I've always wondered about amino acids. The first introduction to amino acids that I had, was I was told to train with BCAA's (branch chain amino acids), I didn’t know why, just that they were a good thing to add to my routine. Here's what I have found out since, and believe me there is a lot I still I don't know lol.
There are two basic categories: Essential Amino Acids (EAA's) and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's), and their function goes far beyond being simple “building blocks” for muscle.
Essential amino acids, can't be made by your body like all the other amino acids can. Instead, you have to get EAA's from your diet or other exogenous sources.
Here are a few and what they do:
Phenylanine, is a feel good, pain killing amino.
Valine, prevents muscle proteins breaking down
Threonine, I am not sure what it does with regards to exercise, there isn't much information on it, but it's essential so I guess it must be important lol
Tryptophan, works with serotonin to suppress pain, it can also make you a little sleepy
Methionine, helps your body process and eliminate fat
Histidine, precursor to histamine, could help with fighting off cell damage free radicals
Arginine, helps with nitric oxide synthesis (which helps with blood flow)
Lysine, helps with growth hormone release (muscle repair and recovery)
Isoleucine, same as Valine (BCAA)
Beta Alanine, it's a non-essential amino acid, it helps increase strength, lean body mass and muscular endurance. It is also said to buffer lactic acid build up.
BCAA's are interesting because they are metabolized in your muscle, rather than in the liver. This means that BCAA's, without any requirement for much digestion or “processing”, can be relied on as an actual energy source during exercise, and could therefore prevent premature muscle breakdown.
I would suggest taking them together if you are going to add them to your routine, and not individually. As they work together.
Until next time…
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