Plasma Amino Acids: Amino Acid Deficiency Test

An amino acid deficiency test can help to determine if you’re not getting enough amino acids. The human body requires enough of all 20 aminos for body/brain functions. Plasma Amino Acids is one screening test.

Testing Lab

Are you getting enough amino acids? The average man who sits all day needs 56g of protein. It’s not only important to get enough protein but also enough of each of the body’s 20 amino acids. That includes the 11 “non-essential” amino acids (NEAA) the body makes, and 9 “essential” aminos (EAA) a person must get from food. It’s a lot easier to track protein since you just have to count up how much meat, eggs, beans, etc. you consumed during the day. Monitoring your amino acids is more difficult. One way to track it is through an amino acid deficiency test. This is an effective way to determine whether your body has enough of all the aminos it needs.

This test is known as Plasma Amino Acids and checks the blood to determine the amount of the different EAAs/NEAAs in the blood. While there are technically 22 aminos in the human body, a few of them are less common. This is an efficient way to find out whether or not you should boost your intake of various aminos. In many cases, this involves EAAs although it could also involve NEAAs that your body doesn’t make enough of due to stress, illness, etc.

What Exactly Is Amino Acid Deficiency?

You might not be getting enough proteins and amino acids in your diet. If so, then it’s critical to find out whether or not that’s the case. For example, there are 20 main amino acids in the human body. That includes 11 the body makes naturally (non-essential) and 9 you have to get from food/supplements (essential).

You might have heard there are 21 or 22 amino acids. What’s it all about? Well, technically speaking we have 22 total amino acids. However, two of them are quite rare. So it’s a lot easier to talk about 20 major amino acids.

In most cases, you can get enough of all 20 amino acids by consuming a wide range of protein sources. That includes animal sources (meat, eggs, dairy) and plant sources (grains, nuts/seeds, and beans). As always, it’s important to eat a wide range of foods to get all the nutrients you need.

Sometimes our bodies don’t have enough of certain amino acids. That can include NEAAs because the body doesn’t make enough of them. For example, sometimes bad diet, illness/disease, or stress can prevent your body from cranking out enough of certain amino acids. That can cause various issues, including a body being unable to make other amino acids.

Then there’s a deficiency of EAAs. This is easier to track because it’s only from the food you consume. It’s critical to make sure you get enough EAAs since they’re directly related to the protein you consume. In most cases eating a wide range of protein sources will provide enough essential aminos.

One of the best options is to consume complete proteins. That includes:

  • Fish/Seafood
  • Meat/Chicken
  • Soybeans
  • Peas
  • Dairy

You can also add incomplete proteins like beans and rice to turn them into complete proteins. This can help you get all the protein/aminos you need daily.

Amino Acid Deficiency Test: Plasma Amino Acids

There are various tests to check if you have an amino acid deficiency. They include one known as “Plasma Amino Acids.” This is a screen test for infants to check their blood’s amino acids. This is important since they’re the building blocks of protein.

While there are different tests to check amino acid deficiency this is a blood test. A needle is usually used to college a small blood sample. Sometimes a “lancet” is used instead of a needle. In some cases, a bandage is placed over the area after the blood is extracted.

The next step is for the medical professionals to send the blood sample to the laboratory. A certain process is used to check the levels of amino acids in the blood. If you want to impress everyone you know the method is known as “chromatography.”

There are certain steps you should take before the test. He/She shouldn’t eat for 4 hours before the test. This will help to get a good sample for testing the blood’s amino acids.

There’s the issue that the baby might cry when the blood sample is collected. The amount of pain that people feel when the needle is inserted into the skin differs. In some cases, it’s a little sting and other times there’s moderate pain. There might be some throbbing pain after the blood sample is taken.

The Amino Acid test is done to check the number of aminos in the blood. When there’s a higher level of a certain amino acid this is a sign that something is wrong. For example, perhaps the body can’t break down the particular amino acid.

This test can also be done to check for lower levels of certain amino acids. This sometimes happens due to factors like lack of nutrients, fevers, and health conditions. Your baby’s doctor can explain everything.

Common Signs of Amino Acid Deficiency

Headache

There are 101 causes of headaches. However, protein/amino deficiency might be a surprising one. Consuming enough of the nutrients can help to keep away headaches/migraines. This condition is more common in women versus men.

Unexplained Cravings

It’s one thing to be hungry when it’s close to breakfast/lunch/dinner. However, it’s a different story when you’re not getting enough protein. When that happens the body responds by causing you to feel hungrier. This usually involves sugar cravings although it can involve other kinds of food.

You’re feeling hungry all day and have problems consuming the right range of calories then it might be the result of an amino acid deficit. You can fix this problem by adding some lean meats like chicken, beef, and pork to meals.

Pain/Discomfort

This is a sign that you’re not getting enough amino acids. If you have more aches/pains after gym workouts, for example, it could be a red flag that you should boost your protein/aminos. Besides lacking enough amino acids it could also be a sign you need more protein in your diet.

Sleeping Problems

Sleep quality and protein/aminos might seem unrelated. However, studies have connected low protein with problems sleeping. This involves protein supplying less than 16% of a person’s total energy.

It’s a good idea to consume casein/milk protein before bedtime. This is slowly released into the body during sleep. So it’s a better night-time protein versus others.

Muscle Loss

This is one of the most common signs of amino acid deficiency. That’s because amino acids are the building blocks of protein. When the body doesn’t have enough protein it usually gets it from bone muscles.

As time passes this results in muscle breakdown/wasting. So it’s important to feed muscles without protein so you won’t get negative results from an amino acid deficiency test.

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