domenica 27 novembre 2011

Amino Acid Supplementation for Weight Loss?

protein_molecule.jpgGlutamine, carnitine, tryptophan, phenylalanine all sound like scientific and potent chemicals. But, these are simply amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins.

Amino acids are popping up in weight loss supplements everywhere now. Are these concentrated amino acids helpful with weight loss or is it just a marketing hoax?

Carnitine: This is technically not an amino acid. However, it is made from two amino acids. The theory with carnitine is that since it is needed for fat metabolism to occur, if we have extra, fat metabolism will occur at a faster rate. This is not necessarily true. If you have extra, you are not going to burn more fat. However, if you are deficient supplementation will likely be effective. Glutamine: This is one of the most abundant and nonessential amino acids in the body. Again, if glutamine is so plentiful, why would supplementation improve the body's processes? The only possible case for supplementation would be in extreme body building athletes and trauma or burn patients. Glutamine is crucial in the muscle building and repair process and not so much for weight management.Tryptophan: This is said to help reduce cravings, especially for carbohydrates. This is interesting because tryptophan is needed to make serotonin. So, by supplementing, will we have increased serotonin levels and be happy people without a care in the world for those desirable carbohydrates? More research is needed, but I don't believe this is the case because the tryptophan to serotonin conversion is not very efficient.Phenylalanine and Tyrosine: These amino acids help to increase catecholamine production like norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. Since these are stress hormones, they could possibly help to decrease appetite. Leucine: This amino acid is a building block of proteins and is a very popular supplement for its ability to possibly maintain and build muscle mass. There are some small studies that have also shown leucine as an appetite suppressant and body fat reducer. Is more really better? That is the real question here. The average healthy person should have plenty of amino acids for proper metabolism and catecholamine production. No major studies have been done that show any of these amino acids to be beneficial for weight loss through supplementation. The only significant studies have shown glutamine to be beneficial for burn and trauma patients when decided on by their doctor. We get all the amino acids we need from animal and plant proteins in a balanced diet.

Do you supplement with amino acids, and if so, for what reasons?

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