When vegetarianism first became a mainstream phenomenon, proponents argued that protein—an essential nutrient—doesn’t have to come from meat. Instead, they can also come from vegetables. While this is true, of course, it soon became common knowledge that most vegetable protein lacked one or more of the amino acids.
In contrast, proteins from sources like animal meat were regarded as complete proteins because they provided all the 20 amino acids, including the essential ones. Soon enough, vegetarians started drinking liquid amino acids, and others followed suit when it was found that sometimes even meat-eaters lacked sufficient amino acids in their diets as well.
Different Kinds of Liquid Amino Acids
Amino acids can be classified into two categories:
- Essential amino acids. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
- Non-essential amino acids. These include alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
Essential amino acids have to be part of the diet, which is why liquid amino acids became popular. Meanwhile, the non-essential amino acids are those that the body can produce itself.
The Benefits of Liquid Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of our tissues and organs. In fact, certain amino acids have been associated with various functions.
- The amino acids histidine and alanine combine into carnosine, which acts as an antioxidant to fight free radicals that cause cell damage.
- Tryptophan is a relaxant that helps promote sound sleeping.
- Valine helps in blood circulation and encourages the growth and maintenance of muscles.
- Leucine and isoleucine are also important for muscle maintenance and growth.
- Phenylalanine helps make you more alert, and also acts as a mild appetite suppressant which can help those who want to lose weight.
- Lysine is good for cold sores.
- Cysteine is an antioxidant that helps keep your hair healthy.
- Glutamine and glutamic acid are great for your muscles, immune system, and intestinal health.
- Alanine is required for the production of cellular energy.
- Proline is important for collagen production.
- Tyrosine boosts brain functions, and also helps stabilize your moods.
Possible Liquid Amino Acid Side Effects
The problem with raw amino acid supplements is that there is very little that we know about them. No one has yet come up with a definitive safe dosage, and there is very little data concerning their long term effects. It is known, however, that among body builders the combination of high protein intake and the additional intake of amino acid supplements can put stress on the kidneys.
Lysine supplements should also not be taken with milk.
For these reasons, many health experts recommend that pregnant women and those with serious ailments should consult a doctor first before taking amino acid supplements. Additionally, you should consume only the recommended dose, and long term consumption should be done only with the doctor’s approval.
Most people try to find out to the minutest details about their protein, carb, and fat intake when they’re on a diet. They also pay attention to their vitamin and mineral levels. The reality is that amino acids hardly get enough attention, even though they’re just as important in keeping us healthy.
The best way we’ve found to supplement your amino acid intake is by drinking a well balanced protein shake that contains all of the essential and non-essential amino acids. In liquid form, amino acid supplements are absorbed by the body much more quickly than those that come from solid food like meat. This means that you get the benefits faster and more completely.
By choosing a good quality protein shake, you get the main benefits of liquid amino acids, but in a safe (follow the instructions on the label or from a professional) easy to use form.