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Author Topic: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?  (Read 6285 times)

Kierkegaard

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Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« on: December 26, 2017, 05:54:52 pm »
Hey fellas, long time no see. 

Given that many of our neurotransmitters are made from amino acids (according to Jonathan wright), and pepsin -- which is a function of proper digestion and stomach acid secretion -- breaks down proteins into amino acids and so would be useful for a sort of pretest for people with potentially low stomach acid (which is often the case when you have symptoms of dyspepsia like heartburn, which are often erroneously labeled as high stomach acid symptoms -- again I recommend Dr Wright's book on stomach acid here), has anyone here thought of getting comprehensive amino acid testing done?

I got interested in it after putting together the pieces of possible low histidine (amino acid that creates histamine) issues, but then ran into the possibility that the histidine itself could be a function of low carnosine, another amino acid (I'm finding the book The Healing Hutrients Within on amino acids to be a very helpful if a bit too cursory read), so I started looking into comprehensive (i.e., 20-22 amino acids) testing and was surprised to find it was pretty cheap: only $137 dollars at Life Extension: http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/itemLC700068/Amino-Acid-Profile-Blood-Test

From my reading it's looking like amino acids (and the low stomach acid that prevents their creation from protein via pepsin) are way overlooked in conventional medicine.  Not only does histidine create histamine (and many people have had paradoxical positive responses to l-histidine supplementation, a few people saying it works better for their allergies than multiple pharmaceutical and otc antihistamines), but tryptophan also becomes 5-HTP and serotonin (which in turn becomes melatonin), and tyrosine becomes l-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, to mention a few. 

Anyone have any experience with testing or supplementation?
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March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
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2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

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PeakT

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2017, 06:37:35 pm »
Hey fellas, long time no see. 

Given that many of our neurotransmitters are made from amino acids (according to Jonathan wright), and pepsin -- which is a function of proper digestion and stomach acid secretion -- breaks down proteins into amino acids and so would be useful for a sort of pretest for people with potentially low stomach acid (which is often the case when you have symptoms of dyspepsia like heartburn, which are often erroneously labeled as high stomach acid symptoms -- again I recommend Dr Wright's book on stomach acid here), has anyone here thought of getting comprehensive amino acid testing done?

I got interested in it after putting together the pieces of possible low histidine (amino acid that creates histamine) issues, but then ran into the possibility that the histidine itself could be a function of low carnosine, another amino acid (I'm finding the book The Healing Hutrients Within on amino acids to be a very helpful if a bit too cursory read), so I started looking into comprehensive (i.e., 20-22 amino acids) testing and was surprised to find it was pretty cheap: only $137 dollars at Life Extension: http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/itemLC700068/Amino-Acid-Profile-Blood-Test

From my reading it's looking like amino acids (and the low stomach acid that prevents their creation from protein via pepsin) are way overlooked in conventional medicine.  Not only does histidine create histamine (and many people have had paradoxical positive responses to l-histidine supplementation, a few people saying it works better for their allergies than multiple pharmaceutical and otc antihistamines), but tryptophan also becomes 5-HTP and serotonin (which in turn becomes melatonin), and tyrosine becomes l-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, to mention a few. 

Anyone have any experience with testing or supplementation?
I know EH got it done.  I pinged him to see if he has any comments.

I want to get the micronutrient (Spectracell) done within a few weeks for very similar reasons.  I spend time and money trying to improve my health, but, if I happen to have low stomach acid, I'm wasting both!  I'd like to get to get the amino acid test done too, but I felt I neede the micronutrient test first.  Maybe that's short-sighted for some reason - hard to pick one as more important!
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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2017, 06:37:35 pm »


ratbag

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2017, 09:18:28 pm »
FYI, I took the Spectracell micronutrient labs and the results stated I was deficient in biotin and borderline on K2, Manganese and B12. Ironically this had all been tested a month before by my MD using the regular laboratory that the hospitals use and the labs were all in a decent range. So the Spectracell results came as a surprise. I followed the advice from spectracell and started supping those and there were improvements so I gather I needed those supps.

Kierkegaard

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 08:02:39 am »
I did Spectracell and found a few slight deficiencies, but supplementing with them (e.g., pantothenic acid) had no noticeable change in my symptoms.  Worth noting that there's some disagreement about the validity of Spectracell (not sure if I'm on this train).  Chris Kresser (who came out with a new book a month or so ago on functional medicine which looks really good) as usual has some interesting thoughts:

