Amino acids are the structural units that make up proteins.
9 of the 20 standard amino acids are called “essential” for humans because they cannot be created from other compounds by the human body, and so must be taken in as food. Others may be conditionally essential for certain ages or medical conditions.
Amino Acids and Blood Sugar Regulation As indicated above, amino acids play a functional role in blood sugar stabilization. Of the twenty amino acids the glycogenic amino acids play a significant role in this function. A glycogenic amino acid (also referred to as glucogenic amino acid) is defined as one that can be converted into glucose via gluconeogenesis.7, 8 The glycogenic amino acids in humans include glycine, serine, threonine, valine, histidine, arginine, cysteine, proline, alanine, glutamate, glutamine, aspartate, asparagine and methionine.
Amino Acids and Muscle Integrity
Amino acids serve as both building blocks for muscle protein, as well as a source of energy for skeletal muscle. Dietary amino acid supplementation is known to have beneficial effects on muscle function, fatigue, and recovery in exercising athletes. The combination of carbohydrates and essential amino acids has demonstrated a beneficial effect on muscle protein synthesis, which was shown to be greater than the summation of their individual effects. Amino acids have also shown to benefit muscular fatigue as a result of exercise, resulting in favorable changes, including an increased oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.
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