Amino acids

Amino acids are chemical entities that generate proteins. In human body, many of the amino acids are synthesized in liver. However, some of them can not be synthesized in the body, so people must receive them from food.

Apart from the fact that amino acids form proteins that are included as a compound of tissues and organs of the human body, some of them:
  • play role of neurotransmitters or represent their precursors; 
  • amino acids contribute to the fact that vitamins and minerals adequately perform their functions; 
  • some amino acids directly supply energy to muscle tissue; 
  • amino acids are involved in enzymatic reactions, metabolism of many biological substances, immune reactions, detoxification processes, perform a regulatory function, and so on. 

Function of basic amino acids:

Amino acids (12 indicators): alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, citrulline, glutamic acid, glycine, methionine, ornithine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, valine, relation - leucine / isoleucine. 

Alanine normalizes metabolism of carbohydrates. It is an integral part of such essential nutrients as pantothenic acid and coenzyme A. Alanine inhibits growth of tumors, including cancer, due to stimulation of the immune system of the body. It increases the activity and increases the size of the thymus gland, which produces T-lymphocytes. It promotes detoxification processes in liver (primarily neutralization of ammonia). 

Arginine is an essential component of metabolism in the muscle tissue. It helps to maintain optimum nitrogen balance in the body, as it is involved in transportation and deactivation of excess nitrogen in the body 

Asparagine is an aspartic acid amide. Through the formation of asparagine from aspartic acid, toxic ammonia is bound in the body. Aspartic acid in the organism is present as part of proteins and in free form. It plays an important role in metabolism of nitrogenous substances. It participates in formation of pyrimidine bases, urea. The biological effect of aspartic acid: immunomodulatory, increases physical endurance, normalizes balance of excitation and inhibition in the CNS and so on. 

Citrulline is an amino acid that is not part of proteins; it is produced by liver as a byproduct in the biosynthesis of arginine and conversion of ammonia into urea. With pathologically elevated level it has a toxic effect. Children with congenital deficiency of one of the enzymes which serve for chemical cleavage of proteins in urine (as a consequence of this, accumulation of ammonia and amino acid of citrulline in blood occurs) are poorly developed, in addition, they have pronounced retardation. 

Glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter, conveying the impulses into the central nervous system. This amino acid plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and promotes calcium penetration through the blood-brain barrier. Glutamic acid can be used by brain cells as a source of energy, it also detoxifies ammonia, removing nitrogen atoms in process of formation of other amino acid - glutamine. This process is the only way to neutralize the ammonia in the brain. 

Glycine retards muscle degeneration, as it is a source of creatine which is a substance contained in muscle tissue and used in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Glycine is required for synthesis of nucleic acids, bile acids and nonessential amino acids in body. It serves as inhibitory neurotransmitter and thus can prevent epileptic seizures. 

Methionine is an essential amino acid that helps processing of fats, preventing their deposition in liver and arteries parietes. Synthesis of taurine and cysteine depends on the amount of methionine in the body. This amino acid stimulates digestion, provides detoxification processes (primarily neutralization of toxic metals), reduces muscle weakness, protects against radiation, it is useful when osteoporosis and chemical allergies. 

Ornithine promotes release of growth hormone, which helps fat burning in the body. This effect is enhanced by use of ornithine combined with arginine and carnitine. Ornithine is also required for the immune system and liver function, participating in detoxification process and restoration of liver cells. 

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. In the body, it can be converted into another amino acid - tyrosine, which in turn is used in the synthesis of two major neurotransmitters: dopamine and noradrenaline. Therefore, this amino acid affects mood, decreases pain, improves memory and learning ability, suppresses appetite. Phenylalanine is used in treatment of arthritis, depression, pain associated with menstruation, migraines, obesity, Parkinson disease. 

