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Obesity and Amino Acids: How Muscle-building Macronutrients Can Promote Weight Loss and Protect Health

By: by Amino Science
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Obesity is hard on health, and many turn to weight loss as the answer. However, losing weight doesn’t always mean losing fat, as much of the weight loss is really just muscle loss, which can put you at further risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Taking an essential amino acid supplement daily can help make sure the weight you lose is fat, not muscle, and protect your overall health in the process. If you’re in search of a weight-loss solution and curious about the relationship between obesity and amino acids, then keep reading. We’re covering the science behind amino acids and their effects on fat!

Which Amino Acids Have the Most Impact on Obesity?

There are three main categories of amino acids: essential amino acids, nonessential amino acids, and conditionally essential amino acids.

Your body can produce nonessential amino acids, so when all is working right with the body, you don’t have to sweat getting enough of them in your diet. When a health condition emerges or in times of stress or illness, a nonessential amino acid such as glycine, proline, or glutamine can become conditionally essential, meaning it needs you to give it an extra boost through your diet. 

The essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and you can only get them through the foods you eat and the supplements you take. They’re also the most important amino acids for obesity. 

There are nine essential amino acids your body needs a continual supply of to survive and thrive:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

In your search for a weight-loss solution, you’ve likely come across three of these: the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)—leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They do, indeed, promote fat loss and muscle growth, the perfect weight-loss recipe.

Leucine is the most abundant essential amino acid in muscle protein and it activates the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway (mTor) which jumpstarts muscle protein synthesis, the process by which muscle is formed.  

Isoleucine and valine help increase energy during exercise and lower blood glucose and insulin levels due to the anti-insulin action of catecholamines, thereby improving insulin sensitivity and protecting against the development of type 2 diabetes. 

But they can’t perform their individual weight-loss and muscle-building duties without the help of all the essential amino acids, even when BCAA levels are high. A supplement containing a full host of essential amino acids boosts muscle protein synthesis to a far greater extent than a supplement of just the BCAAs or a supplement of leucine alone. And boosting muscle should be priority #1 for obese individuals looking to lose weight. 

Obesity is commonly accompanied by a condition called sarcopenia, which is the progressive loss of lean muscle mass alongside an increase in fat mass. Sarcopenia’s impact on body composition isn’t superficial. It contributes greatly to reductions in functional capacity and inhibits the ability to perform daily activities, particularly among the elderly population. Treatment isn’t as simple as calorie restriction and weight loss, since a reduction in calories often leads to even greater losses in muscle mass. 

It’s common for doctors and nutritionists to prescribe a high-protein meal replacement such as Bariatric Advantage to help obese subjects lose adipose tissue (fat) and build and maintain muscle. Science is showing...there’s a better way.

An essential amino acid supplement that exceeds daily protein intake minimums is a far more effective way to maintain lean muscle mass than a meal replacement like Bariatric Advantage. Researchers examined changes in protein synthesis, protein breakdown (catabolism), and net protein balance in elderly overweight men and women. Results showed that an essential amino acid blend produces significantly greater gains in protein synthesis and greater reductions in catabolic protein breakdown, with a 2.5-fold higher increase in net balance compared to Bariatric Advantage (1). 

The loss of lean skeletal muscle and increase in body fat in obese individuals greatly reduces quality of life and future health outcomes. Supplementing with a low-calorie, targeted essential amino acid formula can help encourage weight loss while preserving lean muscle mass and protecting against insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, a benefit not able to be replicated to the same degree with current meal replacements made up of the highest quality protein (2).

How Amino Acids Promote Weight Loss

Obesity and Amino Acids Effect on the Brain

Obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, affects the neurotransmitters in your brain that are responsible for appetite control, satiety cues, and cravings for sugars and carbohydrates. Obese patients have been found to have lower levels of these neurotransmitters and can benefit from supplemental support (3). 

Certain amino acids act as directly as neurotransmitters, while others act as precursors, or “building blocks” for neurotransmitters.

The essential amino acid histidine is the amino acid precursor to the neurotransmitter histamine, which helps to regulate food intake and promote a reduction in body weight. And tryptophan likewise helps to suppress appetite in its role as a precursor for serotonin.

If plasma amino acid levels are low, you can suffer from insatiable cravings for sugars, sweets, and carbs. Any imbalance in neurotransmitters can lead to weight gain and can stimulate appetite. 

Taking an essential amino acid supplement helps to keep neurotransmitters balanced and appetite under control, thereby promoting weight loss and whole-body wellness.

Supplementing with Essential Amino Acids for Weight Loss

If it’s targeted weight loss, muscle growth, and appetite control you’re after, then essential amino acids are an effective solution. In addition to a high protein diet, you can raise your amino acid levels, maximize amino acid metabolism and glucose tolerance, and reduce the risk factors for metabolic disorders by taking an essential amino acid supplement with a high proportion of leucine.

Amino Company scientists have formulated the precise concentration of amino acids to promote fat loss and build muscle mass in the face of human obesity and in times of surgery, injury, or illness. And nonobese individuals can also benefit. Essential amino acids play an important role in total-body health and disease prevention. 

Increase your amino acid concentrations, defeat adiposity, and improve muscle protein metabolism. Shop our targeted blends here.

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