Amino acids seem to be the cynosure of the wellness and health community at the moment. This is not supposed to be too surprising. Aminos are great building blocks, but they are not like mere Lego bricks. They are very intuitive. They can refold, reorder, and rebuild themselves to fit into their functions. No researcher has been able to properly replicate or predict how aminos function. They are like the building blocks upon which life is built. There are 20 aminos present in your body. These 20 are very essential for living healthy. But only 9 of them are dietary essential. Your body can naturally make the other 11. But among their many benefits, we want to focus on amino acid benefits for muscles in this article.
You can find abundant amounts of essential aminos in high-protein varieties like meats, nuts, and beans. You can also find them in greens like Brussel sprouts, asparagus, and spinach. But then, athletes and people with peculiar dietary concerns, as well as those who want additional boosts often consider amino supplements to supply their need for more essential aminos. But again, there are 3 peculiar aminos among the 9 dietary essential aminos. They are called branched-chain aminos (BCAAs). They are the best for your muscles. You can find them in protein-rich varieties, such as eggs, dairy products, and meat. More so, their supplements are very popular among bodybuilders and athletes.
Amino Acid Benefits for Muscles
1. Enhances muscle growth
One very popular use of BCAAs is the enhancement of muscle growth. Leucine, in particular, activates a pathway in your body. This pathway stimulates the production of muscle protein. This, in turn, helps your body makes more muscle tissue.
One study even shows that people who consume 5.6g BCAAs after resistance workouts have a 22 percent increase in the synthesis of muscle protein. But then, Whey protein seems to be the best source of aminos for muscle growth. You will experience 2 times more synthesis of muscle proteins than with any other BCAA source.
Whey protein does not only contain BCAAs. But it also contains all other essential aminos which, in turn, helps your body to build more muscle. So then, while BCAAs may increase your muscle protein production, you are not likely to get maximal results when other essential aminos are absent.
So while BCAAs may play a vital role in promoting muscle building. But then, they need the support of other essential aminos. These will deliver maximal results.
2. Lessens muscle soreness
Experts tell us that BCAAs are very effective for decreasing post-workout muscle soreness. If you work out regularly, you would know that sore feeling is very common after workouts. But this is usually delayed. It occurs maybe after 1 or 2 days. That’s why experts refer to this soreness as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
We are yet to know the exact reason for DOMS. Even experts do not clearly understand it yet. But they somehow believe that tiny muscle tears during exercise may play a role. By reducing muscle damage, essential aminos may help lessen the severity and length of DOMS.
There are even several studies showing the aminos decrease the breakdown of proteins during exercise. They also decrease the levels of the enzyme, creatine kinase. This enzyme indicates muscle damage. So with less in your body, muscle damage would decrease.
The best time to use aminos for reducing muscle damage and soreness is before your workout session. This not only reduces damage and soreness to muscles, but it also speeds up your muscle recovery time.
3. Lessens exercise fatigue
This is in sync with the effect of essential aminos on muscle soreness. In line with reducing soreness, they also reduce fatigue from exercise. We all know that exhaustion and fatigue from exercise are typical occurrences. But several factors affect how fast you tire out.
Factors affecting fatigue include exercise duration and intensity, as well as nutrition, fitness levels, and environmental conditions. But we must understand how this tiredness and fatigue occurs.
Your muscles burn BCAAs during workouts. This causes your blood BCAA levels to decrease. This decline, in turn, leads to a chain of events in your body. The endpoint of these events is that serotonin increases in the brain. Serotonin, in turn, contributes to fatigue.
The effects of aminos are multifaceted. Aside from keeping your BCAA levels up during exercise, they also improve your mental focus. With the enhancement of mental focus and alertness, you can keep going for much longer than usual.
4. Prevents muscle-wasting
We touched on this a little bit before. But we will explain in more detail here. Now, you should understand that the breakdown and rebuilding of muscle proteins are constant processes. The balance between these processes would determine the protein makeup of your muscles.
When proteins are depleted in your muscles, muscle breakdown or wasting would occur. This is usually a result of protein breakdown exceeding protein synthesis in the muscles. It happens as a result of malnutrition or chronic infections and diseases. Aging also causes it naturally.
What BCAAs do is that they help your muscles to make more protein. So it can help set your muscle protein rebuilding ahead of its breakdown.
35 percent of all the essential aminos in your muscle proteins are BCAAs. They also amount to 40 percent of all the aminos your body requires. As such, you need BCAAs more than other essential aminos to boost your muscle proteins and prevent wasting. However, these BCAAs still need other aminos to function maximally.
Another thing to note here is that aminos can help slow the progression of aging. As muscle depletion increases in old age, an adequate supply of aminos can help stem the tide of muscle wasting.
5. Improves muscle recovery
We talked about this when we were discussing aminos’ effects on muscle soreness. But we will take a closer look at it here. Many studies on aminos have concluded that aminos have an overwhelming effect on muscle recovery after a workout.
Aminos indeed have several benefits. They are very helpful for athletes, as well as those who have dietary restrictions. But remember that you need a balance of all 9 essential aminos. They are as follows:
While all 9 are very important, athletes looking for amino acid benefits for muscles should rather focus on BCAAs. These BCAAs are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.