When we grow older, not only hormones, but also protein components, of which our body consists, are produced less intensively.
One of such important components is glutamine amino acid, which can be produced by our body in muscles. But in the process of aging we lose per 10 years of life at the average 3 kg of muscles and, correspondingly, those important substances that are produced in muscles, including glutamine.
This glutamine has various effects: it is not only the main component of collagen; it also regulates so-called ”insulin sensitivity”, i.e. provides practical possibility of blood sugar penetration into cells.
On the other hand, it works as a biological ”fighter”, catching and deactivating the ”enemies” of our body, free radicals. For that purpose, glutathione is produced of glutamine. Reduced glutathione (GSH) has a free thiol group and, for its part, can transfer electrons to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and neutralize them; at that, each two molecules of glutathione join together, building glutathione disulfide (GSSG) with formation of disulfide bridge. Additionally, GSH is an ”emergency supply” for production of cysteine amino acid and, moreover, provides synthesis of taurine.
Production of glutathione begins mainly in healthy cells, not in cancer cells, due to acid environment existing there, and desired apoptosis of the cancer cell does not slow down.
However, glutamine is primarily nutrition for cells of our bowel: it strengthens them and prevents ”holed” bowel, so-called leaky gut syndrome, which makes it possible for intestinal bacteria to leave the bowel and to penetrate in the body, which can cause inflammations, abdominal pain and allergic reactions.
There are multiple studies and meta-analysis, which show that these irritations of the mucous membrane can be mitigated or even prevented simply by supply of this amino acid.
Recent works show that glutamine is also important for activity of hair ollicles and, thus, can improve hair loss situation.
Glycine is the smallest amino acid, referring thus to the oldest components of proteins. Its name descends from the Greek word ”sweet”. Due to its small size, it can build itself into the protein in narrow areas, having thus an impact on its secondary structure: it is particularly important in collagen, the most common protein of the human body.
It is represented there by more than 30 percent, which emphasizes the importance of this amino acid for muscles and conjunctive tissue. Collagen has so called triple spiral structure, which can be only formed if glycine is built in collagen – it shows how important this amino acid is for conjunctive tissue and collagen. Glycine is an important component not only of muscles and conjunctive tissue, but also of nervous system. It has, on the one hand, a calming effect, and stimulating effect on the other hand, having thus an Yin Yang mechanism, and it is very important for normal brain function.
ML-arginine is an ɑ-amino acid that is important for production of protein and is called ”semiessential” for the human body, i.e. humans can only provide themselves only partially with it and need its supply from outside.
Its name descends from Latin word ”Argentum” (silver), as this amino acid could firstly be isolated as a silver salt. It is notable that this amino acid has the largest weight ratio of nitrogen among all amino acids that are needed for production of proteins. It explains its importance for formation of muscles, tissues and organs – of all that requires nitrogen.
This, it is an ideal biochemical partner for glutamine, which is the main component of collagen. Together they strengthen our conjunctive tissues. However, arginine has a vital importance because a gas is liberated from this amino acid, that is essential for our heart and blood circulation,
nitrogen monoxide, which consists only of two atoms but has an important mission – to keep out arteries wide, providing thus blood flow.
Actually, nitrogen preparations used in medicine are nothing else but sources of nitrogen monoxide, like arginine.
Alfred Nobel, who suffered from serious heart blood supply disturbances, shortly before his death wrote in his diary that it was a paradox of destiny, that doctors prescribe him those chemical compounds that he studied all his life, these nitrogen compounds. Arginine is a natural nitrogen compound that is present in the nature and that can be supplied from the outside.
More recent original works and meta-analyses, as well as systematic review works describe the revitalizing effect of L-arginine on healthy people and in cases of arterial sclerosis, endothelial dysfunction and high blood pressure; it is recommended there to add the amino acid in food as a therapy for metabolic disorders being the cause of heart and blood circulation diseases.
Lysine is an essential amino acid that shall be supplied with food. However, the most part of foods contain only fixed L-lysine, as a component of proteins, and not free L-lysine. And free lysine that is present in cereals is not sufficient for daily demand. According to estimations, the daily demand for adults, depending on methods applied, is from 8 to 45 mg of lysine per kilogram of body weight.
For that reasons it appears reasonable to take this amino acid, because it is an important component of collagen, conjunctive tissue and immune system. Additionally, lysine in tissues is subject to the aging process, at that its L-form is transformed into D-form. It is one more reason for initial L-form that is necessary in tissues.
Aging and amino acids
Aging of a human happens at various levels; it affects also proteins consisting of amino acids, which are folded incorrectly, or are produced in too small amounts, or amino acids are supplied in cells insufficiently or incorrectly due to their absence or age-specific changes.
Amino acids that are elements of all protein molecules can have spontaneous (i.e. nonenzymatic) changes, like deamination, at which the rests of the amino acids are simply lost with age (for example, NH2 rest); on the other hand, spatial configuration of the amino acid changes during the aging process, its ”isomerization” or ”racemization” of our protein elements, which now cannot build up those molecules of proteins, of which our body consists; it is the process that we can see in the mirror when we age.
Very young proteins can change only geometrical shape of the amino acid, so-called L-form. When age increases, accumulation of the ”age form”, so-called ”D-form”, happens. It can be said more simply and pictorially: the elder you are, the more D-amino acids proteins contain.
These changes of amino acids have significant consequences for performance and appearance of our organs and parts of the body that consist of proteins. They play an important role in «molal aging» and are more and more interrelated with ”age-specific diseases”.
The relation between the scale of accumulation of such changed rests of amino acids and the age is so strong that it can be used in forensic medicine to estimate age (estimation of age of unidentified bodies within the framework of identification, estimation of age of living adults).
The meaning of amino acids in the aging process has been underestimated for a long time.
Glutamine has special importance in this connection, not only because it is subject to the same changes in the aging process and, thus, is responsible for age-specific changes of our protein organs, but also because it can be transformed into glutathione, which, on its part, has a task of elimination of amino acids with age-specific changes from our body.
Thus, more and more important role is assigned to proper supply of amino acids in the process of aging.