Amino acid supplementation


Amino acid supplementation is a topic that has been discussed on the . Here are some key points mentioned by and guests:


  • It's suggested that glutamine can reduce sugar cravings. Since there are glutamine-sensing neurons in the gut, ingesting it can signal satiety to the brain and offset cravings for sugar 1.
  • Glutamine may bolster the immune system and can be taken in dosages ranging from 1 to 10 grams per day 2.
  • It's also been mentioned as helpful for muscle recovery and might be useful for offsetting leaky gut, though the evidence is more anecdotal 3.

    Reducing Sugar Cravings

    Andrew discusses the potential benefits of ingesting essential fatty acids and amino acids, such as glutamine, to reduce sugar cravings. While there is limited research on the topic, anecdata suggests that this approach could be effective. However, caution should be taken when increasing glutamine intake, especially for those with preexisting cancer.

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    Controlling Sugar Cravings & Metabolism with Science-Based Tools | Huberman Lab Podcast #64
  • Glutamine can potentially reduce hunger by triggering the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), which reduces the activity of neurons that promote feeding 4.

Arginine and Ornithine

  • Supplements like arginine and ornithine can substantially increase growth hormone levels, especially when taken with low blood glucose 5.

Other Amino Acids

  • To support muscle growth and repair, the essential amino acid leucine is mentioned, with a suggested intake of 700 to 3000 milligrams with each meal 6.
  • For cognitive function, choline is recommended, acting as an amino acid precursor to acetylcholine, which can improve concentration and focus. Alpha-GPC is cited as an effective supplement to enhance acetylcholine transmission 7.

General Notes and Precautions

When considering amino acid supplementation:

  • It's usually recommended to obtain essential amino acids from whole foods first, with supplements as an additional or alternative source if necessary.
  • Caution should be taken, especially if there's a pre-existing condition such as cancer since some amino acids might be contraindicated in those cases.
  • As with any supplementation, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new regimen to ensure it's safe and suitable for one's individual health condition.

The discussions on the highlight both the benefits and the prudent use of amino acid supplementation in various contexts, always emphasizing a science-based approach and personal health considerations.


What are the safety considerations for amino acid supplementation?


Safety considerations for amino acid supplementation, as noted by experts featured on the , include the following:

  • Cancer Risk: Certain types of cancer may consume amino acids like glutamine for growth. Therefore, anyone with a predisposition to cancer or who currently has cancer should be especially cautious with amino acid supplements, particularly glutamine, and always check with a doctor before supplementing 1.

  • Quality of Protein Sources: When discussing vegan protein options, it's noted that the availability and quality of amino acids can be a concern. While cooking plant-based proteins can help with bioavailability, they still might not have the same effect as animal proteins in stimulating muscle protein synthesis 2.

Besides these points, when considering the general population, it's crucial to remember other safety considerations:

  • Balance and Dosage: Excessive amounts can have adverse effects. Balance with other nutrients and following recommended dosages is important to minimize potential risks.

  • Interactions: Amino acids can interact with medications and other supplements, so a healthcare provider should review current medications before recommending amino acid supplements.

  • Allergies or Sensitivities: Some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to certain amino acid supplements.

It's important to bear in mind that while amino acid supplementation can confer various health benefits, the decision to use them should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional, who can take into account individual health profiles and needs.

Micronutrients and Feeding

Andrew explains how glutamine, an essential amino acid, can trigger the release of Cck which helps reduce activity in neurons that promote feeding. Micronutrients like omega 3 fatty acids and Clas also play a role in regulating feeding. Glutamine can reduce sugar cravings and bolster the immune system, making it a valuable nutrient to seek out.

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What do health professionals say about amino acid supplementation?


Health professionals featured on the have made various points regarding amino acid supplementation:

  • , who appeared on the podcast, discussed the significance of amino acid content in vegan proteins like soy. While there might be concerns regarding testosterone and estrogen, moderate consumption of soy doesn't seem to have a negative effect on these hormones. Norton also mentioned that protein quality is vital, and complete protein sources—those providing enough of all amino acids—are preferable 1.

  • spoke about supplements in the context of enhancing mood and mental health. He noted that certain supplement-based approaches employ amino acid precursors to neuromodulators, such as L-tyrosine for dopamine and L-tryptophan for serotonin. However, he emphasized that while these amino acids are designed to support neuroplasticity, they do not have the same potency as prescribed drugs like Wellbutrin or SSRIs, which more effectively increase neuromodulators like dopamine and serotonin. Hence, the extent of their impact on neuroplasticity remains somewhat uncertain 2.

It's important to remember that while these discussions provide insight, they are specific to the context of the podcasts and may not cover all health considerations associated with amino acid supplementation. A healthcare provider's advice will always be tailored to individual needs, taking into account the full context of a person's health and lifestyle.

Vegan Protein Options

Layne Norton discusses vegan protein options, including soy and whey protein. He explains that soy is a complete protein source and does not affect testosterone or estrogen levels when used in moderation. He also mentions that whey protein can now be produced without animal products, making it a great option for vegans.

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Dr Layne Norton: The Science of Eating for Health, Fat Loss & Lean Muscle | Huberman Lab Podcast #97

What does current research say about amino acid supplementation?


Recent discussions on the have offered a few insights into amino acid supplementation research:

  1. Agmatine Sulfate: cited a study published in 2010 in Pain Medicine that examined the safety and efficacy of dietary agmatine sulfate for lumbar disc-associated radiculopathy. The study concluded that agmatine sulfate was safe and effective for alleviating pain and improving quality of life, but it also emphasized the need to adhere to specific dosages and treatment durations. advises checking the dosage regimens described in the study, as supplementation should always follow scientific guidelines 1.

  2. Glutamine: The podcast also highlighted glutamine, an essential amino acid known to trigger the release of Cck (cholecystokinin) and reduce activity in neurons that promote feeding. Glutamine has implications for the immune system—potentially increasing the number of killer cells—and may also reduce sugar cravings. These roles of glutamine suggest that it can help maintain a healthy appetite range and bolster immunity 2.

  3. Supplement-Based Neuromodulator Precursors: discussed supplementing with amino acid precursors to neuromodulators, like L-tyrosine for dopamine and L-tryptophan for serotonin. While these can form part of strategies to support neuroplasticity, they are not as potent as prescription drugs like Wellbutrin (for dopamine) and SSRIs (for serotonin). Therefore, the effectiveness of such amino acid precursors in enhancing neuroplasticity and neuromodulator levels remains somewhat ambiguous 3.

    Natural Pain Relief

    Andrew discusses the safety and efficacy of dietary agmatine sulfate on lumbar disc associated pain and how it can improve the quality of life. He also mentions a study on the dosage regimens and duration of treatment.

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    How to Control Your Sense of Pain & Pleasure | Huberman Lab Podcast #32

These discussions on the Huberman Lab podcast draw from specific studies. For the most current and comprehensive information on amino acid supplementation, it's recommended to consult the latest research and professional advice tailored to individual needs.