( Originally Published 1930's )
The second most important item in our life sustaining triumvirate of food products is the Amino. The word amino will become as familiar to you in the next ten years as the word vitamin now is.
Science says the amino is a pre-digested protein, but to most folks that does not convey enough meaning. So, we are going to put it in a crude comparison, hoping that it will explain just what it is and why it does so much for our bodies.
A protein food is one which contains nitrogen. Meat, fish, eggs, soy bean, and wheat contain rich amounts of protein, and, of course, the nitrogen which makes it different from other food.
Neither sugar and starch, nor fat, contains nitrogen. The carbohydrates and fat contain only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Protein foods contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.
Let us say that nitrogen is a replenishing agent. Every farmer is familiar with nitrogen as a soil fertilizer, a rejuvenator of the ground. That is why the farmer sows his last year's grain field to clover. Clover has the ability to draw nitrogen out of the air and conduct it into the soil.
Since we die and return to dust, we are a similar entity to the product whence we came. Therefore, when the physician tells us we must maintain a body nitrogen balance, he is only telling us that we need fertilizing, or rejuvenating. And how true. Without nitrogen balance, we sicken and die.
Now for that crude comparison. The amino is like a product which would be made if you chewed up meat and digested it, and regurgitated it into another digestive system as a pigeon takes care of its young.
Recently, science has found a way to predigest protein food in the chemical laboratory. When soybean, milk casein, yeast, or lactalbumin from milk has been pre-digested by the chemist, the product is called aminos.
Now you have the story "Whence came the Amino". Why and what it is all about will follow. We have compared the amino to lumber in the building of a house. Also, in the preceding chapter we compared minerals to nails, and declared the minerals the most important. Perhaps placing the mineral first in body repair is a personal idea. Our forefathers built houses without a nail. Which item is first, minerals or aminos, will work itself out in the future. Certainly, the aminos are going to prove life sustaining substances.
Aminos are basic materials from which your muscle cells, organic cells, and blood cells are made. Amino proteins must be a constant part of your food in order to renew the destroyed cells of your body.
Concentrated protein substances have been known and used by the physician for years. They have used them for non-specific (unknown) infections and have obtained some very good results. How-ever, it took the last war to hasten the conversion of protein sub-stances to the aminos.
We have jumped from a few to many aminos in the last three years. Biochemists have found twenty-three aminos which are used in human nutrition. Ten of these are absolutely essential in order to sustain life. They must be obtained from the food we eat. The other thirteen are found in many foods and are needed within our bodies, but if not eaten, they can be manufactured within the body from the other ten. Later, we shall name all the aminos and chart them in importance to specific body needs.
In the meantime, we give you some general uses of the aminos when all of them act in unison as a team. When you burn your finger, you notice a serum collecting in a blister. This serum is, of course, from the blood. But we have just discovered that it is principally aminos which compose this serum. It is, therefore, the aminos which protect our tissues from destruction. People die when they are burned so badly that their own body amino serum is unable to protect them. Now, physicians are able to save many of their burn cases if they are able to have quick access to the hypodermic aminos.
It is a well known fact that people in certain stages of starvation will die with plenty of food at hand. This is due to their in-ability to digest protein foods which would be their salvation. Our own government discovered that these starving people could retain and utilize the aminos when it was impossible to retain any other food. Tons of aminos were sent to the starving people of Europe during the last world war. That is why we know so much about their use today.
An almost miraculous use for the aminos was discovered by a physician who had a group of people in a hospital with stomach ulcer. He was ready to operate but his patients were so run-down because they were unable to retain food. Knowing something of the aminos from his war experience, he decided to try them upon his patients in the hope they would be of benefit.
The result of the use of the aminos was amazing. One patient, after two days, went home without an operation, and recovered from the ulceration. Two more patients were found in such a good condition, when operated, that the operation would not have been necessary if the results of the amino food benefit had been known.
Now, physicians are using the aminos to build up their patients before and after operations. Elderly people, with little, or no appetite, are much benefited by taking aminos. They do not have to be digested. They are assimilated directly into the blood stream.
Even external ulcers and slow-healing sores seem to hasten their healing when the aminos are taken. In fact, it looks like any time you lose a shingle off your roof, or a board off your siding, that the aminos fill the bill. The aminos are real lumber for the repair of the human body.
Not only are the aminos essential for the basic material of body cells, but it has been discovered that they enter into, or are the principal part, of all enzymes and hormones secreted by our glandular system. We certainly can not get along without enzymes and hormones.
