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Supplementing with Amino Acids and CBD

Amino Acids & CBD

In this article, the naturopathic health experts at Modern Nature (MoNa) will focus on the importance of maintaining proper levels of the amino acid pool, that important reservoir of vital proteins, as a cornerstone in your self-administered CBD health regimen. We'll explain what amino acids do for the body and how modern food production practices and environmental factors can prevent us from getting the crucial amounts of amino acids our bodies require to maintain a balanced metabolism. Most importantly, we'll show how essential amino acids and CBD supplements can combine for optimized homeostasis and robust health.

What are Amino Acids? 

Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of life itself. They are the building blocks for the proteins which comprise an astounding 20% of the human body. Proteins are listed among the 5 essential nutrients we need to stay alive and thrive. Muscles, tissues, and cells are all made from amino acids and these proteins play vital roles in nearly every physiological process. Amino acids are the precursor proteins for many hormones, neurotransmitters, and special function metabolites which maintain homeostasis.

Amino acids are essential for healing wounds and for serious injury recovery. They influence proper organ function as well as optimizing the healthy conditions of tendons, muscles, bones, skin, and hair. Amino acids provide a detoxifying action to remove waste deposits which are the inevitable byproducts of metabolism. Supplemental amino acids are used to manage a wide variety of conditions including:

  • Aging-related disorders
  • Arthritis and osteoporosis
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Fat-burning and weight control
  • Hair condition and growth cycle
  • Menopause 
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Hormonal balance
  • Sleep, mood, and performance
  • Virility, libido, and erectile dysfunction
Why Amino Acid Supplements are Important For Health and Well Being

According to the informative website, the professional medical view has evolved over the years and many doctors now recognize the benefits of maintaining the proper supply of amino acids in the body, including amino acids from nutritional supplements. The body uses 21 different amino acids. 9 are classified as "essential" meaning that the body doesn't manufacture its own supply and they must be obtained from external protein sources such as meat, poultry, and eggs. There are also nonessential amino acids which the body does produce naturally. Conditionally essential amino acids make up the third category. These are amino acids which are not essential to the body except in times of stress or illness.

9 Essential Amino Acids
  1. histidine
  2. isoleucine
  3. leucine
  4. lysine
  5. methionine
  6. phenylalanine
  7. threonine
  8. tryptophan
  9. valine
4 Nonessential Amino Acids
  1. alanine
  2. asparagine
  3. aspartic acid
  4. glutamic acid
8 Conditionally Essential Amino Acids
  1. arginine
  2. cysteine
  3. glutamine
  4. tyrosine
  5. glycine
  6. ornithine
  7. proline
  8. serine
Causes of Amino Acid Deficiency 

There are many factors in our modern world which prevent our bodies from ingesting "the full and balanced supply of these all-important substances". Amino acid deficiencies can have a negative impact on health. A low reserve of available amino acids is especially debilitating to the nervous, immune, digestive, and reproductive systems.

Some of the factors which can inhibit the proper balance of amino acids are the result of lifestyle habits. Smoking and drinking alcohol can prevent the body from receiving full nutritional value from the foods we eat. Other environmental factors which limit amino acid intake are beyond our control, at least at the individual level. These include smog and pollution from fossil-burning fuels and modern agricultural practices such as feeding hormones to livestock and the intensive use of fertilizers in cultivation. We also lose substantial nutrition when foods are processed before we eat it. Amino acid supplements can make up for these deficiencies to restore wellbeing and vitality by ensuring optimal nutrition. 

The Amino Acid Pool

The entire amount of free amino acids available for use by the body is referred to as the amino acid pool. In an adult male, the supply is about 120-130 mg. The amino acid pool supports the process known as "biosynthesis" where available amino acids from food are broken down and restructured into the new protein forms which the body requires to:

  • Strengthen connective tissue for firm nails, healthy skin, and shiny hair.
  • Form cartilage to combat arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Maintain cardiovascular health (heart and circulation) by reducing blood pressure, maintaining heart rhythm, and reducing cholesterol.
  • Stimulate the body to produce the proper amount of fat-burning hormones for natural weight control.
  • Alleviate symptoms of menopause by increasing blood vessel elasticity to reduce hot flashes. Supplemental amino acids and other plant-derived phytohormones are alternatives to HRT, (hormone replacement therapy) which is often a disputed treatment because of serious side effects.
  • Improve the immune response by supplying energy to immune cells.
  • Reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Provide a calming effect to enhance sleep and mood. 
  • Enhance virility and libido, and provide a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction. 

The biosynthesis process causes the amino acid pool to transform completely to new proteins required by the body up to 4 times per day. This means that the body requires constant replenishment of vital amino acids either by diet or supplement to meet the demands of biosynthesis. If one or more amino acids are low in supply protein production decreases and metabolism function can be severely limited. When metabolism is limited and malfunctioning serious health problems can arise including hair loss, menopausal complaints, weight problems, sleep disruption, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular imbalance. 

Many of the debilitating effects from aging can be traced to metabolic disturbances caused by amino acid deficiencies, but anyone at any age can be subject to the negative consequences associated with insufficient supplies of amino acid. 

