Most people are familiar with the word “protein.” It is essential for every healthy diet, but it is particularly important for those who exercise regularly and vigorously. Proteins are the building blocks for almost everything in your body; bones, blood, skin, tissue, and muscles are all made up of proteins working to keep you functioning normally.
Have you ever wondered what makes up these all-important proteins?
Allow us to introduce you to your body’s own amino acids. Just as proteins are the building blocks of the body, so are the amino acids the building blocks of proteins, each with unique properties and functions in the body.
20 amino acids are present in the body, with nine of them classified as essential and the remaining 11 as non-essential. This is not to say that your body doesn’t need the 11 non-essential amino acids. Your body does need them, but it can synthesize them on its own.
The nine essential amino acids, however, cannot be synthesized in the body, so it is essential to obtain them from food or from supplements. And you’ll want to make sure you’re doing just that, because these guys are key to living as healthy as possible.
Allow us to elaborate . . . .
Lysine is an essential amino acid that works alongside proline to build collagen protein within the body. Collagen is one of the most important, abundant proteins in the body, as it provides structure to bones and organs and gives skin its elasticity. It makes up most connective tissues, such as cartilage and fascia.
When consumed in the form of food or supplements, lysine works to stimulate the body’s collagen production which in turn leads to younger-looking skin, healthy hair and decreased muscle recovery time.
It’s crucial to keep in mind supplementing your diet with lysine (or simply increasing dietary items naturally containing lysine). Why? Because as we age, collagen production slows, leading to creaky joints, wrinkles and sore muscles. Intaking appropriate amounts of lysine helps keep these concerns at bay.
And the benefits of lysine don’t stop there! It assists with the absorption of nutrients such as calcium, iron and zinc, helps our bodies retain minerals, may prevent blisters and cold sores, has been used to reduce stress and anxiety, and may reduce healing time for wounds and fractures (due to effectively stimulating collagen production).
So how do you get lysine and avoid nasty effects of lysine deficiency? Well, lysine can be found in a variety of food sources. The most abundant sources of lysine are animal products including meat and collagen, eggs, fish, brewer’s yeast and some cheeses. Grains aren't usually known as significant sources of amino acids, but there are some exceptions.
Quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and seitan are all good sources of lysine. And if you want to find a plant-based lysine source, try pumpkin seeds, pistachios, lentils or edamame. Additionally, collagen protein such as BUBS Naturals is a great, natural way to supplement your diet with collagen peptides.
Interested in learning more? Check out Get to know Lysine, a core amino acid.
Next up on our essential amino acid line-up is threonine; threonine plays a unique role among amino acids. While important for building protein, it also aids in metabolizing fat and preventing fat buildup on the liver. It builds collagen, elastin and even tooth enamel.
Threonine is additionally beneficial thanks to the heavy-lifting it does within the gut. More and more research is linking gut health to overall health since the gut/digestive tract is where nutrients are absorbed...or not absorbed. Threonine helps protect the digestive tract by promoting the production of gut mucus which in turn may help seal the lining of the gut to protect it from harmful compounds.
Threonine is kept busy within the body, since it not only keeps the gut operating healthily, but promotes proper functioning of the immune system as well. Threonine plays an important role in the pathways that activate T-cells. T-cells are an essential part of our immune system in helping fight pathogens. Threonine works alongside T-cells to coordinate these attacks on disease and keep us healthy as a result.
Where can you find threonine?
Great question. We’re glad you asked.
The best sources of amino acids are animal products such as milk, eggs, and meat. However, if you prefer to eat a more plant-based diet, you shouldn’t worry too much. While many people wonder how vegans and vegetarians get enough protein, most do by eating a wide variety of plants, especially plants packed with protein such as legumes or ancient grains like soy, quinoa and amaranth.
Another great source of threonine is collagen peptides. Collagen peptides contain a wide panel of amino acids, including threonine, and most brands label how much of each is present per serving.
For example, BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein contains 380mg in one serving, so you’re sure to receive your daily quota. As long as you stay focused on eating a balanced diet high in protein, you won’t even have to worry about a threonine deficiency - all you’ll be aware of is how good your body feels and how well it operates.