Tyrosine is a precursor to neurotransmitters of noradrenaline and dopamine. This amino acid is involved in regulation of mood, lack of tyrosine leads to a deficiency of noradrenaline, which in turn leads to depression. Tyrosine suppresses appetite, promotes to reduce fat deposits, helps to produce melatonin and improves functions of adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands. Tyrosine is also involved in metabolism of phenylalanine. Thyroid hormones are formed by joining iodine atoms to tyrosine. 

Valine is an essential amino acid, it has a stimulating effect. Valine is required for metabolism in muscle, repair of damaged tissues and to maintain normal metabolism of nitrogen in the body. It refers to branched amino acids, and this means that it can be used by muscles as a source of energy. Valine is often used for correction of marked deficits of amino acids, resulting from addiction to medicinal drugs. Excessively high levels of valine may cause symptoms such as paresthesia (tingling sensation on the skin), up to hallucinations. 

Isoleucine is one of the essential amino acids required for synthesis of hemoglobin. Also it stabilizes and regulates blood sugar and energy processes. Isoleucine metabolism occurs in the muscle tissue. Isoleucine is one of the three branched amino acids. Isoleucine is needed in case of many mental illnesses, lack of this amino acid leads to appearance of symptoms compatible with hypoglycemia. 

Leucine is an essential amino acid, which relates to the three branched amino acids. Acting together, they protect muscle tissue and represent a source of energy, as well as contribute to restoration of bones, skin, muscles, so administration of them is often recommended in the recovery period after injuries and operations. Leucine also slightly lowers the level of sugar in blood and stimulates growth hormone release. Excess of leucine may increase the amount of ammonia in body. 

Amino acid deficiency leads to the failure of all the synthetic processes in the body, particularly rapidly regenerating systems suffer acutely (reproductive system, humoral system, red bone marrow, etc.). 

Analysis of amino acids (urine and blood plasma) is an indispensable means for assessing the sufficiency and extent of absorption of dietary protein, and metabolic imbalance that underlies many chronic disorders. 

Inherited disorders which occur in change of concentrations of amino acids and acylcarnitines, represent one of the most numerous and heterogeneous groups of diseases of metabolism (phenylketonuria, tyrosinemia, histidinemia, hyperglycinemia and so on). The significance of accurate laboratory diagnosis of these diseases is determined by the fact that their various forms often have similar clinical picture, which complicates the diagnosis on clinical stage. 

Excessive accumulation (due to metabolic disorders or other causes) of many amino acid has toxicity effect: homocysteine, citrulline, phenylalanine, valine, etc. 


L-carnitine is a vitamin-like compound that is present in the body of all mammal species; it relates to fundamental indispensable substances, as plays a major role in transport of fatty acids into mitochondria. It is involved in transport of long chain fatty acids into mitochondrial matrix, in regulation of metabolism of middle-chain acyl-CoA and acyl-CoA with branched hydrocarbon chain, as well as in reactions of conjugation with xenobiotics. It is one of the main factors involved in the synthesis of ATP. 

Use of L-carnitine in complex therapy of a wide range of diseases is described. However, the majority of clinical studies at the present time are aimed at use of L-carnitine in complex therapy of cardiovascular disease, increase in physical endurance, treatment of Alzheimer disease and age-senile dementia, kidney disease and at hemodialysis. 

In mammals, the main pool of carnitine is presented by nonesterified L-carnitine and its esters (acylcarnitines). 
Arrival process of fatty acids into mitochondria consists of three phases.
Free fatty acids present in cytosol, can not pass through the mitochondrial membrane. They can get into the mitochondrial matrix, where their oxidation occurs, only after they undergo a series of enzymatic conversion of a three-stage process. 

The first stage of these transformations is performed by acyl-CoA synthetase - enzymes present in the outer mitochondrial membrane. These enzymes catalyze the reaction, during which thioether bond occurs between the carboxyl group of fatty acid and a thiol group of coenzyme A, i.e., CoA derivatives of fatty acids are produced; while ATP is cleaved to AMP and inorganic phosphate. 