Insulin, a hormone, secreted by the pancreas is composed of nine aminos. Insulin controls our blood sugar level and prevents diabetes. You may now see why insufficient protein food of the right kind may be as responsible for diabetes as too much starch and sugar.
Thyroxin is a hormone compound of aminos and iodine secreted by the thyroid gland. This secretion controls our physical and mental makeup. Improper amino balance in this gland determines whether an individual becomes either a dwarf or an idiot.
Tyrosine, another amino, is essential to the hormone, adrenalin, which controls our blood pressure, and our tempers as well. Even the manufacture and secretion of the digestive juices, pepsin and others, depend upon the aminos.
The aminos are so new in general use that all their benefits have not been determined. That is why it will be several years before they become as well known to the public as the vitamins.
However, there has been a lot of laboratory work done upon the aminos in regard to their specific identity and use. Below you will find a chart showing which amino aids what body function; also a chart showing what foods contain the different aminos.
Seemingly, the aminos work in groups in their aid to body functions and repairing body tissues. You will notice in the out-line below that each of the aminos select different partners in doing their work.
1. Arginine, Histidine and Lysine are required for Insulin and Pepsin.
2. Lysine and Methionine are required for the Sex Glands.
3. Methionine and Cystine are required in the blood.
4. Phenylalanine, Tryptophane and Tyrosine are required for Blood and Liver Cells.
5. Leusine, Isoleusine, Valine, and Histidine found generally, but specifically in cell protoplasm.
6. Tyrosine, along with Iodine is needed by the Thyroid Gland.
7. Cystine, Glutamine, Leucine and Arginine are required by the Liver.
8. Cystine, Histidine, Phenylalanine and Proline are necessary for the Hemoglobin.
9. Threonine, Tryptophane and Glutamine are needed by the Brain Cells.
10. Tyronine, Histidine and Lysine seem to be needed by all the Glands, including the Liver, the Spleen, the Pancreas, the Thymus, the Salivary, the Testes, and the Ovaries.
Biochemists, at different times and different places, have asserted that the above aminos are essential for the uses mentioned. However, they have disagreed as well as agreed to various activities of the aminos. It will take several more years of biological experiments to determine the exact use of each amino.
Upon one thing, all biologists are agreed; that there are ten essential aminos which you must obtain from your food. The other thirteen or more, aminos can be made within your body if the ten are obtained from food. The ten essential aminos are: Arginine, Histidine, Leusine, Isoleusine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenyolalanine, Valine, Threonine and Tryptophane.
Since you are supposed to obtain your aminos, at least the ten essentials, from your food, we are listing below the foods richest in the various aminos.
1. Lysine:—egg, fowl, and brewer's yeast.
2. Arginine:—peanut, whole rice, liver, and wheat germ.
3. Leusine:—egg, brain, corn, and brewer's yeast.
4. Isoleucine:—whole rice, wheat germ, and gelatin.
5. Phenylalanine:—nuts, corn, cow's milk, and beef.
6. Threonine:—lima beans, beef, liver, and cow's milk.
7. Valine:—oats, brewer's yeast, soybean, and various leafs.
8. Histidine:—corn, beef, brewer's yeast.
9. Methionine:—lima beans, liver, beef, cow's milk.
10. Tryptophane:—soybeans, oats, and various leafs.
11. Glycine:—gelatin, wheat glutin, peanuts, and liver.
12. Cystine:—Whole wheat, and rye.
13. Tyrosine:—corn, whole wheat, eggs, and fowl.
14. Aspartic Acid:—wheat glutin, gelatin, cow's milk, and fowl.
15. Glutamic Acid:—eggs, fish, wheat glutin, whole rice, and fowl.
16. Proline:—gelatin, soybeans, corn, and cow's milk.
17. Alanine:—gelatin, fish, wheat glutin, and corn.
18. Citrolline:—watermelon, and cottage cheese.
19. Serine:—liver, brain, fowl, and fish.
There are four more aminos which have been classified in the laboratory, and no doubt, there will be many more as time goes on. However, these four are not so well known, and their uses not certified.
In order to obtain all the aminos necessary for body use, you should eat all of, the various protein foods listed above at various meals. Here again, variety is the spice of life. Do not become just a big meat eater, hoping to supply all your protein needs. Some protein foods only contain four or five of the ten essential aminos. If you must confine your protein eating to four foods, make these foods milk, soybean, meat, and brewer's yeast. These four contain all the ten essential aminos, and many more.