Amino Acids and Their Relationship with Fat Burning
As well as vitamins, minerals, and of course our good friends "macros", amino acids
play a very important role in controlling weight. If we're going up or down on the scales it generally depend on our hormones and how we've managed to control them.
I know what you're thinking, you’re already concentrating so much on calories, protein, fat (and what types) that you don’t want to be measuring something else.
True - we’d rather eat and not measure - and I promise I’ll come back to that in a future post, but when you’re serious about your body shape then you do have to look at the deeper aspects and look to supplements your diet.
Essential or non-essential amino acids
Briefly, there are three amino acids covered in this article but they fall into two types of acids - they are either essential or non-essential. An essential amino acid
is called so since our bodies don’t produce this so we must eat food that contain it. Non-essential are aminos that our body does produce as normal (I have also referenced a semi-essential amino, we produce these but it helps if we have more through our foods).
Certain amino acids do certain things - and lead to certain results. For example, one important hormone that helps us to systematically burn fat is somatotropin which is produced when we sleep (we always advocate a good eight hours per night!). Studies have shown that overweight people have less somatotropin concentrations and this can stop any attempt at weight loss, however significant.
The downside to this is, to help, somatotropin would have to be medically administered and it can be really expensive. The upside is that we can stimulate this hormone if we consume certain amino acids - again, because somatotropin is mostly secreted overnight you should try to use these amino acids in the evening, and preferably on an empty stomach.
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Supplementing with amino acids can help your body physique goals[/caption]
Amino acids for ‘fat burning’
Arginine, glutamine and methionine have been shown to encourage the overnight release of somatotropin so it can help if these are added to your diet.
This is a semi-essential amino acid involved in many metabolic processes and whose main function helps with circulation, strengthen your immune system, and help heal wounds (it is also known to increase male libido). It also helps to reduce insulin resistance (one of the most important hormones that needs to be controlled in any weight loss strategy) and helps to build tolerance to glucose.
If you are type 2 diabetic it may also be of interest to note that arginine will increase insulin sensitivity for you. As if to further promote the benefits of this amino acid, through detoxifying ammonia - I promise this is the most technical I get - as part of the urea cycle it helps to promote sleep as well. You should note that this is also not risky to worry about taking too much as this amino is released over time rather than having an immediate effect.
Glutamine can be produced by the body and will be found as the highest amino in blood plasma and amongst other parts of your body. Glutamine becomes more important in later life as the production of it decreases with age and therefore a supplement can be recommended as you get older.
Glutamine also promotes a healthy immune system and most relevant to this article it combats against fat storage. In your kidneys it is converted to glucose without having an effect on insulin levels (when you eat foods - especially sugars and starchy carbohydrates - to give you energy it spikes insulin levels and this leads to increased fat storage) so glutamine is able to provide you with energy without starting your body on the road to keeping hold of your fat.
A final positive side effect of glutamine is that it has been shown to have a calming effect on patients in stressful situations and can help with longer, more focussed levels of concentration - and again a better sleep.
Methionine is classed as an essential amino acid (cannot be produced in the human body) - as with other EAA this means that you must eat to get your supply of this. Methionine has a fat-dissolving effect and helps spot reduce fat in the liver by blocking fat being deposited here.
It helps in the process of creating other proteins (carnitine, also showing fat burning studies, and melatonine, again this helps promote a good sleep cycle). Methionine is one of the least important of the three which is why you are freely able to buy glutamine and arginine as supplements (though you will most likely get methionine as an addition to any BCAA
What’s your options for amino acids?
Eggs are great and contain the building blocks of life (quite literally) and can be whipped up and eaten any time of the day. If you fancy a change, beef, fish and cheese all contain a wide variety of amino acids.
If you’re in a hurry then there is always the option to supplement
these in the same way you might with a vitamin pill. Either way, a wide varied diet of animal proteins and real foods will help you get what you need as a good base.