Amino Acid Supplements 101

Amino Acids

This my latest installment in my blog series on supplements. Previously I’ve talked about pre-workout supplements, caffeine, and creatine. This time I’ll cover amino acids.

Amino acids aren’t just something you cover in high school chemistry class. They are actually important to building muscle. This is because amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Your body utilizes 22 different amino acids, but it only produces 13 of them. That means the other nine, called essential amino acids, must come from what you ingest. If you’re not getting a varied enough supply of protein, you may need amino acid supplements. You may also need an amino acid supplement if you are trying to build muscle in a dedicated exercise program. Why? Amino acids have various functions related to energy production during and after exercise that’s why.

If you’re experiencing muscle soreness and fatigue, but not the fat loss you expect, you need to consider taking a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids(BCAAs). They are essential amino acids, specifically, valine, leucine and isoleucine. “They are essential, meaning we must get them in our diet because our bodies do not produce them,” explains Sarah Currie, RD and personal trainer for New York City-based Physical Equilibrium LLC. “The term ‘branched-chain’ just refers to the molecular structure.” Muscle & Fitness states, “The BCAAs, unlike most other amino acids, are used directly by the muscles for fuel during exercise. Yet, after the workout’s over, the muscles rely mostly on fat for energy so the BCAAs can be used for muscle growth. This means that taking BCAAs before workouts will provide you with more energy during the workout, spare your muscle levels of BCAAs (which normally get burned for fuel during workouts), and boost muscle growth even after the workout is over”. A recent study by the University of Birmingham found that participants who supplemented with BCAAs before and after exercise had a significant reduction in muscle soreness compared to those who didn’t. Men’s Fitness found a Brazilian study that”revealed that BCAA supplementation resulted in glycogen-depleted participants experiencing a significant reduction in fatigue, as well as enhanced fat burning”.

There are also two other types of amino acids frequently found in supplements: glutamine and citrulline malate. Glutamine aids in energy prodution. During rest, your muscles can use it to produce more energy. This helps muscles recover better, which in turn can enhance strength and endurance. Glutamine also boosts growth hormone levels; this frees up more fat for enhanced recovery. Citrulline malate increases blood flow to the muscles. It also helps delay fatigue by enhancing the removal of ammonia that is produced during hard exercise.
BSN Amino X

At Rock Bottom Fitness, one of our favorite amino acid supplements is BSN Amino X. Amino X ingredients when combined with regular exercise are designed to support protein synthesis/anabolism, glycogen resynthesizing, anti-catabolism/muscle sparing, recovery from training sessions, and muscular endurance. Amino X contains BCAA and Vitamin D. it comes in four delicious flavors and this week BSN Amino X is only $30 for 2! Check it out here!

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