Most nutritious plants are incomplete proteins. Chia however,
is a complete protein like meat, but without the high levels of saturated fat. This is good news to people who for
health reasons or preference, need to obtain high levels of protein from plants.
Being a complete protein, chia has all the 9 essential
amino acids in proper proportions including other nonessentials. It has an amino acid score of 115%. A complete
score is 100%. Those nine essential amino acids are:tryptophan,
threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine+cystine, phenylalanine+tyrosine, valine, histidine. See
here for more details.
Tryptophan has been known for many
years for its pronounced calming effects on neurological disorders. Tryptophan is necessary for the production of
Vitamin B3, serotonin and melatonin, all of these important in controlling moods, depression, and behavioural
disorders. Serotonin (a calming hormone) and melatonin (a sleepy hormone triggered by the reduction of
daylight) have been reported to correct sleep disorders. Melatonin has been associated with deeper and longer
Read more about how chia can promote healthy sleep.
Threonine builds collagen and
elastic tissue (good for preventing wrinkles). Supplemental capsules of threonine is also used to treat
Isoleucine, leucine and valine
are crucial in the formation of hemoglobin, the protein molecule in red blood cells. Leucine
and valine also improve energy levels and muscle efficiency by expending themselves into
energy in muscles being used for physical activity.
Lysine, like most
essential amino acids, becomes an integral part of muscle tissue. It also aids in calcium
absorption, helps fight cold sores and herpes viruses.
combination of an essential + a non-essential amino acid, are involved in metabolic processes in the body. Without
these two, vital biochemical functions we normally take for granted will start breaking down -- the removal of
waste products from the liver, breakdown of fat, prevention of fatty buildup in the liver and arteries amongst
Phenylalanine+tyrosine are responsible for the "I am full" feeling, thus
inhibiting appetite. This is of tremendous value to weight watchers. These amino acids also stimulate
mental and physical alertness and are important in memory and learning, movement, sex drive, and tissue growth
best known for its efficiency in cell growth and repair. And so, this amino acid is very good for
infants, children, teenagers, and athletes who need this ability constantly and in high levels. It also has
anti-inflammatory properties and can be used in the management of arthritis.
Other nonessential amino acids contained in chia are: arginine, alanine,
aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline and serine.
Perhaps worth mentioning here are two nonessential amino acids which chia seems to have significant quantity of and are extremely important
to human health: arginine and glutamic acid.
Arginine is famous for its role in stimulating the release of human growth hormone
(hGH) or somatotropin. hGH is best known for height growth, calcium
retention, and the strengthening and increase of bone mineralisation. hGH also increases muscle mass through
creation of new muscle cells, promotes reduction of body fat, and more importantly, stimulates the growth of all
internal organs excluding the brain.
Arginine deficiency in children manifest in growth failure and short stature. In
adults, deficiency is in strength, energy, bone mass, as well as increased cardiovascular risk.
Glutamic acid is
no less important. GA is known for several vital processes: the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, removal of
ammonia, a toxic byproduct, from the body, the proper functioning of the body's
waste removal system, and is necessary for the production of energy from
other essential amino acids.
But perhaps the most exciting discovery about the glutamic acid is its involvement
in cognitive functions like learning and memory. Preliminary studies show that GA can be used as brain food, and is
one crucial requirement for the detoxification of the brain. More studies are being performed to investigate the
future potential of GA in treating nuerological conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson's and mental
Because of such a high-quality protein, chia seed is excellent for people who
prefer to source most of their protein from plants. And no wonder, chia's protein has a higher bioavailability than
meat much of whose protein is often destroyed by preparation and processing or contaminated by toxic