"I prefer the ION and the NutrEval. Itís difficult to test for nutrient status, because each nutrient resides in a different place, like different tissues or is represented differently in the body. For example, magnesium, less than one-half of 1% of magnesium is in the serum. So when you test serum magnesium, youíre getting a levelóyouíre only testing for 0.5% of the total body storage of magnesium. There is some correlation between serum magnesium and total body magnesium, but itís certainly possible to have normal serum magnesium and have low body stores. It may even be possible to have low serum magnesium and normal body stores, although I think thatís less likely. With each nutrient there are certain things to be aware of, in terms of how itís best tested. Iím not sure that the SpectraCell really takes that into account. I prefer the NutrEval because theyíre often using organic acids or amino acids whereóthere are cycles in the body that require enzymes to complete. Each of those enzymes requires certain nutrients to function properly. So if you see a build-up of a certain organic acid, that indicates that that cycle wasnít able to complete, which means that the enzyme needed in that cycle didnít have the cofactors that it requires to make the conversion. Then you can kind of put all that together, and you can get information about nutrient deficiency. That way, that might be more accurate, because itís reflecting actual usage of that nutrient in the body. The other thing is that method of testing often tests for the most active form of the nutrient thatís used in those enzymatic reactions, rather than the precursor forms of the nutrient. For example, urinary methylmalonic acid (MMA) is the best way to test for adenosylcobalamin or methylcobalamin deficiency, which are the active forms of B12, whereas serum B12 actually measures all of the total cobalamins, including the less active forms of B12, like cyanocobalamin. So youíre getting different information, depending on the different ways that you test."

Then one of his more savvy commenters said this:

"Just an FYI Ė the Spectracell test is not a serum test in the way that you describe serum tests. It does rely on a blood draw, but what the lab does it to isolate lymphocytes (average lifespan 4-6 months), and then place them into varying ďideal growthĒ solutions that are each missing a different micronutrient. The lab then compares growth rates of those cells against benchmarks, which allows one to see if the cells have enough of a particular micronutrient stored and available (intracellularly) to grow without it being present in the solution. This process necessarily measures the active form of the micronutrient, because it relies on whatís actually contained inside the cell."

-----

Also worth noting that Spectracell (at least for me) only measured around five or so amino acids for whatever reason.
"The same thing that makes you live can kill you in the end." -- Neil Young

March 2014: Dx low T (158ng/dl)
September 2015: Dx hypothyroidism, other adrenal hypofunction
2016: chronic fatigue, unspecified

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 08:02:39 am »


Simeoni

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 08:39:52 am »

doin it

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 02:28:46 pm »

I've done the blood Amino Acid test a few times:  if you do the blood AA test, I would recommend doing a urine AA test at the same time.  This provides insight into how your body is processing the AAs in your blood.

PeakT

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 04:01:31 pm »
I don't see where a patient can self-order the NutraEval?
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PeakT

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2017, 04:10:42 pm »
I don't want to sidetrack K's thread, but I went back through the Spectracell threads we had and, while the NutrEval may be the best of the best, I saw a lot of positive comments.  For example, Sean Mosher said he found a couple of deficiencies with it; Osprey's doctors said it helped him; JustAskin/EH have used it regularly, etc.  Here are a couple of interesting threads:

http://www.peaktestosterone.com/forum/index.php?topic=8015.0

http://www.peaktestosterone.com/forum/index.php?topic=13356.0

And I'm just mentioning it, because it looks like it is easily accessible whereas I am not so sure the NutrEval is?  Let me know if I'm missing something.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 04:13:36 pm by PeakT »
THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BOOK ON TRT/TESTOSTERONE:
https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Versus-Testosterone-Therapy-Myer/dp/1523210532/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499116128&sr=8-1&keywords=natural+versus+testosterone+therapy
And check out my New Peak Testosterone Program: http://www.peaktestosterone.com/peak_testosterone_program
If you are on medications or have a medical condition, always check with your doctor first before making any lifestyle changes or taking new supplements.  And low testosterone is a medical condition.

vvs1

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2017, 11:51:01 pm »
I found an amino acid supplement that's pretty comprehensive, including histidine.

Why not try a $20 supplement, rather than a blood test where a deficiency could be an amino acids that don't exist as supplements?

Not trying to be snarky if It appears that way.

Kierkegaard

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2017, 01:00:15 am »
I found an amino acid supplement that's pretty comprehensive, including histidine.

Why not try a $20 supplement, rather than a blood test where a deficiency could be an amino acids that don't exist as supplements?

Not trying to be snarky if It appears that way.

I've read that taking complete amino acid therapy doesn't work well for many people, so it's better to specify which AAs are deficient and supplement as needed.  AAs can counteract one another, e.g., tryptophan and tyrosine being counteracted by the branch chained amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.  I also would like a "pretest" to measure the effectiveness of betaine HCl with pepsin given that lack of stomach acid means lack of pepsin means lower absorption of amino acids.  I'm also a numbers nerd.  But you have a very fair point. 
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doin it

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2017, 03:23:11 pm »

I believe that Amino Acids can be viewed as a kind of "drug", not some inocuous little biochemical of which you can take as much as you want without potential consequences.  Especially "essential" AAs, as they, among several others, cross the blood-brain barrier.

