Cheese, eggs, lima beans, potatoes, milk,
meat and brewer's yeast.
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A powerful anti-oxidant and a good source of sulfur, which prevents disorders
of the hair, skin, and nails; assists the breakdown of fats, thus helping to
prevent a buildup of fat in the liver and arteries; helps to detoxify harmful
agents such as lead and other heavy metals; helps diminish muscle weakness; protects
against the affects of radiation; beneficial for women who take oral contraceptives
because it promotes the excretion of estrogen; reduces the level of histamine
in the body which can cause the brain to relay wrong messages; helpful to individuals
suffering from schizophrenia; regulates nervous system; Prevents tumours when
taken with CHOLINE & FOLIC ACID;
Needed for biosynthesis of taurine & cysteine.
Found in: Meat, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions,
yogurt and seeds
It is available in three different forms - L-, D- and DL-. The L- form is the
most common and the type in which it is incorporated into the body's proteins.
The D- form acts as a painkiller and the DL- a combination of the two.
Used by the brain to produce norepinephrine, a chemical that transmits signals
between nerve cells in the brain; promotes alertness and vitality; elevates mood;
decreases pain; aids memory and learning; used to treat arthritis, depression,
menstrual cramps, migraines, obesity, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia;
controls appetite and addictions.
Found in dairy products, almonds, avocados, lima beans, peanuts and seeds.
DL – Phenylelanine: Stimulates endorphin production - reduces pain;
Natural painkiller - good for migraine, neuralgia & cramps. NOT THE SAME
AS L – PHENYLALANINE
Helps maintain proper protein balance in the body; is important for the formation
of collagen, elastin and tooth enamel; aids liver and Lipotropic function when
combined with Aspartic Acid and Methionine; prevents the buildup of fat in the
liver; assists metabolism and assimilation.
Found in: Meats, dairy and eggs, as well as in lower quantities in wheat germ,
nuts, beans and some vegetables.
Helps make serotonin & melatonin - which affect mood and sleep; a natural
relaxant, helps alleviate insomnia by inducing normal sleep; reduces anxiety
and depression and stabilizes mood; helps in the treatment of migraine headaches
helps the immune system function properly; aids in weight control by reducing
appetite; enhances the release of growth hormones; helps control hyperactivity
in children; reduces sensitivity to pain; reduces cravings for alcohol;
Insomnia - 500mg Tryptophan + Vit B6, B3 & Magnesium 1hr before bedtime
* Try eating tryptophan-rich foods like turkey, milk or avocados next time you
suffer from insomnia. 5-HTP is a form of tryptophan that may
also help insomnia
Reduce anxiety and panic – take between meals (no protein)
NOTE: People with kidney problems, diabetes or PKU need to be cautious about
adding certain proteins and amino acids to their diets.
Found in: Cottage cheese, meat, soy protein and
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Is needed for muscle metabolism and co-ordination, tissue repair, and for the
maintenance of proper nitrogen balance in the body; used as an energy source
by muscle tissue; helpful in treating liver and gallbladder disease; promotes
mental vigor and calm emotions.
Found in: Dairy, meat, grain, mushrooms, soy and
NON - ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Alanine l Arginine l Asparagine l Aspartic
Acid l Cysteine l Glutamic Acid l Glutamine l Glycine l Proline l Serine l Tyrosine
Plays a major role in the transfer of nitrogen from peripheral tissue to the
liver; aids in the metabolism of glucose, a simple carbohydrate that the body
uses for energy; guards against the buildup of toxic substances that are released
into muscle cells when muscle protein is broken down quickly to meet energy needs,
such as what happens with aerobic exercise; strengthens the immune system by
Found in: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Some protein-rich plant
foods like avocado also supply alanine.
Considered ''The Natural Viagra" by increasing blood flow to the penis;
retards the growth of tumors and cancer by enhancing the immune system; increases
the size and activity of the thymus gland, which manufactures T cells, crucial
components of the immune system; aids in liver detoxification by neutralizing
ammonia; reduces the effects of chronic alcohol toxicity; used in treating sterility
in men by increasing sperm count; aids in weight loss because it facilitates
an increase in muscle mass and a reduction of body fat; assists the release of
growth hormones, which is crucial for "optimal" muscle growth and tissue
repair; is a major component of collagen which is good for arthritis and connective
tissue disorders; aids in stimulating the pancreas to release insulin.
