Glycine : The amino acid that is necessary for central nervous system function and a healthy prostate.

prostate_cancer
prostate_cancer (Photo credit: enochchoi)

Glycine  is a sweet-tasting, non-essential amino acid that can be produced from serine and threonine, which means that it is manufactured  in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet. Glycine was first isolated in 1820 from gelatin and is also found in good quantity in silk fibroin. Glycine is required to build protein in the body. It is required for the synthesis of nucleic acids, the construction of RNA as well as DNA and synthesis of bile acids and other amino acids in the body. Glycine is also found to be useful in assisting with the absorption of calcium in the body. It helps in retarding degeneration of muscles as it helps to supply extra creatine in the body. Glycine is important in the body’s manufacture of hormones responsible for a strong immune system.

 

 

 

 

Glycine is the simplest amino acid and is the only amino acid that is not optically active (it has no stereoisomers). This amino acid is essential for the biosynthesis of nucleic acids as well as of bile acids, porphyrins, creatine phosphate, and other amino acids. On a molar basis, glycine is the second most common amino acid found in proteins and enzymes being incorporated at the rate of 7.5 percent compared to the other amino acids. Glycine is also similar to gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamic acid in the ability to inhibit neurotransmitter signals in the central nervous system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only the L form of amino acids are constituents of protein. Glycine is an important part of GTF (glucose tolerance factor). The prostate gland produces fluid that contains glycine and researchers think that it may have a positive influence on normal prostate function.  It is present in considerable amounts in prostate fluid. Glycine may play a role in maintaining the health of the prostate, since a study of 45 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) found that 780 mg of glycine per day for two weeks and then 390 mg for the next two and a half months, taken in combination with equal amounts of the amino acids, alanine and glutamic acid, reduced symptoms of the condition. This effect has been reported by others. Glycine also enhances the activity of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain that are involved in memory and cognition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Function and Benefits of Glycine

  • Glycine is used by the nervous system and functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which makes it important to help prevent epileptic seizures
  • Glycine is also used in the treatment of manic depression and hyperactivity
  • Glycine also participates in the major energy producing biochemical processes in the body
  • This amino acid is also found to be produce in prostate fluid present in males so it is considered to be important for prostate normal functioning.
  • Glycine is the part of glutathione which is a coenzyme involved in many biochemical reactions. The important function of glutathione is that it helps in the maintenance of the cell integrity by protecting –SH group of hemoglobin, catalase and lipoproteins of the cell membrane. So glycine has an important antioxidant action.
  • Glycine is necessary for central nervous system function and a healthy prostate.

Deficiency Symptoms of Glycine

Few people are glycine deficient, in part because the body makes its own supply of the non-essential amino acids, and because it is abundant in food sources.

Rich Food Sources of Glycine

Glycine is mainly found in protein rich food.

  • Animal sources: Fish, dairy foods, meat, cheese etc
  • Plant sources: beans, soybean, spinach, pumpkin, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, burdock root, cucumber, kiwi , banana, etc
  • Glycine is a nonessential amino acid, which means that it is manufactured from other amino acids in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet.
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Glutamic Acid : The amino acid that functions mainly include building muscle and supporting brain function.

Glutamic acid is an amino acid with acidic side chain and negative charge at neutral pH. It is non essential amino acid as it is synthesized  from a number of amino acids including ornithine and arginine. It helps with the transportation of potassium across the blood-brain barrier, although itself does not pass this barrier that easily.  Glutamic acid (glutamate) is an amino acid used by the body to build proteins. Under normal circumstances, humans are able to meet bodily glutamate requirements either from the diet or by making it from precursor molecules. Glutamate is the most common excitatory (stimulating) neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Although glutamine and glutamic acid have similar names, they are structurally different.

Glutamic acid may have protective effects on the heart muscle in people with heart disease. Intravenous injections of glutamic acid (as monosodium glutamate) have been shown to increase exercise tolerance and heart function in people with stable angina pectoris.

