Amino acids, which are often referred to as the “building blocks of protein,” play an essential role in supporting the body’s vital functions. Their role is so critical that we literally cannot survive without them because proteins provide the structure for all living cells. Next to water, proteins make up the greatest percentage of the body’s weight.

There are more than 20 amino acids and a shortage of any of them can impair the body’s ability to function normally. Amino acids support biochemical reactions and hormones that affect the body’s metabolism. They also aid in the production of hemoglobin which carries oxygen throughout the body as well as antibodies that fight infection. Amino acids support the digestive process through the creation of enzymes.  Additionally, amino acids are the catalysts that activate the vitamins and minerals that we ingest so that they can be used by the body.

It is important that the body maintains adequate amounts of amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids that the body needs, the liver manufactures 11. These are called nonessential, not because they aren’t important but because the body produces them on its own. The other nine, known as essential amino acids, must be derived from plant and animal proteins in our diet or from supplements.

Unlike fat, amino acids cannot be store in the body. Consequently it is important that you replenish essential amino acids through your diet. Foods that can provide the essential amino acids we need include meats, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds. Soybeans and soy protein contain high concentrations of amino acids, making them a good choice for vegetarians who prefer not to include dairy and meat products in their diets.

Because most people don’t get enough protein from the foods they eat, many people choose to take amino acid supplements. One of the best ones on the market is Secretagogue Plus, which is available from the Institute for Vibrant Living. This remarkable supplement contains a proprietary blend of amino acids along with proteins and botanical extracts that support vibrant health.  Taken daily, this supplement can help increase muscle mass, improve cardiac function and boost the immune system. It also works to decrease body fat and speed recovery from injury. Best of all, it is easy to use because it is a pleasant tasting fizzy drink that you enjoy once a day in four ounces of water.

Talk to your holistic practitioner about adding amino acid supplements to your daily routine to make sure you are receiving the vital nutrients you need to stay healthy. Even a minor deficiency in amino acids can cause serious health issues so make sure you are getting adequate amounts. Your body will thank you for it.