If a supplemental AA is introduced into the body, it is tolerated (and is used it if it is needed), as part of homeostasis (body equalibrium) but too much of one (or more) can be toxic, especially in certain combinations.  Too much is different for everyone as everyone has their own unique body chemistry and diet influences it greatly.

AAS are competitive, if you take supplemental AAs, they can prevent absorption of other AAs that are currently needed.

And some are additive, amplifying the effects of the others, especially supplements.

Blood and urine AA tests should be taken to get a "baseline" before any supplement AAs are added.  Note that AA status changes everyday, but there are trends that can be seen so more than one test spaced maybe a week apart should be considered.  Especially if one or more is very high or low.

As K says above, I can also recommend the book
"The Healing Nutrients Within" by Eric Braverman M.D.

This is a very informative book that contains very useful information the day you start reading it.

Hope this helps,
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whywhat

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2017, 03:55:33 pm »
I found an amino acid supplement that's pretty comprehensive, including histidine.

Why not try a $20 supplement, rather than a blood test where a deficiency could be an amino acids that don't exist as supplements?

Not trying to be snarky if It appears that way.

I've read that taking complete amino acid therapy doesn't work well for many people, so it's better to specify which AAs are deficient and supplement as needed.  AAs can counteract one another, e.g., tryptophan and tyrosine being counteracted by the branch chained amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.  I also would like a "pretest" to measure the effectiveness of betaine HCl with pepsin given that lack of stomach acid means lack of pepsin means lower absorption of amino acids.  I'm also a numbers nerd.  But you have a very fair point.

You may be right.  I took the Spectracell test, and the only thing it found was Asparigine.  I did some research and couldn't find any major issue associated with this deficiency, but I decided to take some collagen because it has all the amino acids in it from what I have read.  Can't say I felt better or worse really, so in my case it was a waste of money.  However, I have chatted with people who have said it helped them in different ways, so I would encourage anyone to get the test if you can come up with the money.

EH

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 10:44:44 pm »
I have taken the AA test and Spectracell test a few times.  The AA test had a lot of variance in results, and I tried supplementing with certain AA and a full suite of AA but did not ever see any conclusive improvement in symptoms or test results.  Specifically, my results, when interpreted through a brochure provided by one of the testing companies, seemed to show that I needed alpha ketoglutarate and more vitamin B6.  Neither of these supplements seemed to change my results, and both of them may have had negative repercussions.  B6 might have caused a little peripheral neuropathy, clumsiness, and numbness.  All of which is gone now after stopping it several months ago.

Also, I tried tyrosine (500-1000mg per day) which seemed to be fine for a couple days, but then it lead to anxiety, teeth-grinding, and hyperactivity.  Tryptophan also had negative effects (as do all serotonin precursor supplements for me).  As a result, I do not use single AAs anymore.  I just take 1Tbsp a day of hydrolyzed collagen to cover most of the essential AAs, and rely on meat and other protein containing foods to get the rest.

I like the AA test because you get so much data for a reasonable price, but I have not found it to be effective for elucidating any particular deficiency in my case.  The Spectracell test has not been consistent with some of my serum and hair results, but that is probably due to the above statements regarding mineral/vitamin storage in the body.

Right now, I currently do the following.

Doctor's Data Hair Test - Twice per year
Spectracell - Once per year
Full serum testing including hormones, steroids, vitamins - Once per year

My current supplement regimen is as follows, and is a tailored based upon the above testing results.

Garden of Life Men's Multivitamin (blue bottle) - 1 capsule per day (4 recommended, which is way too much according to my testing)
Mercola Iodine - 2 per week
LifeExtension Selenium - 1 per day
Now Foods Chromium - 1 per day
CountryLife Molybdenum - 1 per day
Now Foods Magnesium - 1 per day
Vitacost K2 MK7 - 1 per day
Vitacost Curcumin C3 - 1 per day
Molasses - 4 capsules per day (experiment versus gray hair, ongoing for the next year)
Hydrolyzed Collagen - 4 capsules per day

This is basically my own attempt at a full range multivitamin that won't give me too much of any particular vitamin or mineral.
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Boxcar

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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 11:09:20 pm »
K, thanks for posting.  The amino acid test sounds potentially useful, although I don't know much about it.  It does not look like Quest Diagnostics has pepsin, although it has Penpsinogen II, and some other related compounds.

I was actually planning to do the Spectracell micronutrient test this week.  But the information above suggests that the results reflect nutrient levels over the last 3-4 months. If that is true, then my results may not be true baselines (I took glutamine, alpha lipoic acid and a b-complex for part of that time).  Still potentially useful I guess.
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Re: Comprehensive Amino Acid Testing?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 11:09:20 pm »