There are many types of amino acids, all of which are necessary for building proteins in our bodies and for sustaining life. Broadly speaking, amino acids are typically grouped into essential, non-essential and conditional amino acids.
However, basic and acidic amino acids are subcategories that many are unaware of. Basic amino acids are those amino acids that have basic side chains ‒ which means they can accept a proton ‒ at a neutral pH.
Let’s take a look at the three basic amino acids and the role they each play.
Arginine is a non-essential basic amino acid, which means that the human body can manufacture it even when it is not attained through one’s diet, although supplements are often taken to boost the amount in the body. Arginine is also categorized as a conditional amino acid, which means that it is not usually essential but the body might need more of it when one is sick or suffering some form of stress.
Arginine promotes the release of a growth hormone and insulin, among other substances; however, it is most commonly used to promote better blood circulation. When ingested, it is converted by the body into nitric oxide, which is known to widen blood vessels. Owing to this effect, it can be used to treat erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, chest pain and other blood flow related issues.
Histidine is an essential amino acid, which means that the body cannot produce it independently and must therefore acquire sufficient quantities of it through one’s diet.
Histidine is a key player in the growth and repair of damaged tissues addition; it makes new blood cells, protects nerve cells and even produces histamine. Histamine is an immune-response chemical released by white blood cells to defend against potential allergens.
It can be taken to treat various conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cholera, allergic diseases, ulcers and kidney problems.
It is possible to overdose on histidine if taken alone for extended periods. Therefore, it is generally advised to be taken as part of a carefully balanced multi-amino acid supplement regimen.
Lysine is also an essential amino acid. However, like histidine, it needs to be sourced from one’s diet because the human body cannot manufacture it.
Lysine is highly beneficial for promoting muscle growth and helps produce carnitine, a critical chemical for energy production in the body.
A lysine deficiency might lead to decreased muscle growth and strength, as well as lowered energy levels. Lysine is also commonly used to treat cold sores.
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