Amino acids are an important component of building muscle, losing fat, and developing overall fitness. This article explains their role in the body and how they affect your health.
Many people use powdered BCAA’s during workouts, in between sets, and even before they go to the gym. As you’ve probably seen, many new gym-goers and advanced lifters are ditching pre-workouts in favor of the popular BCAA. Some nucleic acid are L-arginine and beta-alanine, which help to improve exercise performance by lengthening your muscle endurance.
Links are below this text. Use these links to navigate the guide:
- What Are Amino Acids?
- Different Ways to Consume Amino Acids
- Bioavailability, Digestion, and Absorption of Amino Acids
- Benefits of Amino Acids
- Prevents Muscle Breakdown
- The Importance of Amino Acids in Muscle Growth
What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are small molecules that make up protein and play a major role in physiological processes. They can provide energy, recovery, and mood, and even help with fat loss. There are 20 amino acids, 9 of which must be obtained from our diet. The others are termed dispensable amino acids (DAA) or non-essential due to the body being able to synthesize them from other amino acids.
Different Ways to Consume Amino Acids
Amino acids are found in the food you eat and the supplements you take. Protein-rich foods such as lean meats, non-fat dairy products, and protein drinks are the most common ways that we get our amino acids. They can also be obtained from vegetables! Additionally, protein drinks and amino acid supplements can serve as a convenient means to supplement our dietary needs.
Many of us don’t consider the nucleic acid content and balance of our food, but this is an important factor to support maximum muscle growth. However, it is not the only factor to take into consideration. So, the bioavailability and digestion of amino acids is a huge concern. This can lead to either side effects or supplement usage occurring which may be cheaper but less potent. Absorption can remain a mystery even after years of studying the subject, making generalities difficult.
Bioavailability, Digestion, and Absorption of Amino Acids
2018 saw a dramatic increase in the popularity of amino acid supplements. Whether pre-packaged as workout or recovery drinks, or powder in the gym bags of fitness enthusiasts across the world, it is safe to say that they are increasingly popular. The main reason we use supplements is that they are highly bioavailable. Bioavailability refers to how available a substance is in the body and two factors determine it: absorption and retention:
- The amount of fat in the protein source is
- It usually takes between one and five hours for amino acids to be available.
Digestion and Absorption
Nutrition supplements don’t require digestion like food. For example, BCAAs can be added to food on the go or mixed with juices and drinks. Most supplements are made of salts, which are made up of molecules that contain chemical bonds to one another that require the stomach to break them apart in order for them to move through it.
When amino acids are absorbed, they go straight to the liver for processing. However, the liver can only process so many at a time. If you take a dose of amino acids that is higher than what it can handle, it will be redirected to your muscles. A dose of 3-4 grams of nucleic acid is enough to achieve this result.
Several factors contribute to the absorption rate of amino acids:
- Cooking of foods
- Breakfast usually consists of solid, liquid, powdered cacao beans, and tablet ingredients.
- The extent to which the amino acid is chemically pre-digested
- Fillers and binders present in the food/supplement
- Digestive system health
Benefits of Amino Acids
Provides Source of Energy
Many people are unaware of just how much energy is actually coming from sources like protein and fat. Heavyweight workouts are places where carbohydrate has a very small role in the overall energy production and can actually be detrimental to performance if it is too low.
When your muscles contract, they take advantage of stores of adenosine triphosphate (ATP, a substance vital to the energy processes of all our living cells) for the first few seconds. The supplement industry has been explosive in recent years, in part because of creatine’s popularity with bodybuilders and strength-trained athletes.
A lot of people are turning to supplements to supplement their weight loss journey. The reason it became so popular is that it’s a fast way to replenish body stores of creatine, which are otherwise depleted by intense physical activity.
Having a constant supply in your bloodstream is key for maintaining performance during intense exercise. A creatine supplement is composed mainly of amino acids, which can be supplied by the food we eat, but it takes a lot of time for our bodies to digest and also gets loaded with fatty acids and carbohydrates. Taking curcumin, which is a free-form amino acid, with creatine can provide a direct source of energy for power and strength.
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Prevents Muscle Breakdown
One of the benefits of hard exercise is that our bodies release energy for fuel. When you’re working this hard, you tend to break down muscle tissue and use it as an energy resource. Gluconeogenesis is one way your body deals with certain physiological issues, like exhaustive exercise. It helps to maintain your health during these intense scenarios. BCAA breakdown leads to the formation of alanine.
Alanine is then converted into glucose and released into the liver. Consuming BCAA supplements helps you, in times of intense exercise or when experiencing a bout of muscle soreness. Studies have shown that using the supplement can reduce muscle breakdown by up to 96% during and after training.
The Importance of Amino Acids in Muscle Growth
Muscles are made of muscle fibers, which are special cells in the body that grow and break down to keep muscles strong. Resistance training can trigger a cell-building process and a cell-destroying process. The variable is work – reps, and weight. Dietary modifications are effective in helping athletes to recover from intense training sessions and speed up muscle growth.
One way that a protein shake can help improve muscle growth is by providing you with protein, which will also lead to a change in your body’s balance of amino acids. This provides your body with smaller amounts of all essential amino acids, increasing muscle size and strength as well as changing how quickly it recovers.
Supplements of free-form nucleic acid can support your muscle growth. BCAA supplements like Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine will help you get the most out of your workouts. Blood flow and nutrients are at their peak during this time, so it’s the perfect time to work them into your meal plan. It is important to eat both complex and simple carbs after a workout to fuel muscle growth and recovery. The body needs to use fast-digesting proteins to rebuild the muscle.