Amino acids are found in foods, and are the essential building blocks of protein. Supplement manufacturers these days are adding amino acids to everything from sports drinks to nutrition bars because of the benefits they provide. Knowing when to take amino acids is just as important as knowing how to consume them, which is why you should keep the following information in mind.
Amino Acids for Weightlifters
If your primary goal is to become stronger, the ideal time to take amino acids is during your workout. Perform your warm-up first, then stop and take your amino acid supplement before you begin lifting heavy weights. This allows your muscles to recover faster from your workout, which in turn will cause you to bulk up faster. There are also intra-workout amino acid supplements in the form of liquid that are available. Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs are recommended because of the important role they play in building muscle, burning fat, and increasing endurance. A Swedish study showed that participants who took just 6.8 grams of BCAAs showed greater anabolism and less catabolism (muscle breakdown) than those who did not consume any.
Runners and Swimmers
Runners and swimmers can benefit most by taking amino acids right before and immediately after their workout. Amino acids benefits these athletes by preserving lean muscle and promoting healthy fat loss. In the case of long-distance or endurance runners, amino acids along with electrolytes and B-vitamins could be consumed in water or a sports drink to provide greater energy. Glutamine is one amino acid that is especially beneficial to runners. This amino acid accounts for more than 60% of the body’s free amino acid pool, and provides fuel for a number of cells and organs.
Best on an Empty Stomach
Regardless of when you take amino acids, you should always do so on an empty stomach whenever possible. That’s because any food that is in your stomach will absorb those acids and make it more difficult for them to enter your bloodstream. Amino acids must be easily absorbed by the body; otherwise, you will not notice the benefits when you need them. If you have trouble swallowing a supplement, try swishing a little water around in your mouth in order to wet the tablet and make it easier to get down.
Dangers of Overdosing
You could suffer some ill side effects if you take more than the recommended amount of amino acids. This amount will vary based upon your fitness goals and the type of amino acid you are taking, but is normally anywhere between 20 and 300 mg per day. Stop taking amino acids or reduce your dosage if you notice unusual side effects such as a loss of concentration, hair loss, muscle weakness, lethargy, hallucinations, diarrhea, nausea, or a crawling sensation in the skin.
Amino acids play an important role when it comes to losing fat and gaining muscle. When developing a fitness program, you should first determine when to take amino acids to ensure they provide you with the best possible benefits.