ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS AND CONDITIONAL AMINO ACIDS: WHAT ARE THEY?
Your body needs twenty different amino acids to grow and function optimally. Although all twenty are important for your health, only nine are classified as ‘essential amino acids’, and two are classified as ‘conditional amino acids’.
Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured by the human body and must be obtained through diet or supplementation. If these amino acids are not sufficiently obtained through diet or supplementation (leading to a protein deficiency), it can result in decreased immunity, digestive problems, depression, fertility issues, lower mental alertness, slowed growth in children, and many other health issues. However, each of the essential amino acids plays a different role in the body.
Conditional amino acids are not as vital, but are essential in situations of illness and stress, and therefore play an integral role in health and vitality.
Generally, in order to attain these amino acids, we consume more manufactured protein (whey or soya) or increase dietary protein intake (meat or fish). See below the side effects of this, and why Plan A is a more successful way of directly obtaining amino acids.
ESSENTIAL & CONDITIONAL AMINO ACIDS AND VARIOUS FUNCTIONS
Essential amino acids:
- Phenylalanine: a precursor for the neurotransmitters tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It plays an integral role in the structure and function of proteins and enzymes and the production of other amino acids.
- Valine: one of the branched-chain amino acids. It enhances muscle building and recovery, and plays a key role is energy production.
- Threonine: an integral part of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, which are essential components of the skin and connective tissue. It also plays a role in fat metabolism and immune function.
- Tryptophan: needed to maintain proper nitrogen balance and is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates your appetite, sleep and mood.
- Methionine: plays an important role in metabolism and detoxification. It’s also necessary for tissue growth and the absorption of zinc and selenium, minerals that are vital for health.
- Leucine: one of the branched-chain amino acids. Critical for protein synthesis and muscle repair and recovery. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, stimulates wound healing and produces growth hormones.
- Isoleucine: the last of the branched-chain amino acids. Involved in muscle metabolism and is heavily concentrated in muscle tissue. It’s also important for immune function, haemoglobin production and energy regulation.
- Lysine: plays a major role in protein synthesis, hormone and enzyme production and calcium absorption. It’s essential for energy production, immune function and the production of collagen and elastin.
- Histidine: used to produce histamine, which is vital for healthy immune response, digestion, sexual function and sleep-wake cycles. It’s critical for maintaining the myelin sheath, a protective barrier that surrounds your nerve cells.
Conditional amino acids:
- Arginine: converted into a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow. Arginine also stimulates the release of growth hormone, insulin, and other substances in the body.
- Glutamine: plays a large role in intestinal and gut health, as well as immune functionality.
Protein is made up of smaller units called amino acids. Of the 22 different amino acids our bodies use to make protein, 8 of these amino acids are ‘essential’ which means they must come from our diets as our bodies cannot make them. Furthermore, of these 8 essential amino acids there are 3 amino acids known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). These BCAAs are named leucine, isoleucine and valine. These BCAAs are known for their anabolic functions and their ability to improve athletic performance.
KEY HEALTH BENEFITS IN A NUTSHELL
- Maximise protein synthesis
- Increase strength and endurance
- Decrease the recovery time post-workout
- Repair damaged cells, tissue, muscles and tendons
- Enhance muscle building
- Optimally utilise fat stores, enhancing weight control
- Balance and regulates hormones
- Mental health, stress and mood stability
- Accelerate the detoxification process
- Regulate the blood sugar levels
- Improve elasticity of skin (normalise intra- and extra-osmotic pressure in the body) – enhance anti-ageing
- Enhance immunity
WHO SHOULD BE CONSUMING AMINO ACIDS?
- Individuals going through physiological change (elderly people, adolescents)
- Individuals who have a particular physiological condition (for example, arthritis)
- Individuals performing in sport, or undergoing other physical stress
- Individuals hoping to increase muscle synthesis and recovery
- Individuals enduring emotional stress and hardship
- Individuals living vegan and vegetarian lifestyles / on special dietary programmes
- Individuals aiming to improve their weight management and the healthy use of fat stores
- Individuals with low immunity
- Individuals who suffer from protein deficiency
- Individuals wanting to repair and build lean body and tissue substances (muscles, skin, connective tissue, organs, the immune system, messenger substances and metabolic aids)
THE ISSUE WITH OTHER PROTEIN FORMS
As mentioned, in order to attain these amino acids, individuals often consume more manufactured protein (whey or soya) or increase dietary protein intake (meat or fish).
This poses two problems:
- The percentage of protein that is broken down into amino acids and utilised, is between 16-32%. The rest is considered nitrogen waste. Nitrogen waste puts pressure on liver and kidneys and excessive intake can lead to failure of these organs.
- According to 31 years of research by Prof. Dr. Lucà-Moretti: In order to optimally absorb these amino acids, living organisms have their very own, and very specific, amino acid pattern. In humans’ case, Moretti has discovered “Master Amino Acid Pattern” or “MAP”. Thus, all 9 essential amino acids must be present at the same time and exactly in accordance with these ratios in order to maximise our protein synthesis and muscle building. When it comes to dietary / whey / soya / other protein, amino acids are never presented in this ratio, and these forms of protein often lack key essential amino acids.
WHY PLAN A? THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM
Plan A is one of 4 products globally that has been scientifically formulated to provide the optimum amino acid ratio and pattern for humans: Plan A(MAP), providing your body with all 9 essential amino acids and 2 conditional amino acids.
- Plan A contains 99% amino acids. Meaning there is only 1% of nitrogen waste, causing little to no stress on organs.
- All 9 essential amino acids (and 2 conditional amino acids) are presented according to MAP, allowing the body to function at an optimum level, optimising muscle building.
Other key factors:
- Absorption: 23 minutes (Plan A) | 3-6 hours (other protein forms)
- Side effects: No side effects (Plan A) | Allergens and risk of organ failure (other protein forms)
- Does not require metabolism (Plan A) | Requires metabolism for the breakdown of protein into amino acids (other protein forms)
- Calories: 0.04kcal/g (Plan A) | 4kcal/g (other protein forms)
- Fat content: Fat free (Plan A) | Contains fat (other protein forms)
- Vegetarians and vegans: Suitable (Plan A) | Not suitable (other protein forms)
- Other key health benefits: Multiple (Plan A) – read about these | Little to none (other protein forms)