Amino Acids Help the Body Move and Function
If they are used the right way amino acids can increase endurance, make us recover faster from fatigue, reduce muscle soreness and tackle metabolic syndrome.
Most athletes already know about the benefits of amino acids to sports. The many functions and benefits of amino acids are now becoming widely known so recreational athletes are also using amino acid nutrition more and more.
Proteins are the main component of muscle and proteins are made of amino acids. When we do sports or exercise, our bodies need much more amino acids.
Amino acids can be absorbed in the body in just 30 minutes. This means we can consume amino acids right away when our bodies need them. Amino acids are ideal nutrients for sports.
The main benefits of taking amino acids are improved endurance, faster recovery from fatigue, and reduced muscle soreness. Amino acids are also useful against metabolic syndrome.
The three essential amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine are called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Roughly 40% of the essential amino acids that make up muscle are BCAAs.
During hard or extended exercise our bodies run out of energy sources and begin to break down muscle proteins to use BCAAs for energy. This reduces our muscle and causes muscle damage.
However, supplementing with BCAAs at the right time, such as before or during exercise, gives the body energy to move and reduces muscle breakdown and damage. This helps you exercise longer.
BCAAs are thought to reduce running times in endurance activities such as marathons. BCAAs improve performance in team sports.
When we push ourselves hard during sports our bodies break down muscle proteins to use BCAAs for energy.
If we supplement with BCAAs before sports our bodies have extra BCAAs available to use for energy. That way, our bodies break down less of our muscle for energy.This reduces muscle fatigue during exercise, and muscle damage in the medium- and long-term.
Supplementing with BCAAs right after exercising or before bed helps damaged muscles recover faster and reduces damage like muscle soreness.
In addition to BCAAs the amino acids arginine and glutamine are also beneficial for sports.
Arginine seems to be useful during exercise because it stops the production of ammonia and promotes the secretion of growth hormone (GH). Ammonia is said to cause fatigue whereas GH improves blood circulation during exercise.
There are large amounts of amino acid glutamine in muscle. Like BCAAs it has been shown to promote the making of muscle proteins and reduce the breakdown of muscle proteins. Although there is usually enough glutamine in our bodies many of our organs need more glutamine during hard exercise so our glutamine gets used up. That's why it is important to supplement with glutamine when doing sports or exercise.
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There is growing concern over the metabolic syndrome.
When muscle mass shrinks our metabolism and energy consumption declines while if we build our muscle mass the basal metabolism will naturally increase and as a result we can expect a reduction in body fat.
Regular and appropriate exercise is essential to increasing our muscle mass and reducing body fat. By taking essential amino acids, including BCAA, at the right time and in combination with exercise, it is possible to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. This way, we can prolong our training.