Feeling sluggish? Getting a few too many colds? Finding it difficult to recover after a workout? You might be deficient in the amount of amino acids necessary to maintain healthy levels of protein in your body.
Amino acids aren’t just for fitness models and competitors. In fact, amino acids are used in every cell of your body to build the proteins you need to survive. Don’t believe it? Research has unequivocally proven that amino acids affect our critical structures for life:
- They play a key role in the transport and storage of nutrients.
- They influence the healthy functioning of our organs, glands, muscles and arteries.
- They are essential for a healthy immune system.
- They are involved in the healing of wounds and maintaining/repairing muscles.
- They affect the correct development of bones, skin and hair.
- They support proper metabolism.
It’s clear that appropriate levels of amino acids lead to a healthier and happier life. That’s why the professionals at F&Q created HCF (short for happy, calm and focused) a dietary supplement that provides the vitamins and amino acids your body needs to be…well, happy, calm and focused. And we all know we could use a little more of that in our lives:)
We were recently given a free sample of HCF and agreed to do a review of the product. Before we dig into how we feel about the product here’s a scientific look at amino acids and how people can get them naturally. If you just want to read our review of HCF click here.
So let’s take a look at some simple ways to include amino acids in your diet.
Each amino acid plays a key role in the well-being and functioning of your overall health. Science has categorized amino acids into 3 groups:
- Essential Amino Acids – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine
- Semi-Essential Amino Acids – arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, serine
- Non-Essential Amino Acids– alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid.
Strangely enough, those in the essential amino acid group cannot be formed naturally by our bodies. Instead, they must be supplied through diet or supplementation. While it may sound contradictory for “essential” amino acids to require outside food sources or products, it’s simply how the body was created.
Non-essential amino acids are also absolutely necessary for overall wellness even though their category title suggests differently. It’s easy to obtain non-essential amino acids from our everyday consumption of foods by referencing a few simple lists.
How to Include Amino Acids Every Day
High-protein foods will help assure you consume proper levels of amino acids in your diet.
Animal sources usually contain the highest level of amino acids. They include:
- Dairy, Milk
But what if you’re not a carnivore? It’s possible for vegetarians to obtain amino acids in smaller levels from the non-animal food sources listed below, but unfortunately, plant protein is almost always lower in amino acids. Additional foods or supplements may be required:
- Pinto, kidney, and black beans
- Some soy products like tofu/ tempeh
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
Which Amino Acids Affect Certain Parts of the Body?
There’s no dispute on the benefits of amino acids in the body, but they can affect multiple different health factors:
Immune System Health – Multiple studies provide clear evidence that amino acids play a significant role in immune system health.
Lysine was found to be especially useful in promoting the body’s natural defense mechanisms, supporting tissue repair and naturally producing antibodies. In addition, a recent study found that amino acid supplementation can even help accelerate surgery recovery.
If you find that you’re continually fighting off a cold or having trouble recovering from wounds, discuss increasing the amount of lysine with your healthcare professional.
Emotional Balance – Tryptophan helps support a healthy sleep cycle, proper appetite and mood — it can even balance mood swings! Discovering the perfect amount of tryptophan for your body may drastically enhance your life.
Most importantly, studies demonstrate that tryptophan is indispensable in manufacturing serotonin, a brain biochemical that promotes restful sleep and satiety. Low levels of this essential amino acid may result in feelings of depression.
Weight Maintenance and Metabolism – If any amino acids are missing from your diet, your metabolism can become ineffective which often results in weight gain. These vital compounds work in the following manner:
- Leucinemaintains muscle mass while reducing body fat during weight loss.
- Leucine, isoleucine and valine help prevent muscle breakdown and provide fuel for exercise.
- L-Phenylalanine regulates the brain’s ability to identify when you feel full. Just think of it as a natural appetite suppressant.
- L-Carnitine is a popular amino acid, fundamental in the metabolism of fat.
Muscle and Fitness – If you hang around the gym long enough, you’re guaranteed to overhear conversations about the benefits of amino acids supplements for athletes and body builders.
Amino acids can dramatically build lean muscle mass and transport energy to the muscles to maximize workout sessions. If you experience fatigue and muscle soreness on a regular basis, examine your intake of amino acids. You may be deficient.
As we get older, amino acids also play a greater role in maintaining our physique. Regretfully, some individuals experience the age-related loss of vital muscle tissue known as sarcopenia. A program that includes inserting additional amino acids products into your diet may help avoid muscle loss due to aging.
A growing number of adults over the age of 40 are engaging in regular workouts, races, rock climbing excursions, marathons and extreme weekend activities. So it’s understandable that as we age, obtaining higher levels of valuable amino acids may help maintain our strength and endurance for these activities. Amino acids can rock your workout regardless of your age, as long as you follow the recommended dosage on the label.
Do You Need Amino Acids?
Everyone requires amino acids for overall well-being. Remember, you should replenish your body’s essential amino acids daily since they cannot be produced by the body alone.
Adults over 40 years of age, vegetarians or vegans eating plant-based diets, and athletes should pay extra special attention to these unique substances and consider higher levels of amino acids.
Now that you’re aware of the astounding benefits of amino acids, you may want to talk to your healthcare professional about your diet and possible supplementation. Let amino acids help fulfill your complete potential for health.
Does HCF Really Work?
My wife also has been working on building muscle and she’s made more progress this past month than all winter long with her fitness goals.
The only downside is you have to take 3-6 capsules every day and for me, someone who hates swallowing pills, it was a struggle to take them even though I know they are great for me. I wish they had the nutrients in a drinkable or chew-able form but I know that’s not always possible when dealing with nutrients like amino acids.
Would we buy more? Yes, especially in the winter when SAD creeps up on me.