Amino Acids


A lot of people associate amino acid supplementation with protein shakes and bodybuilding — and that’s partly true. Protein is largely comprised of amino acids, and many are essential for building muscle and optimal exercise performance, but the physiological importance of amino acids and the roles they play extend far beyond the gym. Amino acids are also precursors of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers essential for movement, cognition, energy, and mood.


As organic compounds, amino acids are made up primarily of amine and carboxylic acid, along with a side-chain of atoms specific to each individual amino acid. The key elements are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, though other elements are found in the side-chains of various amino acids, too. A whopping 500 amino acids are currently known and classified! Of these, however, only 21 amino acids are common in humans and animals. As a sidenote, you might find literature that lists only 20 essential and nonessential amino acids that are important to humans — the 21st was actually only recently identified. The remaining known amino acids are prevalent in other, non-animal living organisms like plants, fungi, and bacteria.

The Bond Between Amino Acids and Us

A defining characteristic of amino acids is their ability to join together into chains. An amino acid chain might be be made of as few as two amino acids, or as many as 3,000. When 50 or more amino acids are bonded together in a chain they become a protein.

Like the letters of the alphabet combine to make different words, the 21 amino acids that are biologically active to humans join together to form the thousands of proteins that make up our muscles, ligaments, organs, glands, nails, hair, blood, central nervous system, brain — and the list goes on. Next to water, protein comprises the greatest portion of our body weight, about 20%.

Despite the sheer abundance of proteins and the important role amino acids play within the body, we as humans can only produce 10 amino acids on our own. The other 11 must be supplied by food. Failure to obtain even one can result in the erosion of proteins and muscle. Unlike fat and starch, the body does not store excess amino acids for later use; amino acids must be obtained daily through diet.

The NatureWise Energy Amino & Nutrient Blend

A defining characteristic of amino acids is their ability to join together into chains. An amino acid chain might be be made of as few as two amino acids, or as many as 3,000. When 50 or more amino acids are bonded together in a chain they become a protein.

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Taurine is an amine compound that plays an important role in nervous system function. Because it lacks a carboxyl group, taurine isn’t technically an amino acid in the strictest sense of the word, but it’s still generally referred to as such, even in modern scientific literature.

What makes taurine such a compelling ingredient for NatureWise Whole Body Vitality Drinks is its synergistic interaction with caffeine. The beneficial cognitive and energizing effects of caffeine have been well documented over the years. Recently, some small studies suggest that taurine has the potential to further enhance caffeine’s positive impact on cognitive performance and mood. Additional research shows that taurine may also play a part in balancing caffeine’s stimulating properties and neutralizing the unwanted effects of excess caffeine consumption.


Flagging energy levels and stress are common in this day and age, and those concerns are exactly why we believe tyrosine is such an important ingredient in the NatureWise Energy amino and nutrient blend.

Tyrosine is an essential amino acid needed for production of the neurotransmitters responsible for energy and stress response. The path from amino acid to energy production can be a bit confusing, but it goes like this: tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine. Dopamine is a precursor to epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are the chemicals in our bodies largely responsible for energy production. In cases of fatigue or stress, dopamine, epinephrine, or norepinephrine can become depleted. Supplemental tyrosine may help replenish these neurotransmitters and contribute to restored energy levels.

Wondering what the “N-Acetyl” and “L-” parts of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine mean? “N-Acetyl” means the amino acid has an extra acetyl group attached to the molecule, which science suggests makes the tyrosine more heat stable and bioavailable.

The “L” gets a little more complex. It stands for “levorotatory,” and refers to chirality and the property of plane polarized light rotating counterclockwise. While that may not sound complicated to a biochemist, simply put it means that supplements with an “L-” preceding the name are identical in molecular structure to the amino acids in our bodies. So in short, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is believed to be a more stable and bioavailable form of tyrosine supplement.


A favorite among athletes, carnitine is critical for energy metabolism in humans and animals. Its role is to transport long-chain fatty acids into cells so they can be oxidized to produce energy. Carnitine is found in almost every cell of our bodies, and in concentrated amounts in tissues like skeletal and cardiac muscle that utilize fatty acids as a dietary fuel. Carnitine is also believed to improve the energy supply to brain cells to help lower physical and mental stress levels.

The naturally occurring L-carnitine is a compound made from the essential amino acids lysine and methionine, and is often classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that when the body experiences conditions of trauma or stress, nonessential amino acids become conditionally essential to diet to help repair tissue, fight infection, and protect the body’s proteins. As a supplement, carnitine is popularly taken as an aid to weight loss, to help improve exercise performance, and to enhance feelings of well-being.