The Amino Acids Section
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Histidine is an amino acid that is used to develop and maintain healthy tissues in all parts of the body, particularly the myelin sheaths that coat nerve cells and ensure the transmission of messages from the brain to various parts of the body. It may be useful for treatment of mental disorders as well as certain types of sexual dysfunction.
Histidine levels in the body must be balanced to ensure good mental and physical health. High levels of this amino acid have been linked to the presence of psychological disorders such as anxiety and schizophrenia, while low levels of histidine are thought contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis and the type of deafness that results from nerve damage. Taking histidine supplements may help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Histidine is important to normal sexual functioning, because it gets converted into histamine, a chemical needed to stimulate sexual arousal. When taken together with vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), histidine can increase sexual pleasure by boosting histamine levels in the body. Histamine is also needed to help the immune system know when the body is experiencing an allergic reaction, and for the production of gastric juices needed for normal digestion.
Research suggests that hsitidine also acts as a natural detoxifier, protecting against radiation damage, and removing heavy metals from the system. It may even help prevent the onset of AIDS—histidine is crucial to the production of both red and white blood cells.
Like other amino acids, histidine is found in many high-protein foods, such as meat and dairy products, as well as grains such as rice, wheat, and rye. It is not certain if histidine is an essential or non-essential amino acid—most health experts agree that, although the body manufactures its own histidine, it is fairly easy for natural supplies to run short. The chronically ill, post-surgery, or arthritic individual may wish to consider supplementation with this amino acid. Histidine is available in both capsule and powder forms, as well as in combination amino acid formulas.
Because it has a proven effect on the central nervous system and histamine production, people with manic (bipolar) depression should not take supplemental histidine without first consulting their physician. Anyone with liver or kidney disorders should not take histidine without first consulting with a licensed health care provider. Taking any one amino acid supplement may cause levels of nitrogen in the body to become imbalanced, as well as disrupt the Krebs cycle by which toxins are eliminated from the liver and kidneys.
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