Check out our comprehensive guide to threonine and its benefits to learn more.
We’re willing to bet you never considered the possibility of a love interest for your muscles. Well, that thinking is a thing of the past - may we present leucine, the latest and greatest thing for your muscles.
Maybe ‘latest’ isn’t the best way to describe it, since leucine has been around ever since the first creature roamed the earth, but that’s not the point. The point is, leucine is everything you needed and more for promoting strong and healthy muscles. And not only that, but leucine also works to curb a raging appetite by stabilizing glucose and insulin levels, thereby promoting proper weight management.
When it comes to building muscle, the old expression “no pain, no gain” really is true: your muscles only grow after you exercise them, causing microtears. As your body repairs the damage done through exercise, your muscles are rebuilt bigger and stronger, to withstand the same pressure that undid them initially. This is when leucine takes center stage.
L-leucine supplements are qualified as BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) and believed to jumpstart the muscle-building process by stimulating protein synthesis. The best news? Unlike fake ingredients that cause only temporary growth, leucine works naturally within the body to build those muscles and increase their stamina using natural processes your body is already familiar with.
There’s a simple way to find leucine in the world and avoid a leucine deficiency: seek out and consume complete proteins. A diet rich in complete protein foods -- fish, chicken, pork, soy, etc. -- all provide your body with the extra leucine it needs to cause real change.
Whether it’s beef or whey, eggs, or peanuts, there are so many places to safely source the leucine you need from the protein already available to you. And, of course, there is always the naturally-sourced option of BUBS Collagen Protein Powder. No matter how you choose to intake your leucine, your muscles will thank you!
For all the details on leucine, check out our Guide to Your Muscles’ New Best Friend.
This amino acid packs a punch, in terms of pure protein creation and muscle retention alike. When we say you really can’t live without it, we’re telling the truth.
Like other amino acids, isoleucine functions in the body to build proteins. It’s especially known for its role in helping your body heal wounds, support overall immunity, regulate blood sugar and produce necessary hormones. Like leucine, isoleucine is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA). If you want to see an increase in muscle protein synthesis and make the most of your workout, start paying attention to the sources of isoleucine in your diet.
By focusing on getting the proper amount of isoleucine in your diet, you’ll be better equipped to stave off isoleucine deficiency. Without isoleucine, you will likely experience low muscle mass. In particular, low isoleucine count in the body can cause muscle weakness and shaking, among other side effects.
So where do you get this muscle-loving amino acid? Isoleucine, complete with all its benefits, and many of the amino acids it works in tandem with can be found in protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, soy and beans. It is also found in collagen peptides. Collagen peptides are rich in seven of the nine essential amino acids, and have been shown to promote joint and gut health. Additionally, keep in mind the importance of consuming complete proteins (proteins containing all nine essential amino acids). Soy is one of a few plant sources to offer complete proteins, which is good news for you vegans and vegetarians!
If you feel like you need an extra boost of protein and amino acids, check out collagen peptides. BUBS Naturals Collagen Peptides are sourced from grass-fed cows and are full of amino acids, including seven of the nine essential amino acids including isoleucine (with up to 300 mg).
For a comprehensive look at all the good things isoleucine can do to a body, check out our installment on how Everything’s Better with Isoleucine.
Valine, leucine and isoleucine all work together to help enhance muscle recovery so you can have greater stamina and shorter recovery time when hitting the gym. But valine also functions to boost energy levels, lower high blood sugar, increase growth hormones (in infants and children especially) and soothe an anxious nervous system. Levels of valine in the body are especially important for athletes to monitor, or generally be aware of, so they can prevent injury by reinforcing their muscles or, if an injury does occur, stimulating a quick recovery process so they can get back at it as soon as possible!
Obviously, a lack of valine can cause damage to muscles over time, and can further slow muscle recovery timeframes. Also, if proper amounts of this amino acid aren’t being ingested, it can cause slower cognitive processes and a hyperactive nervous system. So how can this be avoided? The answer is simple, really: consume foods high in protein.
As valine is found within proteins, it follows that many protein-rich foods also contain valine. You can find high valine content in whole grains such as quinoa or brown rice; nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts; soy; fish; meats such as chicken, beef, and lamb; and mushrooms, to name a few.
