What are the functions of other amino acids?
Lysine ranks among the essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own. It is therefore necessary to ensure its intake from either diet and supplements. This amino acid is one of the basic building blocks of proteins, from which muscles and other bodily tissues are formed. Thus, it is directly connected to the growth and protection of muscle mass, which is important for any physical activity or athletic performance. Most often, it is used in combination with other essential amino acids in the form of a post-workout drink.
The amino acid called citrulline is able to transform in the body into arginine, which is the precursor of nitric oxide. This plays a key role in the widening of blood vessels and thus promoting the blood supply to the muscles. Thanks to this, it promotes the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles, and the effective removal of metabolic waste products. This can result in better regeneration and makes citrulline a popular part of pre-workout drinks that support performance.
Citrulline together with arginine and ornithine are a key part of the urea cycle, which is involved in the natural detoxification of the body. These amino acids partake in breaking down excess ammonia, whose levels increase, for example, during high intensity sports activity. As you may know, elevated levels of ammonia are connected with increased fatigue. Thus, these amino acids can help delay the decline in performance.
Taurine is a common part of energy drinks, as it can affect both physical and mental performance. It is naturally found in the brain and muscles, where it plays in important role in processes related to their function. When talking about mental performance, one should mention tyrosine, which is a precursor to thyroid hormones, as well as dopamine and adrenaline. These two compounds are particularly important for managing stressful situations, concentration, but also for inducing a sense of satisfaction and good mood. This is also the reason why tyrosine ranks among popular nootropics, which are used to support brain functions such as memory and thinking.
Next is the essential amino acid tryptophan, which affects the mood, sense of satisfaction, and sleep. This is because it is a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is closely linked with these areas. Theanine, in turn, is known for its relaxing effects on the whole body. It acts synergistically with caffeine, and it can even reduce its rapid onset of action. This is sure to be appreciated by individuals who are more sensitive to caffeine.
Cysteine and glycine are then necessary for the production of one of the most important antioxidants, called glutathione. This helps protect the cells of our body from oxidative stress. In this regard, we should mention the amino acid carnosine, which also boasts antioxidant effects.
Due to their wide range of effects, these compounds are a popular part of supplements for athletes, but also for the people who would like to support their physical and mental performance.