Not-for-profit AminoFacts reviews common amino acids supplement brands for their heart health-boosting ingredients and sourcing practices for a conscious diet.
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CHICAGO (March 16, 2021) – AminoFacts, an independent, non-profit organization based in the US that advocates for labeling transparency around Food Grade Amino Acids in dietary supplements, is providing consumers with guidance on the importance of amino acids to optimized heart health. Cardiovascular diseases account for nearly half of non-communicable diseases and are the leading cause of death around the world.
One of the keys to cardiovascular health is the production of Nitric Oxide (NO). This powerful neurotransmitter delivers messages to the heart, improves circulation and helps blood vessels relax. Amino acids not only help increase the body’s production of NO, there is evidence that certain amino acids may actually improve blood flow in the arteries of the heart and improve symptoms of clogged arteries, chest pain (angina) and coronary artery disease.
• L-Arginine and L-Citrulline generate NO, which can help protect older and hypertensive patients from heart-related diseases including angina, congestive heart failure, hypertension and peripheral artery diseases. The best news is these supplements do not come with side effects.
• People with congestive heart failure have insufficient oxygenation of the heart, which can damage the heart muscle. Such damage may be reduced by taking L-carnitine supplements. L-carnitine is an amino acid that transports fats into the mitochondria (the place in the cell where fats are turned into energy), helping to ensure the right levels of energy production for normal heart function. Taking L-carnitine may also help reduce damage and complications following a heart attack.
Amino Acid supplements also play a more indirect role in the battle against heart disease. It is now widely accepted that plant-based diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues, which is why a growing number of Americans are reducing meat consumption or embracing vegetarian or vegan diet. Yet, it can be difficult to maintain the required levels of protein through plant-based foods alone. This explains why the U.S. amino acid supplement market is rapidly growing, from $3.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $5.4 billion by 2027, according to industry market research firm Grand View Research.
Amino Acids 101
Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. The human body uses amino acids to make all proteins in the body. There are three groups of amino acids: essential, nonessential and conditional. It’s the essential amino acids that we must get from our diet – they cannot be made by the body. There are nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Each have important and specific roles in various body functions.
Amino acids for the supplement market are either extracted from plants or animals or manufactured synthetically. Plant-based sources include sugarcane, beet, peas and corn. Animal sources can be made from meat and meat byproducts such as human hair, feathers, fish silage, blood, milk, and stomach contents.
A More Conscious Consumer
While demand for supplements is high, the consumer is becoming more conscious about ethical and natural sourcing of supplements. Labels on some popular amino acid supplements can be difficult to navigate – some make claims that are true for all products, and some are less-than transparent about where their products are sourced and how they are made. For example, while amino acids sourced from plants or animals are molecularly identical and equally effective, some manufacturers don’t list the sourcing for its products, which has ethical implications for consumers with plant-based lifestyle preferences.
“Supplements can be a great way to make sure you are getting the amino acids you need for overall health, including heart health,” said AminoFacts Board Member David Madsen, Ph.D. “But not all supplements are created the same. Many consumers may not be aware that their supplements are made with materials derived from animal parts; and many have fillers and other additives. Because the supplement market is a bit behind the food industry in terms of providing consumers with specific and consistent information, it’s important for consumers to know what questions to ask, and how to decipher labels to find answers.”
Approximately 77% of U.S. consumers take supplements, according to a survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Meanwhile, 94% say it is important that brands be transparent about what is in their food and how it is made, according to a study by Label Insight. Yet, a recent survey conducted by AminoFacts suggests that only a third of consumers know how amino acid supplement products are sourced.
AminoFacts is offering all consumers the chance to submit their favorite brand to www.aminofacts.org for an evaluation.
AminoFacts is an independent, non-profit organization that brings transparency to sourcing and production processes around food grade amino acids, a significant ingredient in many dietary supplements, so that consumers know more about what they’re putting into their bodies. The organization was established as a response to comprehensive public opinion research in the San Francisco metropolitan area that showed little knowledge, even among active supplement takers, of where amino acids are sourced and how they are made. AminoFacts is dedicated to providing information on the industry’s sourcing and manufacturing trends, along with information on leading U.S. brands. The organization’s advisors include experts on supplements, regulatory requirements and manufacturing processes for food grade amino acids, as well as scientists and leaders within the food and dietary supplement sectors.