Amino Acids Information - Essential For Building
has been an important word around the fitness and athletic world.
I strongly believe that many who use the word protein do not understand
that the structural makeup of proteins are amino acids. To put it
in the simplest way possible, when we speak about protein and its
necessity for the training individual, we are basically talking
about amino acids. The core reason that both words mean one in the
same, at least in this circumstance, is because proteins are made
up of chains of amino acids. Amino acids have a few important roles
in our bodies. They can be used as structural components to create
new protein molecules. They can also be used in various metabolic
For Athletes, The Importance of Amino Acids and Protein
are as Follows:
- Recovery and muscular growth.
- BCAA's (branched-chain amino acids) are a necessity in order
to spare muscles from breakdown during exercise.
- Individual amino acid intake may contribute to targeted effects,
such as increased
- Collagen, which is a connective tissue, and protein, makes up
a third of the bodies
protein. This makes it one of the most important proteins in the
Also, note that recent research has led scientists, as well as
sport nutrition companies to push the development of proteins jam
packed with amino acids, especially in regards to the athlete. Individual
amino acids can make up various amino combinations. Some of these
combinations can be used for blood ammonia detoxification, growth
hormone increase, added mental alertness, and mental relaxation.
This list alone should send you running to your nearest supplement
store, tearing open the first jug of amino acids you see and start
shoveling it in.
What are Amino Acids Made of?
Proteins are large molecules called polypeptides. These proteins
are made up of repeating units of amino acids. These amino acids
link up together using a peptide bond and forms varieties of protein.
A list of 22 amino acids are considered to be important biologically,
although many more exist within our bodies and as supplements. Proteins
are essential to the diet and mandatory for muscle growth.
So, What Kind of Amino Acids Should I Take?
the human body, there are 20 amino acids. These amino acids are
broken down into two types: essential and non-essential. There are
nine essential amino acids. These amino acids are necessary to maintain
health and cannot be produced by the body. These nine amino acids
include BCAA's (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), histidine, lysine,
methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophan. Because these
amino acids cannot be synthesized by the body, it is essential that
your diet provides these aminos. Complete proteins include all of
the essential amino acids, and are higher quality proteins. Incomplete
proteins are lacking one or more of these essential amino acids,
and are considered low grade proteins.
The other nonessential amino acids are just as important, but our
bodies are capable of producing them at a rate that equals our demand.
This factor makes supplementation not as crucial, so long as nitrogen
is readily available.
More crucial than looking at the profile of certain amino acid,
are the basic principles used to measure a protein's bio-availabilty.
A variety of processes are used to measure the digestibility, amino
acid profile, absorption, and the impact on muscle growth. Although
no single study gives the whole picture of the effectiveness of
a protein, the following method can be a way to asses protein quality.
Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER)
The information in the chart below is based upon the evaluation
of the growth of animals consuming a designated amount of dietary
protein from one single source. As the PER increases, the quality
of the protein does as well. The protein efficiency ratio is the
method to determine the quality of protein. The PER refers to the
amount of weight gained against the amount of protein ingested.
For example, if casein has a PER of 2.86, then 2.86 of body weight
was gained per 1 gram of casein eaten.
Below, I have included a list of proteins and their PER (protein
efficiency ratio). Remember, adequate protein intake will translate
to adequate amino acid intake. There are some individuals that may
call for added amino acid supplementation, but making sure you feed
yourself good sources of protein can keep your supplement bill down
Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER)
Below you will find a list of amino acids (this is not a complete,
this is just a scratch on the surface). The list is in order of
what I like taking. The lower down the list, the less likely it
is to be in my cabinet. Supplement at your own discretion. Study
and research the subject. Understand the pros and cons and if it
is worth it to you monetarily and physically:
- BCAA (L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Valine)
As well as being a part of proteins, amino acids have specific
metabolic functions. For example, arginine can stimulate the release
of growth hormone. It should be noted that when taking amino acid
formulations, it is best to take them on an empty stomach.
There are risks in not consuming enough amino acids (or proteins)
in your diet. This is especially true for the intense trainer or
athlete. The lack of amino acids or protein can cause you to start
breaking down your body's own protein (muscles, bones and vital
organs) in order to provide your system with the adequate amount
of amino acids needed. Further more, inadequate protein intake has
been linked with depressed immune function and fatigue. Low protein
intake can also make you susceptible to greater injury risks during
exercise, and cause you to take longer to heal. It also has been
learned that low protein intake lowers the absorption of important
minerals like calcium, zinc and iron.
All of that being said, it does not mean to go crazy with your
protein so you have the amino acids (building blocks) swimming through
your system. Large amount of protein have adverse effects as well.
Unlike carbs or fat, protein produces nitrogen waste products (ammonia,
urea and so on) when it is used for energy. These waste products
must run through and be excreted by the kidneys. When too much of
this waste builds up, the kidneys become overworked and could start
Another thing you may want to note, is that too much protein can
cause dehydration. This is because due to the fact that extra water
is needed to excrete the extra urea.
These are not the only problems that can arise from excess protein.
If your curiosity has got the best of you, or you feel you may be
ingesting too much protein, I would strongly recommend you take
the time to learn about what the many side effects may be. So as
you see, not enough bad, too much bad. What does that mean? MODERATION!
CAUTION: Amino acids have been used for
years by medical professionals and taken by many exercise enthusiasts
and athletes. However, this article is not intended to prescribe
or recommend the use of any supplement mentioned.