Even though you can find valine in these foods, that doesn’t mean you can’t help your body and your diet out a bit. If you take a look at BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein, you’ll find one of its claims to fame is muscle recovery. This is partly due to the valine contained within the collagen protein and partly to the proline and lysine also found in the amino profile of BUBS Collagen Peptides. The three amino acids work together to balance the body’s level of nitrogen, restore those sore muscles in record time, and strengthen tendons and ligaments.
Interested in knowing all there is to know about valine? We recommend Valine: Why You Need It & Where to Get It to learn more.
The amino acid histidine is unique, with a laundry list of holistic benefits. Histidine falls into the category of the nine essential amino acids (with very small amounts of histidine being produced in the liver), making it important to obtain histidine from one’s diet.
Just like all the amino acids, histidine spends its days working to keep the normal functions of the body, well, functioning! It’s especially important for balancing the pH levels of the body because whacky levels means whacky internal happenings. And no one wants to deal with the side effects of off-balance pH.
Not only that, but histidine helps break down trace elements, aids in cognitive functioning by helping form myelin sheaths, regulates hemoglobin, protects the skin from harmful UV, and removes heavy metals such as mercury from the body….and the list actually continues. Needless to say, if you’re deficient in histidine, you won’t be feeling all too great.
Since it's an amino acid, histidine can be found in protein-rich foods and protein supplements like collagen. A majority of the foods you probably eat already are good sources of histidine. Meat, fish, chicken and eggs, dairy and most whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, rye) are rich in histidine. Additionally, cauliflower, seafood, potatoes, citrus fruit, mushrooms and bananas will give your diet a nice histidine boost. Since animal-based proteins contain higher levels of protein (and thus contain a greater amino acid content) than plant-based proteins, consider supplementing your diet with protein powder in order to avoid unpleasant deficiency effects if you’re sticking to a plant-based diet.
One such supplement to consider is BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein, crafted from hydrolyzed, grass-fed and pasture-raised peptides. Just one scoop contains 160mg of histidine, making it easy to supply your system with the needed amount.
Curious about all the benefits of histidine? Read How to Normalize Your pH with Histidine to learn all about it!
Your body can make 11 amino acids all on its own. That’s amazing. Methionine, classified as an essential amino acid, is not one of them. Therefore, you need to source methionine from your daily diet, or from supplemental sources like BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein. Methionine is found within the proteins of tissues and organs of your body and works there to keep your cells operating as they should.
It’s vital to make sure you are getting the proper amount of methionine for multiple reasons. Methionine is one of two amino acids with sulfur content and is therefore used to create sulfur-containing molecules in the body that help with important cellular-level functions, such as protecting tissue, modifying DNA and helping with cell functionality. Methionine also aids in the process of making new cells; this can lead to faster workout recovery, for example, by replacing the damaged muscle cells with healthy, new ones.
And if that wasn’t good enough, methionine also stimulates the body to secrete the hormone somatotropin, an important fat-burning hormone, making methionine an important amino acid in one’s weight loss journey.
Wow, that’s an impressive list. The next question is undoubtedly, where can I get it? Methionine is found in protein, so we recommend finding foods with a high protein content to put you on the right track. Eggs, fish, chicken, beef and dairy items are all notable methionine sources.
So, if you’re wanting a little boost to stave off deficiency, check out BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein. Methionine is contained in collagen protein, so by supplementing your diet with protein powder, you’re also putting into your body the methionine your body can’t produce on its own. Mix a scoop or two into your morning coffee and rest assured that methionine and all its amino acid companions found within the protein are hard at work!
As with any good team, working together is essential for optimal performance. The same is true for all amino acids. In an effort to avoid becoming deficient in one and overly proficient in another, we have balanced our BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein Powder with the proper amounts of all the amino acids to operate in accordance with the needs of your body. And not only that, but by focusing on eating a well-monitored, adequately balanced diet, you will find the amino acids working together to build those proteins to benefit you as best as they can.
Whether your goal is a healthy gut, a sharper brain, ever-glowing skin or consistent energy levels, the amino acids stand at the ready to help.