Health Benefits of Amino Acids

The primary purpose of proteins in the human body is to repair and maintain muscle tissue. As the building blocks of protein, supplemental amino acids are taken by athletes to help with muscle recovery from demanding workouts and for building strength by increasing muscle mass. For those who maintain a demanding athletic fitness regimen more protein is required. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends .7 to .9 grams of additional protein per pound of body weight each day. 

High protein food sources such as dairy, chicken, fish, beef, eggs, beans, and soy can provide all the essential amino acids, but plant-based sources may not supply them all. Quinoa, buckwheat, soy, and hemp do provide all the essential amino acids whereas nuts, legumes, vegetables, seeds, and grains do not supply the complete array. Vegetarians and vegans need to consume a broad variety of plant-derived protein sources to ensure they receive the full range of essential amino acids their bodies require. 

BCAA- Branched Chain Amino Acids

This is the most common form of supplement taken by athletes and bodybuilders. BCAA supplements contain a mixture of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These 3 amino acids reduce protein breakdown and improve biosynthesis after training. An article at Healthline highlights the 5 Proven Benefits of BCAA supplements including:

  1. Increased muscle growth
  2. Reduced muscle soreness
  3. Decreased exercise-induced fatigue
  4. Prevention of muscle wasting
  5. Managed symptoms of the liver disease cirrhosis

Some natural animal food sources for branched chain amino acids include milk, beef, chicken, fish, and eggs. Plant-derived sources for BCAAs include:

  • whey and soy proteins
  • baked beans
  • lima beans
  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • whole wheat
  • brown rice
  • almonds
  • brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • pumpkin seeds
Amino Acids and Exercise

BCAAs are particularly effective for improved exercise performance. New evidence is pointing to increased BCAA levels for reducing fatigue and muscle pain by competing for the same protein carrier as tryptophan, the same substance which makes us want a Thanksgiving Day nap after a hearty turkey dinner. Tryptophan is a central cause of fatigue when it crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB) during exercise. Extra BCAA can also decrease lactate production for improved endurance, and there is substantial evidence that it reduces skeletal muscle loss after exercise while boosting immune response.

Are BCAA supplements safe?

According to this assessment at WebMD, BCCA supplements have been rated as likely safe, even when injected intravenously by healthcare professionals. When taken orally the rating is possibly safe as more formal research is required. There are some known side effects including fatigue and loss of coordination, so BCAA supplements should be taken with caution before driving or participating in activities which require good motor coordination. BCAAs have been linked with lung failure and higher death rates in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) so they should not be taken by those with ALS.  

What is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is an amino acid that is most commonly found in green tea.  This amino acid helps promote relaxation without the drowsy feeling th enext day.  According to an article by the Healthline, five randomized controlled trials with a total of 104 participants found L-theanine reduced stress and anxiety in people who were experiencing stressful situations.  Another study found that it increased relaxation without causing drowsiness and reduced resting heart rate.  L-Theanine has also been known to potentially increase focus and attention, improve immunity, control blood pressure and improve sleep quality. 

What is 5-HTP?

5-Hydroxytroptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that the body naturally produces.  Your body uses 5-HTP to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that sends signals between your nerve cells.  According to the Healthline, low levels of serotonin can be associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other health problems.  Which is why increasing your body's production of serotonin through the use of 5-HTP may have various benefits.  5 potential health benefits of 5-HTP are below:    

  • Aid Weight Loss
  • Help with Depression 
  • Improved Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
  • Reduce Migraine Frequency
  • Promote Sleep

Potential side effects to taking 5-HTP include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain.  These side effects are dependent on the dose, meaning they get worse when increased.  

What is GABA?

Gamma aminobutryic acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain.  GABA attaches to a protein in your brain and produces a calming effect and has been shown to help feelings of stress, anxiety and fear. GABA has been a popular amino acid in recent years, partly because it isn't available from many food sources.  Not much is known about the effectiveness of GABA, however some research has shown GABA's is an effective use for anxiety, controlling blood pressure, insomnia, stress and fatigue.  Potential side effects of GABA include upset stomach, headache, sleepiness, muscle weakness.    

Amino Acids and CBD Together at Modern Nature

You don't have to be a high-performance endurance athlete to enjoy the benefits of CBD and amino acid supplements. Daily supplementation enables your endocannabinoid system to maintain an optimized state of homeostasis at all levels of physical activity. For those who want to combine the therapeutic benefits of amino acids and CBD, the doctor-endorsed CBD products at MoNa provide an all-in-one solution.  Some common amino acids in Modern Nature products include L-Theanine, 5-HTP and GABA, which can be found in both Relaxed and Rested.  

Our Relaxed, Rested, and Relieved capsules are all Ph.D. formulated blends containing the therapeutic power of full spectrum hemp combined with the amino acids and other essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy metabolism and optimized homeostasis. If you're new to Modern Nature, check out our starter pack to get acquainted with the MoNa products and decide which is the best fit for your self-administered CBD health regimen.