Functions of Glutamic Acid

  • Glutamic amino acid is important in the metabolism of sugars and fats, and aids in the transportation of potassium mto the spinal fluid and across the blood-brain barrier.  Although it does not pass the blood-brain barrier as readily as glutamine does, it is found at high levels in the blood and may infiltrate the brain in small amounts
  • Gamma Amino butyric acid (GABA): Glutamic acid gives rise to most important neurotransmitter GABA by the reaction which is catalyzed by glutamate decarboxylase. This neurotransmitter provides post synaptic inhibition in the central nervous system.
  • Glutamic acid can detoxify ammonia by picking up nitrogen atoms, in the process creating another amino acid, glutamine. The conversion of glutamic acid into glutamine is the only means by which ammonia in the brain can be detoxified.
  • Glutamic acid helps to correct personality disorders and is useful in treating childhood behavioral disorders. It is used in the treatment of epilepsy, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, ulcers, and hypoglycemic coma, a complication of insulin treatment for diabetes.
  • It is a component of folate (folic acid), a B vitamin that helps the body break down amino acids.
  • It has also been found beneficial in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
  • Ammonium Ion: Glutamic acid enters the mitochondria and here it gives up its amino form and form ammonium ion which is then used for the urea synthesis.
  • Alpha-ketoglutaric Acid: It shows the alpha ketoacid of glutamic acid and it enters the citric acid cycle.
  • Because one of its salts is monosodium glutamate (MSG), glutamic acid should be avoided by anyone who is allergic to MSG.

Deficiency Symptoms of Glutamic Acid

Although the deficiency symptoms of Glutamic Acid is unknow but some may notice are dullness of brain, insomina.

Rich Food Sources of Glutamic Acid

  • Sources of glutamic acid include high-protein foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products .
  • Some protein-rich plant foods also supply glutamic acid.  Certain legumes, such as beans, and lentils, and leafy greens vegetable have high levels of glutamic acid.
  • kombu are excellent sources of glutamic acid

Tyrosine : It aids in the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin and hair color) and in the functions of the adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary glands.

Tyrosine is the amino acid with aromatic side chain. It has hydroxyl group for H bonds and shows polarity. It is non-essential amino acid which means,  which means that it is manufactured from other amino acids in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet.  It is glucogenic and ketogenic both. It was first isolated from casein in 1849 and is abundant in insulin as well as the enzyme papain and can be synthesized from the amino acid phenylalanine in the body. Tyrosine is important to overall metabolism. It is a precursor of adrenaline and the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, which regulate mood and stimulate metabolism and the nervous system.

Tyrosine, a parent amino acid for skin, hair, and eye pigments, is involved in syndromes, known generally as oculocutaneous albinism, that are characterized by the failure to form melanin pigments, resulting in partial or complete albinism. It is also the precursor amino acid for the thyroid gland hormone thyroxin, and a defect in this may result in hypothyroidism – an enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter), severe growth failure, and retardation of central nervous system development. A deficiency may also have symptoms of low blood pressure, low body temperature (including cold hands and feet) and “restless leg syndrome.”

 

 

 

 

 

Functions of Tyrosine

  • Tyrosine acts as a mood elevator; a lack of adequate amounts of tyrosine leads to a deficiency of norepinephrine in the brain, which in turn can result in depression.
  • Helps in suppressing the appetite and reducing body fat, production of skin and hair pigment, the proper functioning of the thyroid as well as the pituitary and adrenal gland.
  • It aids in the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin and hair color) and in the functions of the adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary glands. It is also involved in the metabolism of the amino acid phenylalanine.
  • Supplemental L-tyrosine has been used for stress reduction, and research suggests it may be helpful against chronic fatigue and narcolepsy. It has been used to help individuals suffering from anxiety, depression, low sex drive, allergies, and headaches, as well as persons under­going withdrawal from drugs. It may also help people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Tyrosine and tryptophan have with been used with some success in the treatment of cocaine abuse and in another study it was combined with the antidepressant Imipramine to treat chronic cocaine abuse where it was reported that the combination blocked the cocaine high and prevented the severe depression that accompanies withdrawal.
  • Tyrosine is known for giving lots of important products to our body. It gives rise to catecholamine e.g. adrenaline and noradrenalin and dopamine. They then function as neurotransmitters in our brain. These are important in maintaining the good balance of moods in person. If there deficiency occurs then this result in depression in a person. Dopamine further has another important physiological role in our body i.e. it stimulates the myocardial activity in the heart means it performs an isotropic action. Since it is a neurotransmitter in the brain, in case of its deficiency in the basal ganglia, an extra pyramidal disease called Parkinsonism occurs. It also acts as a prolactin release inhibiting factor in the anterior pituitary gland.

Deficiency Symptoms of Tyrosine

  • Symptoms of tyrosine deficiency can also include low blood pressure, low body temperature (such as cold hands and feet), and restless leg syndrome.

