Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue, and just as a house is made of bricks every type of protein similarly is made of amino acids. Different amino acids perform various tasks within the body, the major ones being muscle repair, muscle growth, oxygen transportation and enzyme production. Amino acids may also affect hormonal balance and may assist in normalising moods, minimising aggression and aiding sleep.
Twenty amino acids contribute to the body’s protein biosynthesis process and nine of these are referred to as the essential amino acids. The other eleven are still needed; however, the body is able to produce these using the 9 essential amino acids, which must be consumed as part of the diet. The nine essentials can be found in protein rich foods such as meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, rice, legumes, peas, and grains. The essential amino acids are Phenylalanine, Valine, Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Methionine, Leucine, Lysine, Histidine and Threonine and they all perform various metabolic functions. As the body demands higher levels of amino acids when it is put under physical stress, it is often hard for athletes and bodybuilders to consume enough in their daily diets. This is why many choose to make use of amino acid blends and supplements. Not only do supplements ensure that the body meets its amino acid quota, but they also assist in building, repairing and strengthening muscles. Bodybuilders can especially benefit from supplementing Amino Acids because they promote the repair, growth, and development of muscle tissue. In fact, 6-20g of essential amino acids is recommended1 to promote maximal muscle protein synthesis with the other amino acids being supplemented to provide additional health benefits.
Amino Acid Supplements are commonly presented & sold as Complementary Medicines or Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. Amino Acids are not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read the label prior to use.
1. Kreider RB, Wilborn CD, Taylor L, Campbell B, Almada AL, Collins R, Cooke M, Earnest CP, Greenwood M, Kalman DS, Kerksick CM, Kleiner SM, Leutholtz B, Lopez H, Lowery LM, Mendel R, Smith A, Spano M, Wildman R, Willoughby DS, Ziegenfuss TN, Antonio J. ‘ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations.’ J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Feb 2;7:7.