Amino acids make up a large proportion of our cells, muscles, and tissue and they play an integral part in forming our organs, glands, arteries, and muscles as well as giving cells their structure, transporting and storing nutrients. There is a total of 20 amino acids that our cells use to create new protein that the body needs for muscle growth, the production of antibodies, for the formation of hormone synthesis (blood cells). Amino acids are also vital for healing wounds and repairing tissue in the muscles, skin, bones, and hair. Of the 20 amino acids:
9 are essential amino acids, which are not produced in the body, but can be obtained in the foods we eat. They include histidine, Isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and Valine
11 are nonessential amino acids that are naturally produced in our bodies, and they include alanine, asparagine, aspartate, cysteine, glutamate, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine, and arginine
There are also non-standard protein-building amino acids found in plants and other organisms known as N-formylmethionine, selenocysteine, and pyrrolysine
Amino acids are the essential building blocks of protein, and we all know by now that your body can manufacture 11 of them as required. However, you can get the nine essential amino acids only if you include them in your diet, and without them, you run the risk of falling into a protein deficit. Therefore, in addition to certain combinations of plant proteins found in legumes such as lentils, soybean, black bean, fava bean, or chickpeas, every animal source of protein gives you all the essential amino acids your body needs for good health.
You should consequently include a variety of legumes, nuts, and seeds, animal protein such as beef, pork, turkey, chicken or eggs as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, or tuna in your daily diet to meet your day-to-day requirement for amino acids. While whole grains may provide small amounts of plant amino acids, especially for vegetarian diets, whole grain foods, such as whole wheat bread, Quinoa, whole grain pasta or long grain rice are a good source of complete protein and contain all essential amino acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals per serving when consumed regularly.
Ketogenic Amino Acids
There are two specific ketogenic amino acids in humans: Leucine and Lysine. Leucine is an essential amino acid, which our body cannot produce and we must get it from dietary sources. Together with the amino acids Isoleucine and Valine, leucine promotes muscle recovery and repair after exercise and helps burn visceral fat. It also boosts the production of growth hormones, it regulates blood sugar and provides the body with energy. Perhaps the most notable aspect of leucine is its capacity to prevent muscle loss as it’s broken down and converted to glucose faster than amino acids Isoleucine and Valine. A leucine deficiency in the body will produce similar symptoms to hypoglycemia such as fatigue, depression, headaches, dizziness, and irritability.
While leucine can be taken as a supplement and combined with branched-chain amino acids valine and isoline, the highest sources of leucine can be found in foods such as fish, pork, beef, chicken, whole wheat, beans, brown rice, various nuts and seeds, cheese, and soy flour. Ketogenic amino acids leucine is not produced in the body. Therefore, active individuals whose aim is to build muscle mass should highly consider leucine supplementation as it will provide all three of the BCAAs and include a high-protein diet in their meals for best results.
For your consideration: too much leucine in the diet or large doses of amino acids, especially with people with impaired liver or kidney function may exacerbate these conditions and they not take isoleucine without consulting a physician first. Additionally, excessive use of leucine has been linked to a condition known as pellagra, which a disease occurs as a result of vitamin B-3 deficiency (Niacin) characterized by dementia, reddened skin with superficial scaling, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Lysine is also a ketogenic amino acid that our body depends on for growth, for healthy bones, for the production of energy, as well as for the formation of collagen, cartilage, and connective tissues. Being an essential amino acid, it means that, like the nine essential amino acids, your body cannot produce it. Consequently, you must get it from a lysine-rich diet.
Ketogenic amino acid Lysine is used for various health benefits such as in the management of osteoporosis because of its ability to increase the intestinal absorption of calcium. It is also used in the treatment and prevention of cold sore, herpes infections, angina pectoris, and for improving anxiety, as well as in detoxifying the body after heroin use. Lysine contains analgesic properties that are beneficial in the treatment of various painful conditions such as migraine headaches.
According to the Institute of Medicine, you need 51 milligrams of lysine, which is approximately 2.3 grams of lysine per day for the average woman and about 2.8 grams of lysine per day for the average man. The best sources of ketogenic amino acid Lysine-rich foods are those high in protein such as beef flank steak, which has about 9 grams of lysine, chicken, which contains 2.3 grams, and pork chops, which contain 2.2 grams of lysine per serving.
While most fruits and vegetables do not contain the much-needed lysine, particularly for individuals who are vegetarian, but a vegetable such as sweet potato, which contains about 96 milligrams of lysine can be paired with a lysine-rich source of protein to help you meet the daily recommended intake of ketogenic amino acids.
You can also boost your lysine intake by consuming shrimp, Parmesan cheese, hard-boiled eggs, roasted soybeans, pumpkin seeds, white beans, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, walnuts, almonds, tofu, including legumes such as peas and lentils.
While high doses of lysine are considered safe for most people due to its slow entry into the circulation, lysine supplements have been known to cause minor side effects such as stomach pain and diarrhea including kidney disease for individuals with kidney and liver impairment.