(NaturalNews) Amino acids are foundational molecules that play a very key role in human and animal physiology. When one is deficient in a certain amino acid due to dietary restriction or metabolic problems, it can lead to very serious health issues. Getting the proper amino acid testing can reveal the underlying cause for various health problems and provide natural treatment solutions to get well.
Amino acids have a unique structure and contain at least one amino group (-NH2) and a carboxyl group (-COOH). The only exceptions are glycine and taurine. Taurine carries a sulfonic group instead of the carboxyl group and is technically not an amino acid in the purest sense. Glycine is the smallest amino acid with a single hydrogen as its side chain.
Amino acids are given a configuration of "L" or "D" based on which side the amino group is attached too. In natural protein, all amino acid residues are in the L configuration. The D configuration may be formed synthetically or by tissue catabolism and bacterial metabolism. The D form is unable to produce peptides and proteins and may even inhibit enzymes.
Essential and semi-essential amino acids:
In total, there are 22 different amino acids in protein structures. The body itself produces 12 different amino acids, while those that are unable to be produced in the body are called essential amino acids. These must be obtained through the diet. The eight essential amino acids include isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, valine, phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophan.
Some other amino acids are characterized as semi-essential, as the body is unable to produce enough of them for physiological needs. These include arginine, histidine (essential for infants but not adults), cysteine and taurine. There are also amino acids that are hydroxylated after they are incorporated into a protein structure. This includes lysine becoming hydroxylysine and proline becoming hydroxyproline.
Testing amino acid levels:
An amino acid analysis employs state-of-the-art high-performance liquid chromatography that performs the most comprehensive and sensitive assay available for urine. This test analyzes 40 different amino acids and looks at key biomarkers for vitamin, mineral and inflammatory levels. The analytes are measured on a report in functional categories for amino acids to assess for nutritional cofactors and disorders related to possible imbalances.
Some of the major things the test analyzes include:
Dietary protein adequacy
Functional adequacy of vitamins and minerals
Inborn errors of metabolism
Urine and plasma testing:
The 24-hour urine test is the best and most common way for assessing amino acid levels. This test gives a good analysis of what is high and what is low over a 24-hour period. This reveals patterns related to problems in enzymatic activity and nutrient cofactor support. Due to the variation in urine excretion throughout the day, the 24-hour testing period is able to spot major excesses or deficiencies that are taking place.
The plasma test is an analysis of circulating amino acids at one period of time. This gives more of a limitation in the testing. The plasma test is preferred when age, toilet training or patient cooperation will not allow for the urine test. Other reasons why the plasma test may be preferred would be due to hematuria (blood in urine) conditions, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis and anorexia.
About the author: Dr David Jockers is a Maximized Living doctor and owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Georgia where he specializes in functional nutrition, functional medicine and corrective chiropractic care to get to the underlying cause of major health problems.
His website features great articles on natural health and incredible recipes. He is the author of the best-selling book SuperCharge Your Brain - the complete guide to radically improve your mood, memory and mindset. He has over 50,000 active followers on his social media and email newsletter and is a big influencer in the Primal Health movement.
Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance consultations and health coaching to help you beat disease and reach your health goals. For more information got to www.drjockers.com