Amino acids contribute to musculoskeletal health and repair in many ways. For example, proline and glycine are essential for collagen production. Proline is the precursor to hydroxyproline, an essential ingredient in collagen production and thus in joint and tendon health and repair.
Methionine is a sulfur bearing amino acid and is necessary for cartilage formation. It has been shown to stabilize joint cartilage and protect joint tissue from damage, and also has shown to be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
| What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints. It is a disabling and painful inflammatory condition, which can lead to substantial loss of mobility due to pain and joint destruction. The disease is also systemic in that it often also affects many extra-articular tissues throughout the body including the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and muscles.
The name is derived from the Greek rheumatos meaning "flowing", the suffix -oid meaning "in the shape of", arthr meaning "joint" and the suffix -itis, a "condition involving inflammation".
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Arginine aids in the release of growth hormone, a powerful hormone that aids in collagen tissue repair. As well, arginine increases nitric oxide formation, which causes vasodilatation and improves circulation promoting the healing of damaged tissues and wounds.
| What Does Vasodilation Mean?
Dilation (expansion or stretching) of a blood vessel, as by the action of a nerve or drug.
It has also been shown to act as a mild analgesic and relieve pain. A report in The Lancet (Vol. 352, July 25, 1998) suggests that it may help promote healthy tendons and help promote soft tissue repair.
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Taurine, a sulfur-containing amino acid and the second most abundant amino acid, and the most abundant free amino acid, is found in skeletal muscle tissue.
A recent study on rats has shown that oral taurine supplementation may increase muscle performance and reduce muscle injury caused by exercise. The aim of the study was to determine if increasing muscle levels of taurine would decrease free radical damage after exercise-induced injury.
The authors found that first of all taurine levels rose in muscle after supplementation, and secondly that running performance was improved by the taurine supplementation. Thus it appears taurine supplementation may facilitate exercise performance and reduce some of the counterproductive muscle injury caused by exercise.
Another recent study found that taurine may attenuate exercise-induced DNA damage and enhance the capacity of exercise due to its cellular protective properties.
On a preventative level, taurine administration has been shown to increase taurine concentrations in skeletal muscles, reduce the decrease in taurine concentration in skeletal muscles on exercise, and up-regulates physical endurance.
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The branched chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine, have been shown to reduce muscle damage associated with prolonged exercise. They're also invaluable in increasing protein synthesis for recovery and repair.
Histidine may also play a role in joint health by decreasing inflammation and perhaps in other ways. It's thought that people suffering from arthritis benefit from supplemental histidine because of the effects it may have in reducing inflammation associated with joint disease and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Some products contain all of the above amino acids, as well as several dozen other ingredients to help you to prevent musculoskeletal problems and to deal with muscle aches, pains and injuries.
Other Amino Acid Containing Products
Some products are formulated to support muscle, cartilage and joint function in many ways. First of all by maintaining tissue integrity to prevent musculoskeletal problems. Secondly they provide the mechanisms and stimulus for repair of injured or damaged musculoskeletal tissue, whatever the cause. They also offer relief for aches and pains.
By providing several dozen ingredients that work along synergistic pathways to decrease inflammation and promote the body's natural synthesis and maintenance of joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, it protects, prevents and helps in the repair of musculoskeletal injuries and inflammation, regardless of the cause.
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These products are used by thousands of bodybuilders and other athletes, both amateur and professional, to help them get the most out of their training. They are also used by countless health professionals as an aid to both prevent and treat injuries.
- Dawson Jr R, Biasetti M, Messina S, Dominy J. The cytoprotective role of taurine in exercise-induced muscle injury. Amino Acids 2002;22(4):309-24.
- Zhang M, Izumi I, Kagamimori S, Sokejima S, Yamagami T, Liu Z, Qi B. Role of taurine supplementation to prevent exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy young men. Amino Acids. 2004 Mar;26(2):203-7.
- Yatabe Y, Miyakawa S, Miyazaki T, Matsuzaki Y, Ochiai N. Effects of taurine administration in rat skeletal muscles on exercise. J Orthop Sci. 2003;8(3):415-9.
- Coombes JS, McNaughton LR. Effects of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase after prolonged exercise. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2000 Sep;40(3):240-6.