Essential Amino Acids

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Known as building blocks of protein, there are about 20 of them but only 9 are considered as essential amino acids. They cannot be produced by the body alone so human beings can only obtain them from foods or supplements.

Here are 7 of the 9 essential amino acids with a brief description of each:

amino acids

Isoleucine

Coded for in the DNA, isoleucine has a chemical composition that is similar to that of leucine. However, the arrangement of its atoms is different which then has other properties. It is a hydrophobolic amino acid that thas two chiral centers. Meaning there are four stereoisomers and two diastereomers. It can be found in eggs, pork, mutton, chicken, pulses and beans.

Leucine

Nutritionally one of the essential amino acids, leucine is isometric with isoleucine. Most commonly found in proteins, it is also significant in optimal growth especially in infancy and childhood, also in nitrogen balance in adults. It plays a major part in the maintenance of the muscles by equalizing synthesis and breakdown. Whole grains and milk products are its best sources.

Lysine

Commonly found in proteins, lysine has a 4-aminobutyl side- chain classified together with arginine and histidine. Its human nutritional requirement is 1- 1.5 grams a day. Deficiency of which can lead to lack of niacin or vitamin B that causes a disease called pellagra. It can actually function as a nutritional supplement to help fight against herpes. It is obtained in most legumes, cereal grains and fish.

Methionine

Lipotropic in nature, methionine is considered as one of the essential amino acids. Together with cyesteine, they are the only sulfur- containing proteinogenic amino acids. It has a part in carnitine and taurine synthesis by the processes called transsulfuration pathway, lecithin production and phosphatidylcholine synthesis. Astheroclerosis can be achieved if there is improper conversion of such. Meats, vegetables, nuts and legumes are its best supply.

Phenylalanine

Existing in two forms, phenylalanine are enantiomers or mirror- image molecules of one another. With a benzyl side- chain, its name was derived from its chemical structure composed of a phenyl group alternated for one of the hydrogens of alanine. Due to its phenyl group, it is considered as an aromatic compound. Its great sources are milk, avocados, pulses, legumes, nuts and seafoods.

Threonine

One of the essential amino acids that contains two chiral centers, threonine has four possible stereoisomers and two diastereomers. With its name that can be used in a single enantiomer, its side chain can also undergo O- linked glycosylation. It can become phosphorylated through the action of a threonine kinase. Lentils, fish, meats and cheese are its best supply.

Tryptophan

It may not be easily synthesized, tryptophan functions as building blocks in protein biosynthesis. A precursor for serotonin, melatonin and niacin, its functional group is indole. It has been implicated to bring about schizophrenia in persons that cannot be able to metabolize it correctly. It can be obtained in turkey, chicken, sesame , peanuts and chocolates.

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Could Your Weight Gain Be the Result of Emotional Overeating?

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Weight gain is frustrating enough, but when you can’t seem to identify the cause(s) of it, the frustration is compounded. Emotional overeating is a somewhat sneaky problem – because it can involve mindless eating, it’s the sort of thing that can occur without you realizing it.

If you are having trouble figuring out what’s causing your weight gain, here are some tips on identifying emotional overeating (as opposed to just overeating).

weight gain

Seemingly Unexplainable Weight Gain

If you are gaining weight and you can’t seem to figure out why, this is (ironically) a sign that the problem may lie with emotional overeating. As noted above, you often don’t know you’re doing it when it comes to emotional overeating. You may even be working out regularly and preparing healthy meals and still gaining weight, because you are mindlessly eating other foods when you feel negative emotions.

A Sudden Urge

Sources say that emotional “hunger” comes on quite suddenly, perhaps in the form of an irresistible craving for a certain food or just the urge to eat right now. True hunger is usually more gradual than that – unless you have low blood sugar or have gone a very long time without eating, true hunger does not usually take the form of an urgent need to eat a whole lot right away.

Depression

More and more the connection between emotional overeating and depression is being discovered. Do you feel depressed periodically? When you even think of feeling depressed, what goes through your mind? How do you cope? If you are picturing a big serving of your favorite comfort food, then this may be a sign that your overeating is emotion-based.

Stress

Are you going through a stressful time in your life simultaneous to your weight gain? Have you seen that pattern before? Stress, with its accompanying anxiety and other negative feelings, can trigger someone to overeat in response to those feelings.

Guilt

How do you feel after you eat? Are you consumed with guilt? Do you feel ashamed? These feelings are signs that you have a problem with emotional overeating. Normal eating to satisfy normal hunger does not make a person feel guilty.

