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Learning about Amino Acids - Aspartic Acid

Aspartic acid is a nonessential amino acid that is produced by the human body. Nonessential means that the body will produce this amino acid when it is not present in sufficient quantities from the foods we consume. Also known as asparaginic acid and L-aspartate, this amino acid plays a role in every cell in the body. Scientists believe that it is an essential part of hormone production and release as well as in normal nervous system function. It is a precursor to other amino acids produced in the Krebs cycle, including argnine, methionine, threonine, isoleucine and lysine, meaning that it must be present for production of those other amino acids.

Where Aspartic Acid is Found

Many different plant and animal sources contain aspartic acid. Plant sources include legumes, most notably soybeans, garbanzo beans and lentils, oat flakes, avocado, asparagus, molasses from sugar beets, flaxseeds, peanuts, walnuts and almonds. It is found in many animal sources such as beef, eggs, salmon, shrimp, oysters, sausage, lunch meats and wild game. The sweetener aspartame also contains aspartic acid.

Individuals who have eating disorders, experiencing malnutrition or who have diets low in protein, may end up experiencing deficiencies in aspartic and other amino acids. Such deficiencies can lead to extreme fatigue and depression.

Many athletes also require additional levels of amino acids to maintain high level cellular function during competition. Therefore, many whey protein supplements contain aspartic acid along with other amino acids to aid in athletic cellular function.

Benefits of Aspartic Acid

The role that aspartic acid plays in generating cellular energy makes it a treatment for treating chronic fatigue. It moves coenzymen icotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) molecules from the cell to its mitochondria where it generates adenosine triphosphate, more commonly known as ATP, which fuels cellular activity. The more NADH you have, the more energy you have. Studies have even shown that aspartic acid increases stamina and endurance in athletes. Other benefits of this amino acid include transporting minerals for the formation of healthy RNA and DNA. Aspartic acid may play a role in the absorption of minerals from food into the body. It also strengthens the immune system by increasing production of antibodies and immunoglobulins.

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Benefits on the brain are immense. NADH may boost production of neurotransmitters and other chemicals, so it keeps your mind sharp. It removes excess toxins that can damage the brain and the nervous system, as well as the liver.

About the Author: Mark Delano is the Managing Editor and handles all day to day operations for He is a personal fitness trainer, nutritionist and avid mountain biker who also enjoys exploring the trails of Arizona. Besides his everyday duties at HealthyMale, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men's health.

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