Amino acids are known to be the building blocks of muscle and we obtain these amino acids by eating foods high in protein. There are around 22 amino acids and 8 are essential, which means that you can only get them from food and your body cannot produce them by itself. Furthermore, if your body doesn’t get a sufficient amount of theses amino acids from your diet then you will struggle to function properly.
Now this is where supplements can help because if you’re an athlete or bodybuilder the amino acids that are absorbed from your diet is generally not enough to cover the increased demands. So if a supplement is taken it will make sure that your muscles have enough of the 8 essential amino acids to rebuild itself and grow bigger causing the process to be much more efficient/effective.
The 8 Essential Amino Acids
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs are made up of 3 key amino acids known as valine, isoleucine and leucine. When taken BCAAs will help improve immune function, minimise muscle damage, enhance post workout muscle growth and diminish fatigue. For it to be effective a dosage of 5-10 grams a day will be enough.
- Valine – Helps maintain your nitrogen balance and the repair/growth of muscle tissue. Natural Sources Of Valine: Peanuts, Mushrooms, Chicken, Cheese, Full Fat Milk.
- Isoleucine – Stimulates HGH release, regulates your blood sugar levels and promotes muscle recovery. Natural Sources Of Isoleucine: Whole Eggs, Almonds, Lentils, Beef, Chicken, Salmon.
- Leucine – Regulates your blood sugar levels and helps in the growth/repair of your tissues in skin, bones and skeletal muscle. Natural Sources Of Isoleucine: Brown Rice, Beans, Whole Wheat Foods, Chicken, Pork, Tilapia, Beef.
Phenylalanine is known for it’s pain killing/antidepressant effect, which works well when you are in the middle of a tough workout because you’ll feel less pain and be happier. It also allows you to absorb more natural vitamin D from sunlight and upgrade your nerves to allow for the maximal contraction/relaxation of the muscles. For it to be effective no more than 14 mg per kilo of bodyweight a day will be enough.
Natural Sources Of Phenylalanine: Full Fat Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Nuts, Seeds, Avocados.
Histidine produces gastric juices in the stomach which speeds up and improves digestion. For it to be effective 8-10 mg per kilo of bodyweight a day will be enough.
Natural Sources Of Histidine: All Dairy Foods, Fish, Rice, Rye, Chicken, Pork, Wheat.
Threonine is used to maintain proper protein balance and it also allows for better absorption of other nutrients. It is also important for the maintenance of muscle mass and immune system because it helps produce antibodies. For it to be effective exactly 8 mg per kilo of bodyweight a day will be enough.
Natural Sources Of Threonine: All Dairy Foods, Whole Eggs, Chicken, Pork, Beef.
Methionine helps in the breakdown and use of fats which increases the amount of testosterone you naturally produce, it even eliminates excess fat from your bloodstream resulting in less potential fat tissue. For it to be effective a dosage of 12 mg per kilo of bodyweight a day will be enough.
Natural Sources Of Methionine: Chicken, Pork, Whole Eggs, Lentils, Seeds, Garlic, Beans.
Lysine is one of the most important amino’s when it comes to growth and development because it is needed to produce hormones, enzymes, antibodies and collagen. Next to the maintenance and production of muscle protein it also plays a role in rejuvenating your body to combat overtraining/fatigue. Lastly, it helps you maintain a positive nitrogen balance and this creates an anabolic environment within your body making it perfect for muscle growth. For it to be effective at least 12 mg per kilo of bodyweight a day is needed.
Natural Sources Of Lysine: Cheese, Whole Eggs, Potatoes, Lima Beans, Yeast.
To sum up amino acids most definitely help you build muscle, but apart from BCAAs you don’t need to supplement the other 5 essential amino acids unless you’re overtraining or deep into a cut/fat loss plan. The reason for this is because if you are eating enough protein and wholefoods that should rule out the need for supplementation of the other 5 amino acids.
If you have anymore questions about amino acids leave a comment down below.