You may have heard of the essential amino acid L-histidine from your biology 101 class, or from the back of your favorite EAA supplement as part of the nine essential amino acids. Regardless of how or why you’re here vetting more info on histidine, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to talk about the benefits and why this amino acid finds itself as an essential part to your everyday health and wellness.
What Is L-Histidine
L-histidine is one of the nine essential amino acids, critical to biological processes such as proton buffering, muscle protein synthesis, metal ion chelation, scavenging of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (free radical damage), red blood cell formation, as well as creating important molecules like carnosine - your body’s natural lactic acid buffer [R].
Amino acids are classified as essential and nonessential. Essential amino acids are those that your body cannot produce on its own. As a result, they must be obtained from food or supplementation. Nonessential amino acids are those that your body can produce from other chemicals in your body.
Benefits Of L-Histidine
1. Creates Carnosine (Beta-Alanine)
Histidine has a direct role in the synthesis of the di-peptide carnosine. Carnosine is a combination of l-histidine and ornithine. Carnosine is one of your body’s natural lactic acid buffers and studies suggest that the more muscle carnosine you have, the more effectively you can delay muscle fatigue, improve muscular endurance, and increase training volume.
Supplements, superficially Beta-Alanine facilitates the synthesis of muscle carnosine concentration in the body. A study published in the Journal of Medical & Science In Sports & Exercise examined the effects of muscle carnosine content and endurance cycling capacity after 24 weeks of supplementation in cyclists. The study showed that supplementing with CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine increased muscle carnosine content and improved high-intensity cycling capacity at every time-interval [R, R].
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2. May Help With Obesity
Some studies suggest that histidine could help with obesity. In fact, a randomized controlled trial investigated the effects of l-histidine in obese women, to determine its role on insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and metabolic disorder [R].
At 12 weeks, the study concluded that histidine supplementation at 4g per day, significantly reduced BMI, fat mass, increased insulin resistance, and suppressed inflammation and oxidative stress in obese women.
3. Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS)
In addition to obesity, histidine has been shown to improve insulin resistance, which is directly correlated to enhanced chronic disease states, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Dietary intervention with histidine, for insulin resistance has positive effects on reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. Mechanisms purport that this could be due to the antioxidant benefits and properties of histidine, in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
Based on these findings, histidine may improve insulin sensitivity and alleviate inflammation, oxidative stress and metabolic disorders in humans. Furthermore, low plasma concentrations of histidine are associated with protein-energy wasting, inflammation, oxidative stress and increased mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease [R].
Histidine Benefits: Takeaway
Overall, histidine plays an important role in keeping your body healthy, by reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, creating new protein cells, and improving training capacity by producing the di-peptide carnosine. Histidine is an essential amino acid, meaning you must obtain in from your diet. Adding lean proteins to your diet, such as beef, chicken, fish, or supplementing with a protein, beta-alanine, or an EAA can help you improve training capacity and performance.