The Benefits Of An Amino Acid Supplement
You may have noticed more products on the market today than ever before that are amino acid supplements. What are amino acid supplement benefits? Some of them include “BCAAs.” Do you know what that stands for or why it is important to your health? What exactly are all these products and how do they work? In this article, we are going to explore what amino acids and branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are and why your body needs them. Many amino acid supplements are made up of a blend of ingredients to maximize their results, so we will look at this in detail. We will then make recommendations for and address amino acid supplement benefits.
amino acids background
There are 20 amino acids in your body. They are organic compounds that are composed of nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen and include a side chain group that varies depending on the amino acid. The thousands of different proteins, that we rely on to function, are built from these building blocks within the body. Amino acids also aid in synthesis (also referred to as building) of hormones and neurotransmitters.
They are referred to as essential amino acids because the only way for your body to obtain them is to consume them in your diet. There are nine amino acids that cannot be made by your body. They are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine. Animal proteins like eggs, meat, and poultry are the best sources of these essential amino acids. The body breaks down protein and uses it to assist in different processes throughout the body. For example, amino acids help regulate immune function and build muscle. These are just two of the very crucial things that amino acids do in your body.
What do amino acids do?
Amino acids are necessary for nutrient absorption, tissue repair and protein synthesis. Many of them also help with mood, sleep, athletic performance, prevent muscle loss and increase weight loss.
Of the nine amino acids, the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. How are they different from other amino acids? The “branched-chain” title comes from the chemical structure of these amino acids. Let’s look closer at what these three branched-chain amino acids do in your body:
- Leucine is a critical BCAA for protein synthesis and muscle repair. It also stimulates wound healing, produces growth hormones and helps regular blood sugar levels.
- Isoleucine is heavily concentrated in muscle tissue and is involved in muscle metabolism. It also helps with energy regulation, hemoglobin production and immune function.
- Valine is known to help with energy product and stimulate muscle growth and regeneration.
There are a few main proven branch-chain amino acid benefits which include:
1. Reduce exercise fatigue – anyone that partakes in exercise is likely to experience fatigue. This is mostly dependent on the duration and intensity of exercise and your nutrition and fitness level. What happens that makes you experience fatigue? This is quite a process! It starts with your muscles using up the BCAAs which causes the levels of them in your blood to decrease. When this occurs, the level of tryptophan in your brain increases. Serotonin is made with the tryptophan and this brain chemical is known to cause fatigue during physical activity. Studies show that BCAAs aided in improving mental focus for participants. This is thought to be a result of BCAA fatigue-reducing effects.
2. Decrease muscle soreness – have you ever heard of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)? When you exercise vigorously or start a new regimen, it is not unlikely to have intense muscle soreness the following day or two. Muscle soreness is decreased by BCAAs, which can shorten or reduce the severity of DOMS. A study showed decreased DOMS and muscle fatigue in a group of individuals that took BCAA supplements before a squat exercise. Research also showed that amino acid supplements, specifically BCAAs, had better results than resting the body when it came to reducing soreness and muscle recovery after intense physical activity.
3. Increase muscle growth – as mentioned, leucine is a key BCAA for muscle growth. Research showed an increase of 22% in muscle growth for people who consumed 5.6 grams of BCAAs after physical activity compared to those that took a placebo drink. Your body will have the best results with the presence of all amino acids. Another study that took place over 10 days, with 22 older adults that were all on bedrest, showed that they maintained muscle protein synthesis while taking 15 grams of mixed essential amino acids. The placebo group had a decrease in muscle protein synthesis in the amount of 30 percent.
4. Prevent muscle wasting – proteins in the muscles are constantly broken down and rebuilt. Muscle wasting occurs when there is not enough protein synthesis, or rebuilding, occurring. This can happen when the body experiences particular infections, cancer, aging, and periods of fasting. It is important to replace amino acids when experiencing this as your body will need to make more proteins. There is a lot of research that supports the use of BCAA supplementing to slow down the muscle protein breakdown.
amino acid supplement benefits and the keto diet
Amino acids are so important to many body processes, it is crucial to supplement your diet to ensure you do not become deficient. Deficiencies can cause problems with many areas in your body including the digestive, nervous and reproductive systems. If you are embarking upon a ketogenic diet, you might be wondering how amino acids play into your diet. Remember that everyone needs amino acids, even those on a keto diet.
In a ketogenic diet, you will decrease the amount of carbohydrates consumed. When you do this, your body will begin to burn fat for fuel. The basis of the keto diet is to devise an eating plan that helps your body reach ketosis. This is a metabolic process where your body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. On the keto diet, you will consume little carbohydrates, moderate protein and focus on healthy fats. If you are not restricting your carb intake and eating a high amount of fats, your body will still use the carbs as energy. This happens because carbohydrates are the easiest for your body to convert and use. Your goal will be for healthy fats to constitute approximately 60-80 percent of your daily calories. As mentioned, ketosis is where your body becomes adapted to using fat for fuel.