Rich Food Sources of Tyrosine

  • Natural Food sources of tyrosine include almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
  • Animal sources include chicken, turkey, dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese, and in fish.

Methionine : The essential amino acid which assists with metabolic function, breaks down fat, and is the primary source of sulfur in the body.

Methionine is one of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), meaning that it cannot be produced by the body, and must be provided by the diet. It supplies sulfur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Methionine also belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics, or chemicals that help the liver process fats (lipids). Others in this group include choline, inositol, and betaine (trimethylglycine). Methionine was first isolated in 1922 from casein and belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics – the others in this group include choline , inositol , and betaine. It is important in the process of methylation where methyl is added to compounds as well as being a precursor to the amino acids cystine and cysteine.

Methionine is an essential amino acid that assists in the breakdown of fats, thus helping to prevent a buildup of fat in the liver and arteries that might obstruct blood flow to the brain, heart, and kidneys.  Methionine helps lower cholesterol levels by increasing the liver’s production of lecithin; reduces liver fat and protects the kidneys. It regulates the formation of ammonia and creates ammonia-free urine which reduces bladder irritation. Additionally, the DSIB indicates that studies have shown methionine to help reduce histamine levels, which are amino acids that control dilation of blood vessels and influence brain function

Function and Benefits of Methionine

  • Supplies sulfur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Improves memory recall in people with AIDS-related nervous system degeneration.
  • Methionine amino acid helps the digestive system; helps to detoxify harmful agents such as lead and other heavy metals; helps diminish muscle weakness, prevent brittle hair, and protect against radiation; and is beneficial for people with osteoporosis or chemical allergies.
  • People with AIDS have low levels of methionine. Some researchers suggest this may explain some aspects of the disease process, especially the deterioration that occurs in the nervous system that can cause symptoms, including dementia. A preliminary study has suggested that methionine (6 grams per day) may improve memory recall in people with AIDS-related nervous system degeneration.
  • It is also good for people with Gilbert’s syndrome, an anomaly of liver function, and is required for the synthesis of nucleic acids, collagen, and proteins found in every cell of the body.
  • It is beneficial for women who take oral contraceptives because it promotes the excretion of estrogen.
  • It reduces the level of histamine in the body, which can be useful for people with schizophrenia, whose histamine levels are typically higher than normal.
  • As levels of toxic substances in the body increase, the need for methionine increases. The body can convert methionine into the amino acid cysteine, a precursor of glutathione
  • Methionine  protects glutathione; it helps to prevent glutathione depletion if the body is overloaded with toxins. Since glutathione is a key neutralizer of toxins in the liver, this protects the liver from the damaging effects of toxic compounds.
  • It has also been found to act as an antioxidant as its sulfur group removes the free radicals which are harmful to our various organs.
  • Methionine along with other amino acid also forms creatine which is an important constituent of the muscles and provide them strength.

Deficiency Symptoms of Methionine

Severe deficiency may manifest in dementia, while lesser deficiencies may be known by symptoms like fatty liver, slow growth, weakness, edema and skin lesions.

Food Sources of Methionine
  • Good food sources of methionine include:  Almonds, brazil nuts, broccoli, chickpea, beans, eggs, fish, garlic, lentils, meat, oats, onions, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soyabeans, seeds, and yogurt.
  • Because the body uses methionine to derive a brain food called choline, it is wise to supplement the diet with choline or lecithin (which is high in choline) to ensure that the supply of methionine is not depleted.
  •  Most fruits and vegetables contain very little of it.  Also in Sea vegetable like laver and spirulina

Alanine : The amino acid that helps the body to convert glucose, a simple sugar, into energy and also helps the body to eliminate excess toxins from the liver.

Alanine  or  or L-alanine was discovered in protein in 1875. The alpha-carbon in alanine is substituted with a levorotatory (l)-methyl group, making it one of the simplest amino acids with respect to molecular structure and is one of the most widely used in protein construction. In the liver alanine may be transaminated with alpha keto glutarate to produce glutamat. Also in the liver alanine may be converted to glucose.  Alanine is a non-essential amino acid and is used by the body to build protein. It is not essential to the diet, but can be made by the body from other substances.

