The utility of amino acids in medicine today continues to be explored via clinical research and applications. Amino acids have several roles in the body; as the building blocks of protein, amino acids are found throughout the body. Muscle is by far the most protein- and amino acid-rich tissue in the body.1 Health care practitioners are gaining more knowledge about amino acids, including their metabolism in the body, imbalances, and chemical structures. Therapeutic use of amino acids presents natural medicine with an important therapeutic option. Some of the most prominent therapeutic applications of amino acids are for treatment of imbalances of brain metabolism and neurotransmission. Other primary areas in which amino acids are important include gastrointestinal (GI) health, immune function, and cardiovascular health.
Amino acids are classified as essential, nonessential, or conditionally essential, according to whether the body is able to synthesize the amount that it needs for metabolic maintenance. Incomplete intake of amino acids may predispose a patient to many symptoms, the most obvious of which are growth retardation and weight loss. Overall, amino acids are required daily by the human body because they are not stored for long periods of time nor in adequate amounts to sustain health.
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