Amino acids are organic compounds that your body uses for a number of functions, including digestion, protein-building and tissue repair, says MedlinePlus, a service of the National Institutes of Health. Your body is able to produce nonessential amino acids, while your body needs to acquire essential amino acids from dietary sources. Conditional amino acids are usually only needed when you are ill or stressed. Amino acids also help reduce blood pressure, according to an article published in a 1992 issue of the "Kidney International Supplement."
Blood pressure measures the force applied to the walls of your arteries when your heart pumps blood through them. Things like blood volume and the size and flexibility of your arteries determine your blood pressure, MedlinePlus notes. But blood pressure is also affected by your physical activity, temperature, diet, emotional state and your overall level of health. Normal blood pressure is usually about 120/80 mmHg.
Amino acids likely affect your blood pressure when it is low, according to a study published in a 2005 issue of "Regulatory Peptides." The study aimed to investigate the involvement of taurine and glutamate, a salt of the amino acid glutamic acid, in the depressor response caused by angiotensin. Rat test subjects were anesthetized and angiotensin was injected into their caudal ventrolateral medulla. The results of the study revealed that angiotensin modulated the release of glutamate and taurine at the caudal ventrolateral medulla and the release of both glutamate and taurine affected the blood pressure response to angiotensin. This suggests that amino acids play a role in helping your body manage low blood pressure.
Amino acids seem to help alleviate hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats, according to a study featured in a 1992 issue of the "Kidney International Supplement." The study used rats that did not suffer from hypertension so that their response to induced hypertension could be measured. The results showed that amino acid neurotransmitters helped reduce the resting blood pressure in the spontaneously hypertensive rats. This suggests the possible use of amino acids in regulating blood pressure. However, more research is necessary to determine the effects on humans.
Essential amino acids are available in meat, soybeans, nuts and seeds, MayoClinic.com says. Eating four to five servings of these foods weekly helps ensure that your body gets sufficient amounts of the essential amino acids it needs. These foods also contain fiber and nutrients like magnesium, potassium and protein.
- "Kidney International Supplement"; Amino Acid Neurotransmitters in Hypertension; Arnolda L, et al.; June 1992
- Mayo Clinic; DASH Diet: Healthy Eating to Lower Your Blood Pressure; May 2010
- MedlinePlus; Amino Acids; Alison Evert; February 2011
- "Regulatory Peptides"; Amino Acids Modulate the Hypotensive Effect of Angiotensin-(1-7) at the Caudal Ventrolateral Medulla in Rats; Wang J, et al.; July 2005