Written by Myles Spar
Posted on: October 10, 2018
Feeling old? Off your game? As I write about here, certain symptoms—joint pain, hearing loss, skin changes—can be indicators of fast aging. While there’s no way to know exactly how much longer you’ll live, there are clues that give you an idea of how your health is faring as you get older. One of the things your body could be telling you is that you’re lacking sufficient amounts of amino acids. These organic compounds are the building blocks of protein, and they play a role in all of the body’s cellular processes. Here are nine signs you have an amino acid deficiency.
1. Trouble Focusing
Tyrosine is an essential amino acid found in protein-rich foods like dairy products, meat, and eggs. As LIVESTRONG explains, tyrosine helps boost your body’s production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine that help you focus, and insufficient tyrosine may cause you to have trouble concentrating.
We all have days where we feel like we’re dragging. But if you find yourself constantly struggling with exhaustion, you may not be getting the amino acids you need to fuel your body.
3. Memory Loss
In addition to its role in energy production, acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to improve cognition and memory—which is why it’s on my list of top supplements for brain health. According to the website healingwithnutrition.com, one study found that elderly patients with mild memory deterioration who supplemented with acetyl-L-carnitine experienced significantly improved mental function. Just make sure it is the acetyl form, as plain l-carnitine doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier.
4. Slow Illness Recovery
SF Gate reports that insufficient amino acid intake can compromise your body’s ability to recover from infection by slowing the process.
5. Muscle Loss
Bodybuilding.com explains that, in the absence of sufficient energy produced by amino acids, your body may break down muscle tissue in order to fuel itself during intense exercise. And science suggests that long-term supplementation with amino acids may help prevent and treat age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). In general, your body will break down muscle tissue if it’s not getting enough of even one of the amino acids it needs.
6. Craving Unhealthy Foods
Do you have an insatiable sweet tooth? Are you crazy for carbs? Your brain might not be getting the amino acids it needs to help you feel satisfied, according to Psychology Today. Neurotransmitters that help control your appetite are made from amino acids.
If you can’t run as fast or lift as much weight as you used to, you might want to evaluate your intake of amino acids from protein. As reported by Men’s Journal, inadequate protein intake can lead to muscle weakness.
8. Depressed Mood
Research shows that some amino acids are precursors to neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine that are associated with depression.
Can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed? If you feel like all you want to do is sleep, you could be lacking amino acids needed to energize you.
Experiencing any or all of these symptoms? There are steps you can take. Of the twenty total amino acids, nine are essential, meaning your body can’t produce them and so they must be obtained through food. To make sure you’re getting enough, Greatist recommends eating a wide variety of protein sources every day.
For personalized diet and supplement recommendations, contact Tack180 to set up a free consultation. The Tack180 team understands that identifying underlying health problems and designing a customized plan is only half the battle. Deploying that plan and remaining accountable is where the real challenge begins. Through a series of lessons, check-ins and progress reports, you will be personally supported in overcoming obstacles to behavior change so that each one of my recommendations becomes part of your daily regimen. Tack180 will gradually transform from new program to a permanent lifestyle. You will no longer make best guesses as to what you should be doing, eating and taking. You’ll have a data-driven plan based around your own physiology, in order to live your life with the purpose and conviction that you’re doing all you can for optimal health.
About Myles Spar, MD
Myles Spar, MD, MPH is board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Integrative Medicine. As a clinician, teacher and researcher on faculty of two major medical centers, he has led the charge for a more proactive, holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on cutting edge technology and preventative care. Dr. Spar has traveled with the NBA, presented a TEDx Talk, appeared on Dr. Oz, and been featured in publications such as the Men’s Journal and the Los Angeles Times.