You will want to be careful that the macronutrient content of your amino acid supplement stays within the appropriate and/or acceptable range. It is suggested to keep a close eye on the carbohydrate count to stay within your recommended grams for your plan. You will want to account for fat, carbohydrates, and protein contained in amino acid supplements.
amino acid supplement benefits
Now that we know some of the benefits of amino acids let’s look at amino acid supplements. There are many ways to incorporate adding amino acids to your diet. There are capsules, powders, whey protein powders, and beverages that can all provide amino acids. One example is spirulina (blue green algae) powder, which contains all the essential amino acids that the human body requires. Some of these products have specifically added BCAAs. Many are marketed toward athletic performance. As we learned above, much of our muscle growth and recovery is directly connected to amino acids. Individuals that participate in endurance sports or any strenuous activity often look to these supplements to aid their body in recovery.
How do you find the best amino acid supplement? As with all your dietary supplements, it is imperative to watch for artificial or processed ingredients. These ingredients can cause many problems and do your body no favors. Some supplements can be filled with sugar and contain an excessive amount of carbohydrates. You should always be aware of the amount of sugar in your diet. The daily intake suggested by The American Heart Association (AHA) is 6 teaspoons (equivalent to 25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (equivalent to 38 grams) for men. There are many amino acid supplements on the market that are high in sugar and carbohydrate content. If you are partaking in a ketogenic diet, you will want to be extra mindful of this.
Top Notch Hydrate
Top Notch Nutrition set out to amplify amino acid supplement benefits (LINK). There are so many options on the market today. Top Notch Nutrition wanted to be different and make an all-inclusive amino acid supplement that would be beneficial to your whole body. There are no artificial ingredients in the Top Notch Hydrate or any of their products. It is naturally flavored and naturally sweetened with 0 grams of sugar and 0 grams of carbohydrates. This product should top the list when looking for amino acid supplement benefits.
Top Notch Hydrate ingredients:
- Coconut Water Powder – coconut water is a good source of many nutrients including: fiber, protein, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and calcium. Studies show that it may also contain antioxidant properties, have benefits against diabetes, prevent kidney stones, improve heart health, and reduce blood pressure.
- L-Glutamine – glutamine is an amino acid that has many imperative functions in the body. Overall, there are 20 amino acids in your body. The thousands of various proteins are built from these building blocks within the body. In supplements and foods, you will see this listed at L-glutamine in the ingredients. L-glutamine can be made by your body and it is thought of as one of the most plentiful amino acids in your blood and other bodily fluids. It plays a big role in your immune health. If there is an insufficient amount of glutamine available, your immune system can be jeopardized. It is also important to your digestive system. Glutamine aids in facilitating a barrier between your body and the inside of your intestines. It is also responsible for assisting in maintenance and normal growth of the cells within your intestine.
- Himalayan Pink Salt – it is suggested to use this salt as often as possible when it comes to salt. It is mined in Pakistan and is naturally pink in color. In the Khewra Salt Mine, the salt is harvested by hand and therefore it can contain trace elements and minerals not found in regular table salt.
- Vitamin C – this vitamin cannot be produced in the body and therefore needs to be consumed in your diet whether it is through your food or a dietary supplement. It is an incredibly strong antioxidant and lowers the risk of heart disease. It also helps your body absorb iron which is an essential mineral responsible for making red blood cells and moving oxygen around the body. It is most commonly known for the immune system boost that occurs when it improves white blood cell function.
- BCAA’s – we have discussed at length amino acids and their importance. Specifically, branch-chain amino acid benefits include increased muscle growth, reduced fatigue from exercise, decreased muscle soreness, prevent muscle wasting and aid those that have liver disease.
- Electrolytes – including Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, and Sodium. Your body requires them to absorb nutrients. These are necessary for everyone, not just performance athletes.
You can see that Top Notch Nutrition carefully planned this product to include essential ingredients for the best amino acid supplement benefits. Not only that, but they created a supplement that fits into a ketogenic lifestyle by keeping it no sugar and no carb.
We have reviewed the importance of amino acids in your body and the numerous benefits they provide. As with all supplements, we recommend that if you have any major health concerns, you should talk to your doctor to find the best fit for you. When choosing an amino acid supplement, remember to read nutrition and ingredient labels to ensure you are choosing a product that does not contain added sugars and artificial flavors. If you are looking for the best amino acid supplement, buy Top Notch Nutrition’s Hydrate. It is a great choice for anyone looking for an amino acid supplement. It tops the list for amino acid supplement benefits especially if you are following a ketogenic diet.