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Amino acid analysis can be an important part of any thorough nutritional and metabolic analysis, especially in cases of chronic conditions that have been difficult to diagnose or have failed to respond to treatment. Many laboratories are beginning to offer profile testing of up to 40 amino acids and related products, providing information on a variety of metabolic and nutritional disorders. Examples of these include: protein inadequacy, gastrointestinal insufficiencies, inflammatory responses, vitamin and mineral dysfunctions, detoxification impairments, cardiovascular disease, ammonia toxicity, food and chemical sensitivities, depression, neurological dysfunction and inborn errors of metabolism.
 

 
 

Test Amino Acid Profile can help with the following:
 
 
Hormones  Night Eating Syndrome

Mental

  Depression
 Amino acid profiles done on blood can reveal imbalances seen in a variety of disorders including depression. Low tyrosine or phenylalanine levels can result in abnormal levels of mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and catecholamines. Low tyrosine levels can also create subnormal levels of thyroid hormone - a well-known cause of depression.

Methionine is the precursor of SAMe which is needed for proper functioning of catecholamines and may be low in patients with depression.

Tryptophan is the body's source material for producing the hormones serotonin and melatonin, which also influence sleep patterns and mood. Depletion of tryptophan can cause an increase in depressed mood states; lower tryptophan levels have been correlated with a higher depression score even in patients who were already under treatment with anti-depressant drugs. [Arch Gen Psychiatry 1990;47(5): pp.411-18]
 
 


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GLOSSARY

Amino Acid:  An organic acid containing nitrogen chemical building blocks that aid in the production of protein in the body. Eight of the twenty-two known amino acids are considered "essential," and must be obtained from dietary sources because the body can not synthesize them.

Cardiovascular:  Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Gastrointestinal:  Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Metabolism:  The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Mineral:  Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.