Amino acids are the building blocks of life. They come together to create the proteins that make up your organs, muscles, skin, etc. When you eat foods that contain proteins your body will digest and break them down into amino acids which will then be sent to carry out different functions throughout your body.
Amino acids have many functions including:
- Building muscles
- Connective tissue repair
- Transporting of nutrients
- Boosting immunity
- Involvement in certain chemical reactions
- Source of energy
In some cases, people can become deficient in amino acids, which can decrease immunity, cause depression, slow growth, and cause digestive issues.
How do amino acids affect your gut?
Gastrointestinal health is very important when it comes to feeling good and keeping your body strong. Many people don’t realize that 60-70% of your immune system is centralized in your GI tract. If your GI tract is unable to work efficiently then that can cause many health problems like a malnutrition, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, food allergies, constipation, gallbladder disease, and other digestive issues. This is where amino acids come in. Your body needs amino acids to fortify your digestive system. Amino acids help to detoxify unhealthy bacteria and tissue in the gut, strengthen the immune system, and repair damaged cells that line the gastrointestinal tract.
How does cancer treatment affect the GI?
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are excellent at killing cancer cells but they unfortunately also damage the healthy cells that make up your gut. When this happens, the good cells in your gut called villi become blunted, which affects their ability to absorb nutrients. This can result in unwanted weight loss and dehydration. Treatment can also weaken the barrier between the cells that prevent harmful toxins from entering your bloodstream. When these barriers are damaged, gaps open allowing toxins and bacteria to enter your system leaving you with side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue.
What should I include in my diet to help restore normal GI function?
One reason why patients go often choose to discontinue treatment is due the severity of the side effects. The treatment should not be worse than the disease, especially when that treatment has the potential to beat cancer.
Below is a list of important amino acid filled foods that may help manage the side effects of cancer treatment:
1) Vegetables- choose leafy, green vegetables like spinach, kale, and arugula.
2) Quinoa- is the most nutritious grain available as it contains the nine essential amino acids that your body needs.
3) Fish- most fish contain essential amino acids. Salmon is high in amino acids and omega 3s. Salmon also has important fatty acids that support heart health among other health benefits.
4) Beans and Legumes- these are great sources of protein and amino acids, especially the amino acid lysine, an important amino acid in the formation of collagen—a vital protein for bones and connective tissues including skin, cartilage, and tendons. The human body cannot make lysine on its own, so it must be eaten in the diet. Other sources of lysine include meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.
Want to get the right amino acids at the right time?
There are specific amino acids that can directly help the GI side effects of cancer treatment Enterade is formulated with 5 specific amino acids to help rebuild the damaged cells in your gut, protect your GI from toxins by tightening the gut barrier while giving total body hydration. All these benefits will help to enhance a healthy immune function so that you can feel better and fight harder against cancer. Enterade contains no sugar and is plant-based medical food.
– 91% of patients saw improvement in nausea
– 74% of patients saw improvement in diarrhoea
– 88% of patients saw improvement in dehydration
– 77% of patients saw improvement in weight loss
Enterade can help you stay on course with your treatment because when you feel better you can fight harder.
by Katie O'Grady
Amino Acids & Probiotics = Good Digestion – Healthy Beginnings (hbmag.com)
5 Foods High in Amino Acids (webmd.com)
Amino acids: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Essential amino acids: Definition, benefits, and foods (medicalnewstoday.com)