Test for detecting amino acid deficiency | What are amino acids?

Test for detecting amino acid deficiency

Amino acids are indispensable for various metabolic pathways, the hormone balance and other important processes within the organism. For this reason, a sufficient supply of essential amino acids, or the components of synthesizable amino acids, is of enormous importance. The consequences of a deficiency of these substances become clear when one considers that the body consists mainly of amino acids (or proteins) in addition to the high proportion of water.

Nowadays there is a surplus of carbohydrate-rich food in terms of nutrition. Many people live almost exclusively on carbohydrate-rich food. The supply of amino acids is neglected in many cases.

If too few amino acids are consumed over a longer period of time, a food shortage develops. As a result, sooner or later the organism switches to emergency mode and saves energy wherever possible. Many people who deliberately avoid eating certain foods (for example vegetarians or vegans) wonder whether there are tests that can detect and prove a possible amino acid deficiency at an early stage.

The aim of such tests is to prevent the long-term side effects of an amino acid deficiency situation. One of the most common and easiest tests to detect an amino acid deficiency is based on a simple principle. When the organism switches to emergency mode due to an amino acid deficiency, it reacts, among other things, by reducing water excretion.

It therefore retains large quantities of water. As a test, those affected can therefore first check whether urination takes place as usual or whether conspicuously less urine is discharged. In addition, the decreasing water excretion is shown by water retention (edema) in the tissue.

The development of oedema can therefore be directly related to a lack of amino acids. The extent of the amino acid deficiency is directly related to the amount of water stored. A simple test can help patients who fear that they suffer from water retention caused by a lack of amino acids to assess whether oedema is present.

The test should be carried out as follows: The affected patient should let the arm hang relaxed on the body. Meanwhile, the other hand should be placed on the back of the upper arm. The fingertips should almost touch the upper body.

The patient must place the whole hand as flat as possible on the arm and apply light pressure on the tissue of the hanging arm. The evaluation of this test is quite simple, as is its execution. The firmer the tissue is, the less water was retained.

With regard to the amino acid balance, this again means: The firmer the tissue is, the less pronounced (or even non-existent) the amino acid deficiency is. Furthermore, such water retention can be tested well on the ankles. After exerting slight pressure on the ankle region, the presence of oedema indicates a retraction which only disappears after a longer period of time.

However, when conducting an amino acid deficiency test, patients should be aware that tissue swelling caused by water retention can also have other causes. For this reason, a positive test result should only be associated with an amino acid deficiency if there are no other underlying diseases. In addition, if such water retention is present, a doctor should always be consulted and the cause clarified. If a pronounced lack of amino acids is actually present, the treating physician can help to bring the amino acid balance back into balance by changing the diet or taking dietary supplements.