Found in: Whole-wheat, nuts, seeds, peanuts, brown rice, popcorn, soy, raisins,
Involved in the transport of nitrogen; essential to all living cells for the
production of many proteins; involved in the metabolic control of cell functions
in nerve and brain tissue; helps maintain an equilibrium of the central nervous
system; metabolic control of the brain and nervous system; active in converting
one amino acid into another (amination and transamination) when the need arises
- especially in the liver; important in the metabolism of toxic ammonia in the
Both asparagine and glutamine are made with high-energy ATP and can return this
energy when they metabolize back to aspartic acid and glutamic acid respectively.
Both require vitamin B6 and enzymes for their formation.
Found in: Dairy, beef, poultry and eggs
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Increases stamina and is good for chronic fatigue and depression; rejuvenates
cellular activity, cell formation and metabolism, which gives you a younger looking
appearance; protects the liver by aiding the expulsion of ammonia; combines with
other amino acids to form molecules that absorb toxins and remove them from the
bloodstream; helps facilitate the movement of certain minerals across the intestinal
lining and into the blood and cells; aids the function of RNA and DNA, which
are carriers of genetic information; helps with symptoms of drug withdrawal.
DO NOT TAKE WITH PROTEINS ie milk, cheese, meat etc. Best taken of empty stomach.
Found in: Dairy, beef, poultry, sprouting seeds
Functions as a powerful anti-oxidant in detoxifying harmful toxins; protects
the body against X-ray and radiation damage; protects the liver and brain from
damage due to alcohol, drugs, and toxic compounds found in cigarette smoke; may
reverse damages done by smoking and alcohol; has been used to treat rheumatoid
arthritis and hardening of the arteries; promotes the recovery from severe burns
and surgery; promotes the burning of fat and the building of muscle; repairs
DNA therefore slows down the aging process. Skin and hair is made up of 10-14%
*Best absorbed in the form of N-acetyl-L-cysteine.
The body can synthesize cysteine from the amino acid methionine but is also found
in high protein foods such as poultry, wheat, broccoli, eggs as well as garlic,
onions and red peppers.
Is an excitatory neurotransmitter for the central nervous system, the brain and
spinal cord; important in the metabolism of sugars and fats; aids in the transportation
of potassium into the spinal fluid; acts as fuel for the brain; helps correct
personality disorders, and is used in the treatment of epilepsy, mental retardation,
muscular dystrophy, and ulcers.
Found in: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, as well as some protein-rich
The most abundant amino acid found in muscles; helps build and maintain muscle
tissue; helps prevent muscle wasting that can accompany prolonged bed rest or
diseases such as cancer and AIDS; a "brain fuel" that increases brain
function and mental activity; assists in maintaining the proper acid/alkaline
balance in the body; promotes a healthy digestive tract; helps heal peptic ulcers;
shortens the healing time of ulcers and alleviates fatigue, depression and impotence;
decreases sugar cravings and the desire for alcohol; recently used in the treatment
Found in: Fish, meat, beans, and dairy as well as in vegetables such as raw parsley
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Stimulates pituitary gland function; helps treat muscular dystrophy; improves
glycogen storage, thus freeing up glucose for energy needs; promotes a healthy
prostate, central nervous system, and immune system; useful for repairing damaged
tissue and promotes healing.
Found in: Fish, meat, beans, and dairy products.
Improves skin texture by aiding the production of collagen and reducing the loss
of collagen through the aging process; helps in the healing of cartilage and
the strengthening of joints, tendons, and heart muscle; works with Vitamin C
to promote healthy connective tissues.
Found in: Meat sources.
Needed for the proper metabolism of fats and fatty acids, the growth of muscle,
and the maintenance of a healthy immune system; is a component of the protective
myelin sheaths that cover nerve fibers; is important in RNA & DNA function
and cell formation; aids in the production of immunoglobulins and antibodies.
Found in: Meats and dairy products, wheat gluten, peanuts as well as soy products.
Is important to overall metabolism; is a precursor of adrenaline, nor epinephrine,
and dopamine, which regulate mood and stimulates metabolism and the nervous system;
acts as a mood elevator, suppresses the appetite, and helps reduce body fat;
aids in the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for hair and skin
color) and in the functions of the adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary glands; has
been used to help chronic fatigue, narcolepsy, anxiety, depression, low sex drive,
allergies and headaches; reduces emotional PMS; helps in treatment of addiction & withdrawals
from cocaine and other addictive
Found in: Meat, dairy, eggs as well as almonds, avocados and bananas are good
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Vitamins and minerals
RDA vs ODI
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