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Nutrition: Protein and Amino Acids

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1. Describe why some amino acids are essential, nonessential, or conditionally essential to the human body, and state the outcome should any one of them be lacking from the diet?
2. Describe the roles that various proteins and amino acids can play in the body?
3. Explain the concept of nitrogen balance and compute the amount of protein needed for a healthy college student?
4. Explain protein deficiency and the effects of consuming too much protein?
5. What are the benefits and pitfalls of a vegetarian and meat containing diet?

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1. Describe why some amino acids are essential, nonessential, or conditionally essential to the human body, and state the outcome should any one of them be lacking from the diet?

Amino acids form proteins. Nonessential amino acids can be synthesized by the body and do not need to be consumed in the diet. The body is unable to make essential amino acids so they must be obtained from the diet. Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness of stress. Amino acids break down food, help the body grow, help repair body tissue and perform other body functions. Should the diet be lacking any one or more of amino acids, the body will break down muscle tissue to access the amino acids it contains to use elsewhere. Muscle wasting is the first symptom of an amino acid deficiency. There will also be a decreased immune response, weakness, fatigue, and changes in skin and hair. Lack of lysine can increase anxiety and stress levels.

2. Describe the roles that various proteins and amino acids can play in the body?

Protein and amino acids support growth and tissue maintenance. Protein forms structural basis of muscle tissue. Protein makes up 20 percent of the weight of the heart, skeletal muscles, liver and glands and 10 percent of brain tissue (Baechle, Earle, 2008). Leucine, isoleucine and valine (amino acids) constitute a large amount of muscle tissue. Protein can also be burned for energy if carbohydrates and fats are unavailable. Protein helps regulate metabolism. It is involved in almost all body functions. Protein is used in the formation of almost all enzymes and many hormones. Proteins serve as carriers of nutrients in the blood. Amino acid glycine ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes different types of amino acids (essential, nonessential) and importance for body. Also, discusses proteins; concept of nitrogen balance, and the computation for protein for average college student. It explains hazards of protein deficiency and effect of consuming too much protein. It discusses pros and cons of vegetarian diet. Includes APA formatted references.

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Essential, Non-Essential and Conditionally-Essential Amino Acids

Part 1

Explain what the term 'essential' means to you.
Identify one essential amino acid and describe how it could be obtained in your diet?
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a genetic disease that is screened for in newborns. Kwashiorkor is described in your readings this unit as a form of malnutrition caused by inadequate intake of proteins. Compare and contrast these two diseases and their requirements for amino acids.

Part 2

Stress-related anxiety is a very common occurrence in society today. Recent studies have shown that life-style choices such as diet may influence stress.
Article: Smriga, M., & Torii, K. (2003). Prolonged Treatment with l -Lysine and l -Arginine Reduces Stress-induced Anxiety in an Elevated Plus Maze. Nutritional Neuroscience, 6(2), 125.

There are also dietary amino acid supplements available. Explain if these supplements will work in your body.
What is an L-Lysine supplement? Who regulates the marketing claims and recommended dosages on these labels?
Provide one additional example of a situation when an amino acid is conditionally essential.

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