How do amino acids impact height?

Amino acids play crucial roles in body development, constituting the main components of proteins, synthesizing hormones, and transmitting nerve signals. Over 20 different amino acids exist in the human body. Apart from natural sources, various supplements containing amino acids aim to enhance athletic performance and improve body composition. This article delves into the understanding of amino acids and their impact on height and overall health.

What are Amino Acids?

Amino acids (short for α-amino carboxylic acids) are organic compounds formed by Nitrogen, Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen.

Constituting about 20% of the body’s structure, amino acids rank second only to water. Research indicates amino acids make up roughly 50% of the body’s solid mass. For instance, a person weighing 50kg may have approximately 10kg composed of amino acids.

How Many Types of Amino Acids Exist?

There are around 20 different amino acids in our bodies, serving functions vital for growth and sustaining life. Amino acids fall into two main groups: Essential Amino Acids and Non-Essential Amino Acids.

Non-Essential Amino Acids

This group, comprising 11 types, can be synthesized by the body from sources like fatty acids, ammonia, and amides. Non-essential amino acids include Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Proline, Serine, and Tyrosine.

Essential Amino Acids

Essential Amino Acids (BCAA) consist of 9 types that the body cannot synthesize and must be obtained from the diet. These include Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine. These amino acids are crucial for growth and body development.

Establishing a protein-rich diet is the best way to supplement the body with these essential amino acids. Proteins, when consumed, transform into amino acids, which then synthesize into proteins, contributing to muscle development and immune system regulation.

Twenty types of amino acids constitute the protein structure in the human body.

Twenty types of amino acids constitute the protein structure in the human body.

Health Benefits of Amino Acid Supplementation

Here are the health benefits of adequate amino acid intake for the body:

  • Enhances Mood and Sleep: Amino acids are essential for serotonin production, a neurotransmitter regulating mood and sleep. Supplementing with amino acids, specifically Tryptophan, can alleviate depressive symptoms and improve mood and sleep.
  • Improves Athletic Performance: Essential branch-chained amino acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) are widely used to reduce fatigue, enhance athletic performance, and stimulate muscle recovery after exercise. Studies show supplementation effectively reduces pain and aids muscle recovery.
  • Prevents Muscle Loss: Amino acids prevent muscle breakdown and maintain muscle mass. Research on less active older adults demonstrated that supplementing with 15g of amino acids daily helped sustain protein synthesis for muscle development.
  • Boosts Immune Health: Proteins formed from amino acids are vital components of immune globulins, protecting the body against diseases. Amino acids also contribute to metabolic activities, maintaining immune function and overall health stability.
  • Nurtures Body Growth: Certain amino acids contribute to the structure of skin, hair, and the stability of these body parts. Collagen, essential for healthy hair and skin, is synthesized from amino acids. A deficiency can result in weakened hair, dry skin, and wrinkles.
  • Supports Nervous System Health: Approximately 35% of nerve cell mass consists of proteins formed by amino acids, reinforcing and maintaining brain health for intellectual development.
  • Maintains Bone and Joint Health: Proteins derived from amino acids make up about 50% of bone volume and one-third of bone mass. Collagen molecules continually released during protein breakdown contribute to bone formation. Adequate protein intake is crucial for maintaining bone health.

For children and adolescents in the height development phase, a protein-rich diet contributes to optimizing bone growth, thereby promoting rapid height development.

The Importance of Amino Acids for Height

The height development process in children and adolescents is influenced by the activity of the pituitary gland, an organ located at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland controls bone development by secreting vital proteins formed from amino acids that the body cannot synthesize on its own.

Among the 9 essential amino acids, only 4 impact bone and cartilage, aiding height improvement. These amino acids are categorized into L- and D-, with L- being more absorbable and functioning better in the human body.

The 4 crucial amino acids for linear bone growth are:

L-Arginine:

  • Converts to nitric oxide, enhancing blood circulation.
  • Accelerates body growth rate and maintains stability for children and adolescents.
  • Supports the effective release of growth hormones, stimulating rapid bone growth.

Without sufficient L-Arginine, the pituitary gland struggles to enhance growth hormone secretion, hindering optimal bone growth.

L-Leucine:

  • Muscle Building: These essential amino acids play a crucial role in muscle synthesis, activating muscle building to optimize athletic training.
  • Fat Reduction: Leucine aids muscle building while reducing excess body fat. It stimulates the body to burn subcutaneous fat to construct muscle tissues.
  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Elevated blood sugar can impact your health, leading to symptoms like fatigue and weight loss.
  • Support for Liver Fibrosis Patients: Liver fibrosis can result in severe complications such as internal bleeding, jaundice, and more.

L-Lysine:

  • Plays a vital role in protein formation.
  • Facilitates the complete absorption of vitamins and minerals, maintaining overall health.
  • Limits calcium loss in urine, protecting bones and regulating calcium circulation.

L-Lysine also expedites wound healing by promoting collagen formation, supporting antibody and enzyme production.

  • Protects against bone density loss and prevents calcium accumulation in the bloodstream.
  • Enhances wound healing by stimulating collagen formation.
  • Supports the absorption of nutrients for comprehensive height and body development.

L-Ornithine:

  • Influences height development by stimulating the pituitary gland to produce growth-regulating substances.
  • Provides additional positive benefits like muscle and tendon development, immune system enhancement, improved liver function, collagen production, and accelerated wound healing.

Health experts recommend combining L-Ornithine and L-Arginine for the most potent stimulation of the pituitary gland, achieving maximum growth hormone production and subsequently, increased height.

With their positive impacts on overall health and bone development, L-Arginine, L-Lysine, and L-Ornithine become key components in height-increasing support products.

Amino Acids in Various Foods

Amino acids are found in a variety of foods, both animal and plant-based. Some sources rich in amino acids include:

Animal Protein:

  • Meat (beef, chicken, pork)
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, and seafood are food types rich in amino acids.

Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, and seafood are food types rich in amino acids.

Plant-Based Protein:

  • Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, peanuts, chia seeds)
  • Tofu and other soy products
  • Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice)

Vegetables:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus

Fruits:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges

A varied and balanced diet that includes a mix of these food sources ensures an adequate intake of essential amino acids for overall health and well-being.

Read more: Does Vitamin B1 Help in Height Growth?

Is it advisable to use dietary supplements for amino acid supplementation?

The decision to use amino acid supplements depends on various factors, including individual dietary needs, health goals, and any existing medical conditions. It’s important to consider the following points:

  • Dietary Intake: If you already have a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of protein sources, you may be getting an adequate amount of amino acids from your food.
  • Health Goals: If you have specific health or fitness goals, such as muscle building or athletic performance, you might consider supplements to ensure you meet your increased protein and amino acid requirements.
  • Medical Conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions or dietary restrictions might benefit from amino acid supplements. However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation.
  • Vegetarian or Vegan Diet: Those following vegetarian or vegan diets may find it challenging to obtain certain essential amino acids solely from plant-based sources. In such cases, targeted supplements might be considered.
  • Age and Life Stage: Children, pregnant or lactating women, and the elderly may have unique nutritional needs. Consulting with a healthcare provider can help determine if amino acid supplements are necessary.
  • Quality of Supplements: If choosing to use supplements, it’s essential to select high-quality products from reputable sources to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Always consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before starting any supplementation. They can assess your specific needs, provide personalized advice, and monitor for potential interactions with existing medications or health conditions.

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