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Amino acid therapy

Related Terms

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Background

  • Amino acid therapy presumes that many symptoms and illnesses occur because the body is unable to manufacture the proper amino acid. By supplementing the body's normal supply of amino acids (amino acid therapy), symptoms and illnesses may be resolved. Many patients turn to amino acid therapy from the belief that their body is not manufacturing enough amino acids and therefore, bodily processes are not functioning correctly.
  • Amino acids are the building blocks from which the body creates the proteins necessary for life. Amino acids link together to form peptides (short chains), which then form larger structures called proteins. There are 20 standard amino acids in the genetic code. Combinations of these amino acids produce every essential protein needed for the human body's homeostasis (healthy balance). Most bodily processes cannot occur without amino acids because they require the proper protein to function.
  • Some healthcare professionals may recommend taking only the eight essential amino acids or the three branched chain amino acids depending on the treated condition. Amino acids have been used in clinical tests to treat a variety of serious illnesses and conditions including: phenylketonuria (PKU, a disorder of the metabolism), epilepsy, congenital microcephaly (birth defect), hepatitis complications, spinocerebellar degeneration, hemodialysis, lateral sclerosis, peritoneal dialysis, chronic pain, parenteral nutrition, liver cancer, muscular dystrophy and hypertrophy of the prostate. The scientific community has also published articles advocating the use of amino acid therapy to treat serious psychological disorders, such as drug dependency, depression and anxiety. The incorporation of amino acid therapy into conventional Western medicine is a topic of controversy in the scientific community.

Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Update Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.