Quick Guide to Amino Acids

By Adam
2 February 2015

Protein in its many forms makes up about 20% of the human body.  Protein itself is made from 21 different types of amino acid both essential and non-essential.  These key building blocks of life play a crucial role in almost all biological processes.

Amino acids make up most of the solid matter in the body and so have an influence on the function of organs, glands, tendons and arteries. They are further essential for healing wounds and repairing tissue, especially in the muscles, bones, skin and hair.

Knowing what important essential and non-essential amino acids do, and what benefits they give you, could well be key to taking your training to the next level. The list of amino acids is long and explaining each one gets close to you becoming a pharmacist! 

You will consume most of the lesser known amino compounds in normal high protein foods but some will require additional supplementation when training hard.  To avoid over-complicating, I will only discuss the ones that provide a proven benefit to people taking part in intensive exercise.

List of Aminos

Essential (The body can’t produce and needs to come from diet)

Leucine

What is it? The main component of BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and is considered the strongest natural anabolic muscle growing agent in the world, as it stimulates Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production.
How can it help? Enhances lean muscle growth | Boosts energy levels | Delays muscular fatigue | Stimulate fat loss

Isoleucine

What is it? Another component of BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and is similar to Leucine but not found in as many foods.
How can it help? Regulates blood sugar levels | Protects against infection | Stimulates HGH release

Valine

What is it? The final component of BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids).  This provides some of the main attributes associated with BCAA’s, like recovery.
How can it help? Repairs muscle tissue | Maintains nitrogen balance | Increases the uptake of Leucine

Lysine

What is it? Found as part of the compound Acetyl L-Carnitine and is primarily used by the body in calcium absorption.
How can it help? Increases bone and muscle growth | Enhance mental performance | Boosts energy levels

Methionine

What is it? Found as part of the compound Creatine and Acetyl L-Carnitine.
How can it help? Mobilise fat to be used as fuel | Increases testosterone production | Detoxifies liver and bloodstream

Non-essential (The body can produce but diet helps keep levels topped up)

Alanine

What is it?  Beta Alanine is a naturally occurring amino found in pork and fish and is known to act as a buffer against lactic acid build up, meaning you can work out harder for longer.
How can it help? Increases workout intensity | Reduces fatigue | Works synergistically with Creatine

Aspartate

What is it? Also known as Aspartic Acid, it is used by the body to create D Aspartic Acid - a precursor to the male hormone testosterone.
How can it help? Supports metabolic function | Enhances Strength | Boosts testosterone levels | Increases libido

Carnitine

What is it? Found as part of the compound Creatine, Acetyl L-Carnitine and L-Carnitine and is produced from 2 essential aminos, commonly found in dairy, eggs and red meat. It is great at transporting nutrients that in turn improve your energy uptake.
How can it help? Mobilise fat to be used as fuel | Enhances repair and recovery | Boosts energy levels

Glutamine

What is it?  Glutamine is considered the most rounded amino as it assists in many different functions. It also makes up 60% of skeletal muscle and is a primary transporter of nitrogen to the cells.
How can it help? Shuttles vital nutrients around the body | Enhances muscle growth | Assists cell hydration | Improves recovery | Maintains a healthy immune system

Arginine

What is it? Known as a semi-essential amino, it falls into both categories. It is found in Creatine, Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate and Citrulline Malate and acts as a cell volumiser.  This means more nutrients can get to where they need to go and therefore other amino acids are more efficiently absorbed.
How can it help? Increases vascularity | Increases nutrient uptake | Increases efficiency of other nutrients | Enhances growth

Tyrosine

What is it? Tyrosine plays an important role in the production of the brain power enhancing element, dopamine.  It helps to handle the effects of stress and sleep deprivation.
How can it help? Enhances mental alertness | Increases focus | Helps to blunt stress and allow longer training

Taurine

What is it? Known as a semi-essential amino it falls into both categories.  It is found in abundance in the skeletal and heart muscles and plays a vital role in a range of body functions including the nervous system.
How can it help? Minimises cramping | Delays fatigue | Increases vascularity | Boosts energy

Glycine

What is it? A component of Creatine and is commonly found in fish, meat and dairy. As Creatine, it is primarily used to boost energy and is one of the most researched and studied sports supplements in the world.
How can it help? Increases lean muscle growth | Improves explosive energy | Increases workout instensity

Stack Suggestions

The options are limitless when it comes to stacking or blending aminos together to get that perfect combination.  Timing is also an important factor, along with training type and what goal you are trying to achieve.

Here are some suggestions for supplement stacks and what they will do.  You are able to combine any variation of aminos, as long as you stick to recommended dose.

Power, strength & endurance
Creatine Monohydrate
Beta Alanine
Betaine
Taurine

Increased pump & energy boost
Citrulline Malate
 
Delay muscular fatigue and increases growth
BCAA’s (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine)
 
Focus & intensity
L-Tyrosine
Acetyl L-Carnitine
 
Absorption & delivery enhancers
Arganine Alpha-Ketoglutarate
Glutamine

If you’ve never tried amino acids before, you’ll soon find out that some have a strong taste, like Citrulline Malate and BCAAs.  You would probably have those on their own, perhaps with some cordial or juice.  While others, like Glutamine and Creatine, have no real taste, so can go straight into your regular protein shake.

In Summary

This should give you some key information and an important insight into the vast range of Amino Acids   and how important they are to individual body functions as well as enhancing your training.

Recommended doses are there for a reason and ensure you don’t overdo it when supplementing your balanced healthy diet.

There is a wealth of information out there.  Researching information from trusted sources is key to improving your knowledge and learning how to not only improve your own training and gains but share that knowledge with likeminded individuals.

Check out http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/catamino.htm for a one stop information epicenter.

If you haven’t had enough of this word full feature already and have any questions then please feel free to get in touch at contact@trueprotein.com.au or read more on the individual amino acids at https://www.trueprotein.com.au/carbohydrate-supplements/amino-acids

 

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