Known as the important sources of proteins, amino acids are very essential to our body as they play a crucial role in the healthy functioning of our neurotransmitters as well as hormonal synthesis. We can get amino acids from our food intake and also from many government-approved food supplements. Amino acids are very helpful to our health as they are composed of various organic compounds such as oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen that are needed by our body to do its functions properly.
Although there are 20 various kinds of amino acids that are regularly needed by our body, only nine of them are considered to be essential, namely leucine, isoleucine, histidine, phenylalanine, methionine, lysine, valine, tryptophan, and threonine. To get these top amino acids, it is highly recommended to include poultry, eggs, meat and other animal proteins in your family’s daily diet,
Amino acids are important not just to ensure the health of our neurotransmitters, but also these are crucial in stimulating the growth of our muscles as well as the regeneration of cells. They are also proven to be helpful when it comes to regulating our mood, sleep, and appetite. Above all, they are essential to the production of growth hormones as well as the regulation of blood sugar levels.
As these organic compounds are scientifically proven to be important to our body, the lack of amino acids poses a very dangerous impact on our health. To help us learn more about amino acids, here are some facts about what will happen if we don’t get enough amino acids.
Common Causes of Amino Acids Deficiency
Before we explore the alarming effects of the lack of amino acids, it is important to have a look at the factors contributing to this condition. In addition to the lack of protein in the body, it can be because the body fails to appropriately digest one’s protein intake. Many research indicated that some people are having troubles breaking down protein due to inadequate hydrochloric acid which is commonly secreted in the stomach.
Another cause of amino acids deficiency is aging. According to medical studies, the acids produced in our stomach decrease by nearly 40% during the thirties and another 40% when we reach the seventies. This is why regular exercises and a balanced diet are often recommended to older adults to ensure that they will have enough supply of amino acids that are needed by the body,
Among all, many patients are diagnosed with amino acids deficiency possibly because of the regular use of antacids to alleviate stomach pains and discomfort. Experts explain that frequent antacid use affects the normal eating patterns of patients and can cause low amino acids levels. When this occurs, stomach problems, digestive complaints, bloating and heartburn are felt by the patients.
Malnutrition Due to Inadequate Protein Energy
One of the common forms of malnutrition is the undernutrition protein energy. This happens when our body did not receive the needed level of dietary protein for a long time. Even if this is more prevalent in older adults, those who are in their prime years can still be in this situation and diagnosed with protein malnutrition if they are involved in an extreme weight loss program and they fail to replace the proteins that they are losing with the exercises that they are performing. Statistics released by the Merck Manual Home Health Handbook showed that out of seven older adults in elderly communities, one is found to be suffering from protein-energy deficiency.
Health Risk of Inadequate Protein Energy
If a person suffers from a total deficiency in amino acids, his or her body will experience severe malnutrition causing its immune system to be super weak. When this happens, the body will be prone to suffer from a rare disease known as kwashiorkor. This illness is not prominent in developed countries as they have enough food resources. However, in contrast to the situation in developed nations, the health condition is more likely to occur in developing as well as underdeveloped countries as challenges with food distribution are just common.
How will you know if you are suffering from kwashiorkor? Severe shortage of amino acids supply in our body will result in symptoms. Among these are muscle mass decrease, skin or hair color changes, weight loss, and diarrhea. Other alarming symptoms include the body’s failure to recover from another illness or even infection as well as having an enlarged liver. To confirm that a person has developed the condition, medical experts will conduct a series of blood test to see his or her blood cell levels and blood protein levels.
Other Effects of the Lack of Amino Acids
In addition to malnutrition and kwashiorkor, the lack of amino acids will also result in other health conditions. One visible sign of having low amino acids supply is the lack of a person’s immunity to common colds. A study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of New Hampshire indicated that amino acids deficiency can cause a person to experience unusual fatigue. Above all, it is also possible that this condition may cause some areas of the body such as the abdomen, feet, and hands to swell.
Lack of Amino Acids: How to Resolve It
To recover from this condition, the initial step is for us is to boost our daily diet with foods that are rich in amino acids such as fish and lean meat. Regularly eating or drinking dairy products will also help you recover from amino acids deficiency.
For vegetarians and vegans, amino acids can be obtained from nuts, soy products, soybeans, tofu, and dried beans. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Daily Food Plan, to have sufficient amino acids, a person should have around 50 milligrams of proteins on a daily basis. This recommendation, of course, varies from age and activity level. So for instance, it is just safe to increase your daily intake of foods that are rich in amino acids as you age as you become more at prone to this condition as time passes by.