You can buy amino supplements, but many can also be obtained through food.

Weight-loss aids

There are five specific essential amino acids which likely have direct effects on fatty acid metabolisation and  increasing energy levels.

Tryptophan, carnitine and phenylalanine are used in various ways in the body. Carnitine is taken by many athletes looking to boost energy levels. Carnitine is actually formed in the body, and is made up of two essential amino acids, called lysine and methionine. It works by funnelling extra energy sources, particularly from fatty acids, into energy-making cells to be processed and used. This is believed to be especially useful during workout programs, helping to burn actual fat for energy rather than just carbohydrate stores.

Isoleucine and L-Leucine are also known to have a big part in energy production, and keeping the brain from feeling fatigued. This helps you push through activities, helping to burn up more of that unwanted fat.

Tryptophan and phenylalanine work in a whole other department. People usually take in extra calories made up of carbohydrates, which inevitably make it impossible to lose extra fat stores. Tryptophan shows promise, reducing cravings for sugars and carbohydrates, which helps to avoid those unnecessary calories. This works together with phenylalanine, which suppresses appetite by releasing the hormone norepinephrine.

Below, we’ll let you know which foods contain which amino acids, to help you find out if you’re getting enough or if you should be supplementing.

  • Trytophan can be found in nuts, flesh foods, cereal grains, corn, and even legumes. Foods with tryptophan are known to cause slight mood changes or even drowsiness since it is a precursor to the hormone serotonin.
  • Phenylalanine is found primarily in meat products and dairy products. It is implicated in a few ways with chemical and hormonal responses, and works most evidently in the brain.
  • Methionine is one of the most difficult essential amino acids to find in foods. It is also present in the smallest concentrations compared to the other amino acids. It is found in fish, meat and eggs only.
  • Lysine is easily available in fish, eggs, meat, and dairy products. Alone, it helps the intestine with calcium absorption – a really important one for ageing women! It also helps with bone maintenance and collagen production.
  • L-Leucine is another tough one. This amino acid can be found in whole grain products, brown rice and nuts. It is best known for preserving energy and increasing brain activity during exercise.

The best way to find out if you’re lacking any of these essential amino acids is to get tested by your physician. If you’re not eating enough of the above foods, you may want to consider using supplements to add to your diet. Filling yourself with all of the right foods, and ensuring the correct molecular basis, you can get an edge on your weight and fitness goals.

Jay is the owner of leading Australian online supplement store AminoZ,

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