September 18, 2004
Q: What amino acids are the essential amino acids? - Layperson
A: You may see conflicting data on this, but to be labeled essential, means the amino acid must be gotten from the diet because the body lacks the enzymes to synthesize these amino acids. Eight are classified as core essential amino acids-Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine. Seven are classified as conditionally or semiessential- Arginine (essential in infants in which production is not sufficient, but not in adults), Cysteine, Cystine, Glutamine, Histidine, Proline, and Tyrosine(derived from Phenylalanine and essential if not enough Phenylalanine is present for it to be synthesized), and nine nonessential (the body can synthesize these)-Alanine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Carnitine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Ornithine, Serine, and Taurine. At one time it was thought that all the amino acids had to be taken in at one meal to synthesize protein, but it has been determined that several hours can pass before the remaining amino acids need to be taken in for protein synthesis to occur. None of the amino acids are stored and must be assimilated daily through the diet.
Q. I had torn my rotator cuff while bench pressing heavy. Are there any exercises to help rehabilitate my arm? - Layperson
A: That depends on a number of factors, among them, age, location, and severity of the tear. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles- the subscapularis, the supra spinatus, the infraspinatus, and the teres minor along with their musculotendinous attachments. The tendons fuse together to form a band around the shoulder joint and are connected to the above muscles which in turn are connected to the scapula, or shoulder blade. When these muscles contract, this creates a pull on the rotator cuff tendon, causing the shoulder to"rotate" upward, inward, or outward, hence the name "rotator cuff". Usually a tear means the rotator cuff tendon has been partially or fully torn away from the bone. A full tear will require surgical intervention. Depending on how much damage is done in a partial tear, surgical intervention may still be required as the tear may heal improperly, causing permanent damage. If surgical intervention is not necessary, the first step is to maintain as much range of motion as possible, WITHOUT the use of weights. Most of the time, weights may be lifted up and down off the floor with very little or no problem, however, over the head or straight out from the chest, is going to produce extreme pain. When the pain has diminished to a bearable level, gradually increasing amounts of weight can be used in the range of motion exercises to build up muscle, ligaments, and tendons strength and support. Eventually the benchpress can be attempted using light weights at first and then increasing the amounts used. A light warm up should always be done prior to each workout. Part of the healing process includes scar formation. Contrary to popular belief, the scars themselves will not usually tear again as the scar tissue is stronger than the normal surrounding tissue. It is for this reason, if a tear occurs again, it will be along the scar-normal tissue border. Depending on the severity of the damage, full strength, but less mobility will usually occur. Rehabilitation can take six months to one year. Older joints are less flexible and resilient and will take on the longer end.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this column, is NOT intended to diagnose and/or treat any health related issues and is provided solely for informational purposes only. Consult the appropriate healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime. Even what may seem like simple changes in the diet for example, can interact with, and alter, the efficiency of medications and/or the body's response to the medications. Many herbs and supplements exert powerful medicinal effects. Neither the author, nor the website designers, assume any responsibility for the reader's use or misuse of this information.