Amino acids are a vital part of any fitness regimen, specifically if you are looking to gain muscle mass. Find out more below about their importance affect on muscle growth.
What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein. The body uses them to build and repair broken down muscle tissue, but they also play a part in physiological functions such as brain function, energy levels, strength gains and also fat loss.
While the body can create some ‘non-essential’ amino acids, there are eight (or nine depending on who you talk to) that the body cannot create. These are known as essential amino acids and they need to be consumed in either food or supplementation in order for the body to receive them.
Vital in Building and Repairing Muscle
The essential list include Threonine, Phenylanine, Isoleucine, Valine, Tryptophan, Histidine, Arginine, Leucine and Lysine. Though these can be consumed through food and a proper diet, the following are ones that are most often supplemented due to their significant benefits for athletes and bodybuilders.
BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids and are the most recognized. These BCAAs are made up of Leucine, Iso-leucine and Valine and are considered to be three of the most vital for the maintenance and repair of muscle. Though BCAAs are made up of three amino acids, these three are always best when taken together in a BCAA supplement instead of separately.
L-arginine improves blood flow and is known for delivering that “pump” that bodybuilders and weight lifters love so much. It also helps to boost the immune system.
L-Carnitine (Dipeptide made from Lysine and Methionine)
L-carnitine makes it possible for the body to use stored fat as energy, which decreases the chance of the body breaking down muscle tissue to produce energy. The use of stored fat enhances the body’s fat burning ability, which is a highly coveted trait for most bodybuilders.
While essential amino acids are found naturally in food sources, one of the quickest and easiest ways to consume them is through supplementation. The best time for the body to receive these amino acids is immediately after a workout when the body is most receptive to nutrients, which is why powders and tablet supplements are so often used by bodybuilders and weight lifters.
Packaged workout drinks and amino acid supplements are made up of free-form amino acids. The term free-form means that the amino acids are free of chemical bonds to other molecules, which means they can be immediately absorbed by the stomach and digested by the small intestine into the blood stream. they are then processed by the liver. Due to the liver only being able to process so many amino acids at a time, the left overs are directed to the tissues that require repair, such as the muscles that were just trained and need aid in recovery.
Though amino acids can be found naturally in foods, adding supplements to your training regimen could be one of the best things you do for your body and its potential progress. Using a Macro Nutrient Calculator can help with daily portion sizes, check it out.