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AgriLife scientist: Functional amino acids regulate key metabolic pathways
Date:11/19/2010

id. "Globally, more than 300 million adults are obese and more than 1 billion are overweight. Also, a large number of children in the U.S. and other countries are overweight or obese. The most urgent needs of new research in amino acids and health are the roles of functional amino acids in the treatment and prevention of obesity and its associated cardiovascular dysfunction."

Wu also said that dietary supplementation with arginine can help improve meat quality in pigs prior to slaughter.

The two top scientific discoveries in the field of amino acids and health over the past two decades are nitric oxide synthesis from arginine and the role of amino acids in cell signaling.

"An important area of research in the next few years may be to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms whereby some amino acids (e.g., arginine) can regulate metabolic pathways in animals and humans," he said. "An example is how arginine reduces obesity and ameliorates the metabolic syndrome, and how elevated levels of leucine may contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance (including vascular resistance) in obese subjects."

He said "unquestionably" recent advances in understanding functional amino acids are "expanding our basic knowledge of protein metabolism and transforming practices of nutrition worldwide."

Though nutritional studies conducted on animals have benefited human health, Wu suggests that caution should be taken to "extrapolate animal data to humans" as dietary requirements differ from one species to another.

Wu said that humans need diets with balanced portions of amino acids for cardiovascular and reproductive health.


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Contact: Dr. Guoyao Wu
g-wu@tamu.edu
979-845-1817
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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