CoA esters of fatty acids can not penetrate through the inner membrane of mitochondria. However, on the outer surface of the inner membrane there is an enzyme - carnitineacyltransferase I, which catalyzes the reaction, which is a second phase of the transfer of fatty acids into mitochondria. Compound ethers of L-carnitine and fatty acids are able to pass through the inner mitochondrial membrane and penetrate into the mitochondrial matrix. In contrast to CoA esters of fatty acids they contain not thioester, but oxygen ester bond. 
On the third and last stage of the entry process of fatty acids into the mitochondria, the residue of fatty acid (acyl group) is transferred from L-carnitine to intramitochondrial CoA involving carnitineacyltransferase II. This form of the enzyme is localized on the inner surface of the inner mitochondrial membrane; there regeneration of CoA derivatives of fatty acids takes place, and therefrom they enter into mitochondrial matrix. Now CoA esters of fatty acids are ready for their fatty acid component to be subjected to oxidation by a series of specific enzymes in the matrix of mitochondria. 

25% of daily maintenance of carnitine is produced in our body from lysine and methionine, vitamins (C, В3 and B6) and iron. Deficit of any of these substances leads to deficiency of carnitine. 

Signs of deficiency of L-carnitine:

In case of deficiency of L-carnitine the ability of cells to synthesize ATP is reduced, which is the main source of cellular energy in the body. 

Reduction of working ability, fatigue, general weakness. 
  • Muscle weakness. 
  • Reduction of muscle tone. 
  • Depression, apathy, decreased mood 
  • Violation of functions of heart, liver, kidneys and other organs and systems. 
  • Developmental lag in children, detraction, decrease in learning, passive behavior. 
  • Increase of cholesterol and fatty acids in blood levels 

Sufficient level of L-carnitine is particularly important: 
  • At elevated emotional and mental work load; 
  • At increased physical activity. Especially for adequate operation of myocardium and skeletal muscles, as fatty acid oxidation is the main way of energy generation in these tissues. 

For athletes: 
  • Increases production of energy by the body, thereby reducing fatigue, improves working efficiency, increases physical endurance; 
  • Supports the heart during increased physical activity, increasing energy metabolism. 
  • Reduces pain in muscles after physical exercises, as it reduces accumulation of lactic acid. 
  • Accelerates recovery of organism after physical exercises, as well as when over-training, reducing tissue hypoxia and lactate acidosis after physical exercises. 
  • Provides breakdown of fats, which helps to reduce excess weight. 
  • Increases protein metabolism, which accelerates the process of building muscle. 

For detoxification processes in the body: 
  • binds accumulating toxic products of oxidative processes 
  • During the period of rehabilitation after illness. 
  • At chronic fatigue syndrome. 
  • For prevention and complex therapy of heart diseases. 

Recommendations for use of L-carnitine preparations: 
Medical indications 
L-carnitine is important in the following cases: 
  • cardiovascular diseases (angina pectoris, acute myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, endocardial fibroelastosis, cardiomyopathy, idiopathic mitral valve prolapse); 
  • increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels; 
  • asthenia; 
  • Alzheimer disease and senile dementia of age; 
  • kidneys disease and hemodialysis; 
  • diabetes; 
  • liver diseases (fatty hepatosis of alcoholic etiology, hepatic cirrhosis), muscular dystrophy; 
  • reduced sperm counts and sperm motility; 
  • chronic wheezing illnesses of lungs; 
  • HIV infection; 
  • fetal metabolism disturbance of amino acids; 
  • organic aciduria; isovaleric acidemia; propionic acidemia; methylmalonic aciduria) 
  • for prevention of diseases in sickly children. 
  • in complex treatment of children suffering from vascular dystonia. 
  • etc. 

General indications:

  • Reduction of physical endurance. 
  • To improve the process of fat burning (used in conjunction with exercise to reduce weight gain) 
  • When reducing the overall tone 
  • Decreased activity and vitality.