Chirality with hands and two enantiomers of a ...
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Alanine is vital for the production of protein, essential for proper function of the central nervous system and helps form neurotransmitters. Only the L form of amino acids are constituents of protein. An important source of energy for muscle tissue, the brain and central nervous system; strengthens the immune system by producing antibodies; helps in the metabolism of sugars and organic acids.

Function and Benefits of Alanine

  • Alanine is present in prostate fluid, and it may play a role in supporting prostate health. One study, involving 45 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia, found that 780 mg of alanine per day for two weeks and then 390 mg for the next two and a half months, taken in combination with equal amounts of the amino acids glycine and glutamic acid, reduced symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia; this work has been independently confirmed.
  • Alanine plays a major role in the transfer of nitrogen from peripheral tissue to the liver.
  • It also guards against the buildup of toxic substances that are released in the muscle cells when muscle protein is broken down to quickly meet energy needs, such as happens with aerobic exercise.
  • Epstein-Barr virus and chronic fatigue have been associated with excessive alanine levels and low levels of tyrosine and phenylalanine.
  • One form of alanine, beta alanine, is a constituent of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and coenzyme A, a vital catalyst in the body.
  • Research has found that for people with insulin-dependent diabetes, taking an oral dose of L-alanine can be more effective than a conventional bedtime snack in preventing
  •  helping in the metabolism of sugars and organic acids
  • is required for the metabolism of tryptophan
  •  strengthening the immune system by producing antibodies
  • in the case of hypoglycaemia, alanine has been used as a source for the production of glucose in order to stabilise blood sugar levels over lengthy periods
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Deficiency Symptoms of Alanine

Since alanine is synthesized in the body and is also provided by most foods that are sources of protein, deficiencies are unlikely to occur. However, it may occur in people that have a diet that is highly deficient in protein.

Rich Food Sources of Alanine

  • As with the other amino acids , excellent sources of alanine include meat and poultry , fish , eggs , and dairy products .
  • Some protein-rich vegetarian sources  foods also supply alanine which include avocado, beans,  bran, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, corn, legumes, mushrooms(white, raw), nuts, seeds, watercress, whole grains and sea vegetable like  spirulina and laver

Source: http://orthomolecular.org/nutrients/proteins.shtml

Molybdenum: The important mineral for regulating the pH balance in the body.

There are very small amounts of molybdenum in the body, but it is a very important mineral. Molybdenum is very important to the enzyme systems and is necessary for many enzyme systems to work. Molybdenum plays an important role in 2 enzymatic reactions. They include aldehyde oxidase which is necessary for the oxidation of fats, and xanthine oxidase necessary for the movement of iron from liver reserves and converting nucleic acid to uric acid (waste product eliminated in the urine). Molybdenum assists the body by fighting nitrosamines, which are associated with cancer, may prevent cavities and may help to prevent anaemia. It is needed for normal cell function and nitrogen metabolism. With these qualities, there might be evidence of antioxidant properties in this nutrient.

Molybdenum is absorbed through the intestines and stored in the liver, bones, and kidneys. It is required for proper growth and development, the metabolism of fats and nucleic acids, metabolism of nitrogen, copper, and sulfur, and normal cellular functions. Cofactor in enzymatic systems involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, sulfur-containing amino acids, nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) and iron. Helps prevent cavities. Cancer-preventative (esophagus, stomach), helps detoxify or eliminate harmful sulfites from the body.


Molybdenum is a very important mineral for regulating the pH balance in the body. For each one tenth of a pH point difference,  the oxygen level in the blood may increase or decrease by ten times. Although molybdenum helps to induce sleep, it also helps promote a general sense of well being.  With molybdenum’s ability to change the body’s pH, it is very beneficial in the treatment of many severe illnesses. in helping to control viruses and parasites. A high amount of molybdenum in the body could interfere with the absorption of copper


Molybdenum deficiency may include acne, allergies, anemia, anthrax, asthma, athletes foot, bells palsy, bladder infection, cancer, candida, canker sore, cavities, colds, flu, depression, diabetes, e-coli, eczema, Epstein Barr virus, liver damage, sclerosis, lupus, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, obesity, parasites, prostate infection, and ringworm.

Humans require very small amounts of molybdenum, and deficiency appears to happen only under the rarest of circumstances.

Food Sources :  legumes, such as beans, peas, lima beans and lentils; grains, such as barley and buckwheat,  leafy vegetables; sunflower seeds,  whole grains and nuts. However, the amount of molybdenum in plants varies according to the amount in the soil.