Can You Have Too Much Amino Acids?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the amino acid is known as arginine, if taken in large doses, can cause bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. Other possible effects include allergic reactions, airway inflammation, and gout.

person clutching stomach

Can you have too much amino acids? We’ve seen the marketing and we’ve read or heard the benefits of amino acids. Supplements containing the said organic compounds are all the rage right now with amazing health benefits such as improved biological processes, possible weight loss, improved sleep, and mood.

These are all good and even sought after by most individuals. But what others might be asking is that if it is so good for health, can I take more than the recommended dose and If I do, what will happen? In this article, we will look at the possible side effects of amino acids and what can really happen if you have too many of them. Read on to find out more!

Amino Acids: A General Overview

Amino acids are protein’s building blocks and they are needed by the body in order to perform a number of different functions such as muscle building and the creation of hormones and neurotransmitters.  The truth though, is that too much of these beneficial organic compounds can also lead to adverse side effects and risks.

Generally, there are three different kinds of amino acids and these are conditionally essential amino acids, nonessential amino acids, and essential amino acids. Among these three (3), essential amino acids are the ones that people may have too much of when high levels of amino acids are present.

But what are these essential amino acids? There are twenty amino acids required by the human body but only nine (9) are actually identified as essential. The nine (9) essential amino acids are valine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, threonine, lysine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, and histidine.

These amino acids are identified as essential because they cannot be produced by the human body naturally and as such, need to be obtained from other external sources such as food consumed by the individual or the supplements taken in by people. Some of the primary sources of these essential amino acids include fish, egg, poultry, and beef.  

Some of the specific functions of these essential amino acids include:


This essential amino acid is needed to be able to produce another amino acid known as histamine which is a form of neurotransmitter critical to the brain’s proper functions. Histamine is also needed for proper immune response, digestion, sexual function, and the regulation of the sleep cycle. 


Leucine is an amino acid classified as a BCAA or a branch-chained amino acid that can help the body in the synthesis of proteins and in muscle repair. It was also observed that leucine can help in the creation of growth hormones, wound healing, and the management of blood sugar levels as well.


This amino acid, on the other hand, is critical in the formation of collagen and elastin which are considered structural proteins. These structural proteins are crucial if we want healthy hair and glowing skin.


Phenylalanine is a precursor that is important in the development of the other neurotransmitters such as tyrosine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. This amino acid is also crucial in enzyme functions and in the structural makeup of proteins. 


This amino acid can help in the regeneration of muscles and in the growth of the muscle fibers. In addition, valine aids the body in energy production. 


Serotonin needs tryptophan as a form of the precursor. Without serotonin, sleep regulation can go askew and may lead to poor sleep quality for individuals. Serotonin also aids in the regulation of appetite and mood which means that it can also be beneficial for weight loss and stress or anxiety management.

What are some of the possible effects of excess amino acids on the kidneys?

Due to the fact that the kidneys are primarily responsible for the filtration of and regulation of bodily acids, the kidneys are very prone to excessive amino acid intake. This is important as there are some amino acids that are basic while some can be quite acidic.  Most proteins consumed, however, is almost always acidic.

This means that those who eat a diet that is high in protein will naturally have large amounts of amino acids as well.  As a result, the kidneys will have to exert more effort to keep the balance of the body at levels that are considered proper. It is also noteworthy to mention that excess amino acids are not stored in the human body.

As such, these excess amino acids will simply be broken down and eventually excreted. This can lead to the kidneys filtering more blood and resulting in higher levels of ammonia and urea.

Some of the possible side effects of too much amino acids

According to the Mayo Clinic, the amino acid is known as arginine, if taken in large doses, can cause bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. Other possible effects include allergic reactions, airway inflammation, and gout.

The said amino acid has also been shown to worsen the symptoms of allergies and asthma, so people affected by these medical conditions should be wary when using the arginine supplement.  Those who may want to take these supplements should first talk to their doctor or healthcare professional to ensure that proper dosage or recommendation is given.

The levels of one’s mood may be below normal if there is excessive BCAA within the body. Aside from these mood issues, the wake and sleep cycles of individuals may be interrupted. Another study pointed out that too much protein can also lead to high levels of acidity once digested which can result in int the acid to pull out the calcium in the bones of individuals.

This happens as the calcium can be used by the body in the neutralization of the said acid. However, this can lead to bones that are weaker and can have some adverse effects in the long run. This all means that excessive amino acid can lead to serious health issues and it is best to seek medical assistance before starting out with any amino acid routine.

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