The Importance of Amino Acids for Optimal Health


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They are very important when it comes to exercise and daily brain function. Grass-fed meat contains all 22 essential amino acids.

For proper recovery healing and duration, metabolism and fat loss, amino acids are necessary.

The most important aspect of amino acids are their ability to increase and promote muscle growth.

GABA is both an amino acid and key neurotransmitter.

This is one of many amino acids that your body needs. Due to our fast paced and over-scheduled society, our natural GABA levels are depleted on an epidemic proportion.

With a deficiency of amino acids such as GABA you can experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Lower sex drive
  • Disorders of the heart
  • Depression

"Foods rich in complex carbohydrates increases GABA in the brain because they increases glutamine, an amino acid that is a precursor (needed in the formation of) to GABA. Introducing GABA-friendly foods into meals and avoiding excess simple sugars, white flours and wheat products can help elevate and maintain GABA levels." Dr. Braverman from the book The Edge Effect

Foods that increase Amino Acid Levels

  • Beef, Poultry, Seafood and other meats have great quantities of naturally-occurring amino acids in them
  • Almonds and other tree nuts
  • Bananas
  • Beef Liver
  • Broccoli
  • Rice
  • Halibut
  • Oranges, citrus fruits
  • Spinach
  • Walnuts

Fitness and Amino acids

Amino Acids are found in a lot of foods in the Paleo diet, but there are some that have been isolated over the years that can not be found in foods.

On a personal level, DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and general recovery time is drastically reduced while supplementing with BCAA.

Also supplementing with BCAA, workout endurance and stamina is increased.

Without a BCAA supplement or simply having a deficiency of these amino acids, especially L-Glutamine, you may experience a huge loss in energy during exercise and struggle to finish.

If you are halfway through a workout and feel a large drain on energy levels, amino acid and B vitamin deficiency may be a culprit.

Two other common problems associated with "more than normal" post-exercise fatigue are too low carbohydrate consumption and stage 1 adrenal fatigue.

For a more thorough look at ways to maintain high intensity through your workouts, you can read this.

In short, eat the foods and products listed throughout Not Just Paleo's Ultimate Food Guide and consider supplementation with specially selected items included in the store.