Benefits of Amino Acids for Bodybuilding
There seems to be an endless amount of supplements on the market these days. If you are in the weight training field and are training to increase the amount of muscle that you carry then you will be constantly inundated with new fancy supplements and protein shakes etc. that usually promise more than they can deliver.
This article is going to cover some brief and very necessary information about the building blocks of protein called amino acids and finally put a stop to all the misinformation out there. The first step is to know that there are two different kinds of amino acids and they are essential and non-essential amino acids.
The Essential Amino Acids: Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine,
Tryptophan, Valine and Threonine.
The Nonessential Amino Acids: Alanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Cysteine, Cystine, Glutamic Acid,
Glutamine, Glycine, Proline, Serine and Tyrosine
This article will not be going to into the rather complex process of how the DNA blueprint of each cell directs these amino acids but to rather explain the vital process of protein synthesis. For this to happen an adequate supply of both essential and non-essential amino acids is vital.
If one of the essential amino acids is missing then synthesis is halted. These partially assembled proteins are disassembled and the amino acids returned to the blood. Any amino acids that are not used within a short time cannot be stored for future use. They are then delivered back to the liver and stripped of their nitrogen.
These amino acids that are not used are then incorporated into urea and excreted by the kidneys. The remaining protein skeleton will be converted to glucose and burned as energy or converted to fat or glycogen for storage. Although protein synthesis is very important, the body's number one priority is to obtain sufficient energy to carry on vital functions such as circulation, respiration and digestion.
Therefore, in the absence of adequate dietary carbohydrates and fat calories, the body will break down not only dietary protein but protein in the blood, liver, pancreas, muscles, and other tissues in order to maintain vital organs and functions.
As we have already discussed, the fate of an amino acid after it is transported to the liver is highly dependent upon the body's needs at that moment. Immediately after exercise, when the muscle is receptive to nutrients and the blood flow to the exercise muscles remain high and a window of opportunity exists to aid muscular growth and recovery.
Unfortunately, a high protein meal will not put significant levels of amino acids into your blood stream until a couple of hours after you eat it, especially if blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract has been diminished by a hard training sessions.
The most reliable way to deliver specific amino acids is to administer the particular amino acids themselves through free form amino acids. The value of free form amino acids is first and foremost is that they do not require digestion. They are free of chemical bonds to other molecules and so move quickly through the stomach and into the small intestine, where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream within fifteen minutes. This quick absorption helps prevent muscle catabolism.
You can help this process a lot by supplementing with branched-chained amino acids which are metabolized directly in the muscle and can be converted into energy to prevent muscle catabolism. If you supplement with BCAAs the body does not have to break down muscle tissue to derive extra energy. A study conducted at the School of Human Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, confirmed that the use of BCAAs (up to 4 grams) during and after exercise could result in a significant reduction of muscle breakdown during exercise.