Why test for amino acids?
The proteins you eat are consisting of various amino acids. Some of these amino acids your body needs to maintain important functions. If certain amino acids are lacking, deficiency symptoms can occur. The physical and mental performance then often drops to a limited extent, for example muscle weakness and cramps, tiredness and exhaustion as well as susceptibility to infections.
The supply of the essential amino acids that you need to ingest through food depends on your diet. Above all, your needs are influenced by intensive sports.
But not only the essential amino acids can be neglected: With a lack of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals as well as with certain diseases, such as liver diseases, there may also be an undersupply of semi-essential and non-essential amino acids.
Who should take the Amino Acid Blood Test?
We recommend the Amino Acid Test to anyone who wants to get to know and optimize their own nutrient supply better.
People who eat vegetarian or vegan should pay particular attention to their amino acid intake. Because food of animal origin generally has the highest protein quality and thus the best composition of the amino acids. In studies, people who were vegan sometimes had less of certain amino acids in their blood.
Amino acid supply is also an important topic for athletes. Both competitive athletes and committed amateur athletes put their muscles to the test. This can go hand in hand with an increased need for essential amino acids. In addition, certain amino acids, such as the BCAA, may help optimize athletic performance.
The body also needs more amino acids during pregnancy and breastfeeding period as well as after muscle injuries.
Older people have lower calorie needs, but do not need fewer amino acids and therefore often consume too few.
How does the Amino Acid Blood Test work?
With one of the lancets included in the Amino Acid Test kit, you take three drops of blood and collect them on the dried blood spot card. Send the dried blood spot card together with your blood sample on it by mail to our partner laboratory free of charge using the prepaid return envelope.
In the diagnostic laboratory your blood sample will be tested for the concentration of 26 essential, semi-essential and non-essential amino acids in your blood.
What will the test result tell me?
The results report of the amino acid test informs you about the concentration of a total of 26 amino acids in your blood sample. These are measured in nanomoles per milliliter (nmol / ml). The following amino acids are measured:
Essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine
Semi-essential amino acids: arginine, asparagine, glutamine, glycine, proline, tyrosine, histidine
Non-essential amino acids: alanine, aspartic acid, beta-alanine, citrulline, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamic acid, homoarginine, ornithine, sarcosine, serine, taurine
In addition to the measured amino acids, you will learn about standard ranges based on studies by our medical partner laboratory. This way you can find out where you are compared with your supply of the respective amino acid.
What kind of recommendations will I get?
The result report shows you how you can feed your body with the different kinds of essential amino acids in case your current intake is too low. In general, certain foods as well as food combinations can be considered to cover your body’s needs. You will learn what “biological valency” means and how you can use this concept to assess the protein quality of food.
In the event of a pronounced deficiency of a certain amino acid, we explain when protein powder, nutritional supplements as well as nutritional advice or medical / therapeutic care can make sense.
What is the use of amino acids?
Amino acids are chemical compounds that link together to form long chains and thus, among other things, proteins are being formed. The 21 different “proteinogenic” amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and of many important substances in the human body, for example certain hormones.
The body cannot produce essential amino acids by itself, you have to ingest them through food.
The body can form semi-essential amino acids, but it needs other building blocks that you have to supply to it. Nitrogen is often required, but in some cases essential amino acids. For example, the essential amino acid methionine is used to produce the semi-essential amino acid cysteine. In addition, the body consumes large amounts of the semi-essential amino acids under chronic stress and infections and then requires an external supply.
Non-essential amino acids your body can produce by itself. For this process, it is important that the body is sufficiently supplied with micronutrients (e.g. B vitamins and magnesium).
What is the purpose of amino acids in the body?
The different amino acids have different important tasks in the body. Some of them are involved in the structure and function of muscles, energy metabolism and immune defense. For example, according to some studies, leucine is said to contribute to muscle building and the ability to regenerate.
Amino acids are also needed to produce hormones, enzymes, messenger substances and other substances. The essential amino acid tryptophan, for example, is used in the formation of the happiness hormone serotonin. The messenger substance histamine, which is essential for the immune system, is produced from the semi-essential amino acid histidine.
What are BCAA?
The abbreviation BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. It is a subspecies of the essential amino acids with a special chemical structure, which mainly includes isoleucine, leucine and valine.
The BCAA are popular in nutritional supplements and protein powders. They are said to have a positive effect on the energy supply to the muscles and help to build up and maintain muscles. Whether BCAA can actually actively support muscle building is controversial in science. So far, studies have come to contradicting results - even if there have been some studies in which the use of BCAA had a positive effect on muscle building, regeneration and body weight.
Which foods contain amino acids??
Chicken eggs are considered the best food for amino acid supply. The biological value that describes the quality of a protein source is geared towards the chicken egg: the egg has 100 percent biological value. In general, foods of animal origin have a higher amino acid composition than vegetable ones.
However, we now know that there are combinations of foods that provide you with amino acids even better than eggs. With 136 percent, a dish with potatoes and egg has the highest value.
But some vegan meals also have excellent protein quality, especially the combination of legumes and cereals. For example, the following combinations are recommended:
- Lentil soup or hummus with whole grain bread
- Oatmeal with soy milk
- Rice with beans
Can too much amino acids be harmful?
Not only a lack of amino acids can be harmful: Too much amino acids can also have a negative impact on health. This does not usually occur with a normal diet. However, side effects are possible through a very one-sided protein-rich diet or through an excessive dosage of nutritional supplements.
That is why it makes sense to check your supply with our Amino Acid Test before taking supplements.
Some examples: Too much methionine can lead to the excretion of too much calcium, which can weaken the bones and contribute to osteoporosis. Too high a dose of phenylalanine supplements in some cases raised blood pressure and could be problematic for people with high blood pressure.
Who is the test not suitable for?
The Amino Acid Test is not suitable or only suitable for certain groups of people:
- People with contagious diseases like hepatitis are not allowed to take the Amino Acid Test
- People with the Hemophilia blood disorder should not take the blood test
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only carry out the Amino Acid Test under medical supervision. The reference values and recommendations do not apply to them, so they should obtain recommendations on the test result from their doctor
- The Amino Acid Test is not suitable for children under the age of 18
The test is not designed to examine serious illnesses. For example, if you suffer from severe depression or extreme pain, contact a doctor.