Amino acids are gaining popularity in Lymeland. I am writing this not to prescribe you anything, but rather because I talk to a lot of people living with chronic illnesses, and I’ve had enough conversations in praise of amino acids with a few of these lovely people.
The amino acids I am sharing with you here are not the only amino acids that I’ve talked about with others; this is simply a list of amino acids that I like to use above the rest.
I will give you a brief summary of what amino acids do, why I supplement with them, and which ones work for me.
Why Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are about 20 amino acids that occur commonly in proteins. Of these, humans can synthesize 11 from simple organic molecules, but the other 9 are “essential,” which means we cannot create them within and need to supplement them in our diets. (A “complete protein” contains all of the essential amino acids. Generally animal proteins are complete proteins, while vegetarian proteins usually need to be combined to get all of the essential amino acids in one meal.)
The number, types and sequences of amino acids are unique for each specific protein. Proteins make up the structures within us; some are structural components of our cells and tissues. Others act as antibodies in the fight against diseases. They build up into proteins to build new tissues and to replace old damaged ones. If there are insufficient carbs and fats in the diet, they are used for energy. Chemically, hormones may even be classified as proteins (or steroids), so amino acids are behind the scenes for many processes.
With that said, these are the amino acids I like to supplement with and why:
Lysine is important for proper growth, carnitine production, calcium absorption, and collegen formation. The reason I take lysine, personally, is because it’s famously an anti-viral. I use it as an anti-viral and pro-immunity supplement when I have colds, and also with my Epstein Barr Virus in the back of my mind. I think that antibiotics can weaken the immune system, and that perhap lysine is a good antidote to that.
Glycine is one of the precursors to glutathione (the others are glutamine and cysteine or NAC). I prefer supplementing with these over doing glutathione IV pushes. The glutathione IV pushes are known to produce significant but fleeting improvements in patients (like getting up out of a wheelchair for 20 minutes). I prefer the turtle-paced but lasting effects of the precursors. Not to mention, all three of these have many other benefits. Glutamine is good for digestion and GI inflammation, NAC is good for detoxification.
I think glycine is overlooked because what it’s known for is kind of boring: cellular repair. It’s also known to help with sleep and inflammation. If you’re interested, you can watch this guys endorsement of glycine with a better explanation:
(P.S. gelatin is a natural source of glycine, which is also rich in collagen and protein. One tablespoon of gelatin = 11 gram of protein! Great if you have stomach issues and are finding it hard to eat enough.)
Creatine is one of the most important energy producers for our cells and bodies. (Read this article to learn about why creatine is important in metabolic processes. And read my book to find out how your metabolism can help you fight chronic infections.)
I know placebo is always a possibility, but I’m quite positive that creatine makes weight-training and work-out recovery dramatically easier on my body. I love this one and owe it many thanks in helping me build my muscles.
Taurine insufficiency is common in autoimmune patients. It’s found in nerves and the heart, and is allegedly good for longevity (high taurine geolocations correlate with longer life spans, although correlation does not prove causation). I take it because it gives me great mental clarity; it’s my redbull.
You can read Jenna’s Lyme Blog for a rave review on taurine.
Tyrosine and iodine together create T3. Tyrosine is also a precursor to dopamine. It helps with weepiness (if you are soft like me) and can give your thyroid a subtle boost. I took tyrosine daily for years with no side-effects to my knowledge.
This is what’s in my medicine cabinet. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are typically good pre- or post-workout supplements. But they are not just for bodybuilders. They can repair tissues anywerhe from your six pack to your GI lining. They can change your mood and boost metabolism. Healthy or ill, I think amino acids are worthy of acknowledging and supplementing with.
And while I have you here, I would also like to mention the the second annual Lyme Summit will be on June 16-26. There will be a lot of free information, but register soon!