Specific Cravings

As many parents know, genuine hunger usually means that you’re more open to various food options. In emotional overeating, though, cravings may be so specific that no other food will do to satisfy your “hunger.” You feel like you have to have that particular food to feel satisfied.

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3 Biggest Benefits of Strength Training

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Strength training is exercise that uses resistance to strengthen and condition the musculo-skeletal system, improving muscle tone and endurance. “Strength training” is used as a general term synonymous with other common terms: “weightlifting” and “resistance training.”

Physiologically, the benefits of consistent strength training include an increase in muscle size and tone, increased muscular strength, and increases in tendon, bone, and ligament strength. Lifting weights has also been shown to improve psychological health as well, by increasing self-esteem, confidence and self-worth.

strength training

Improved Physical Appearance and Performance

One important result of strength training is increased physical performance. Muscles quite literally utilize energy to produce movement, functioning as the engine or powerhouse of the body. Strength training increases the muscles’ size, strength, and endurance, which contribute to improvements in our work, favorite sports hobbies, and our general day-to-day activities.

Another benefit of a good strength-training program is its effect on our overall appearance and body composition. Which can directly influence self-esteem, self-worth, and level of confidence. Take, for example, a 170-pound man who has 20 percent body fat; 34 pounds of fat weight and 136 pounds of lean body weight (muscle, bones, organs, water, etc). By beginning an effective strength training program, he replaces five pounds of fat with five pounds of muscle. He still weighs 170 pounds, but he is now 17 percent fat with 29 pounds of fat weight and 141 pounds of lean body weight. Although his body weight remains the same, his strength, muscle tone, and metabolism have improved, giving him a fit appearance.

Both our physical appearance and our physical performance can be improved by muscle gain or hampered by muscle loss. Research indicates that unless we strength train regularly; we lose about one-half pound of muscle every year of our lives after age 30. Unless we implement a safe and effective weight lifting program, our muscles gradually decrease in size and strength in the process called “atrophy.”

Lifting weights is therefore important for preventing the muscle loss that normally accompanies the aging process. A common misconception is that as we reach the age of senior citizens, it is normal to stop being active and to start using ambulatory aides like canes and wheelchairs. Many people think we have no choice; they think this is normal.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is absolutely no reason why all of us can’t be physically, mentally, socially, and sexually active, living a healthy vibrant life until our last day on Earth! The reason many elderly people rely on ambulatory aides and become slower and fatter is simply that over the years their muscles have been wasting away, so their physical performance and metabolism also decrease, becoming less efficient.

Increased Metabolic Efficiency (your ability to burn excess calories)

That one-half pound of muscle loss every year after age 30 produces a one-half percent reduction in basal metabolic rate (BMR) every year. A reduction in BMR means that our bodies are less able to use the food we consume as energy, thus more gets stored as body fat. “Basal metabolic rate” refers to the energy used by our body at rest to maintain normal body functions.

Our muscles have high-energy requirements. Even when we are sleeping, our muscles use more than 25% of our energy (calories). When you implement the principles of effective strength training and you are consistent in your program, you will achieve an increase in lean muscle mass throughout your body and increase your BMR. In other words, you can actually condition your metabolism to work better and more efficiently even when you are at rest.

An increase in muscle tissue causes an increase in metabolic rate, and a decrease in muscle tissue causes a decrease in metabolic rate. You can see that anyone interested in decreasing body fat percentage and their risk of disease as well as in increasing physical performance and appearance, should be strength training to help condition their metabolism (BMR).

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a weight-management program is not including a strength training routine with their cardiovascular exercise and low-fat eating regimen. This is unfortunate because when we cut calories without exercise, we can lose muscle as well as fat.

Decreased Risk of Sustaining an Injury

Our muscles also function as shock absorbers and serve as important balancing agents throughout our body. Well-conditioned muscles help to lessen the repetitive landing forces in weight-bearing activities such as jogging or playing basketball. Well-balanced muscles reduce the risk of injuries that result when a muscle is weaker than its opposing muscle group.

To reduce the risk of unbalanced muscle development, you should make sure that when you are training a specific muscle group, the opposing muscle groups are being trained as well (though not necessarily on the same day). For example, if you are doing bench-pressing exercises for your chest, you should include some rowing exercises for your back muscles as well.

By now you have probably realized that weightlifting should be an important part of your exercise routine. Weightlifting provides many important benefits that cannot be achieved by any other exercise or activity. When you begin achieving great results, the excitement and fun you experience will make the change well worth the effort. Good luck; I hope you enjoy all the wonderful benefits of an effective strength training program.

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