While animal proteins are the best bet for a full serving of all essential amino acids, there are cases where certain amino acids can be of great benefit when taken in higher concentrations. This is why the supplementation of various individual amino acids has become more commonplace in recent years.
One amino acid which is supplemented by many athletes and power lifters is leucine. Leucine is the primary amino acid required for protein synthesis. Leucine increases the rate of transcription for proteins in the body, which then aid in the building of muscle tissue. Leucines ability to increase the rate of transcription lies in its role as a common structural motif known as a “leucine zipper”. A structural motif, in the world of genetics refers a certain protein structure, which is commonly required for various functions. The leucine zipper binds what is known as transcription factors, which are regulatory factors for gene transcription. Leucine is the only amino acid with these characteristics which is why it can often be found as an isolated product.
Another amino acid which is commonly used in supplemental form is arginine. Arginine is necessary for the production of Nitrous Oxide (NO 2). This is a chemical which aids in the dilation of blood vessels and is naturally synthesized in the body. Arginine has also been associated with increasing the secretion of a protein known as glucagon like protein (GLP1) which helps restore glucose balance in the blood and tissues by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Arginine is often used an effective weight loss supplement and is administered to diabetics to help get blood sugar levels under control.