Message boards, fitness blogs, and health and wellness articles always seem to be touting the next big thing in terms of supplements. Of course, just because you read something on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true, and the effectiveness of these products can vary greatly; that’s because anecdotes and promises aren’t the same as documented evidence. Amino acid supplements are a rare example of a popular product that also has the backing of science, and their effectiveness at boosting performance has been studied and quantified. Still, a reasonable (and skeptical) person may ask, “Are amino acids good for muscle growth?” To find out the answer – and the evidence behind it – keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
What’s in Amino Acid Supplements that Helps with Muscle Growth?
For decades, protein has reigned as the most ubiquitous fitness supplement on the market. The reasons for that are simple: protein sources are readily available in forms like whey and soy, and protein has proven quite effective at helping your body build muscle tissue. To accomplish this, your body breaks down the protein you consume – whether from a protein shake or from the foods you eat – into its constituent parts: amino acids. In essence, the whole reason why people drink protein shakes is to get at the amino acids those proteins contain.
It’s no surprise, then, that amino acid supplements are superior to traditional protein powders and shakes; taking free-form amino acids basically cuts out the middle man and gives you a simplified form of a familiar fitness staple. Most amino acid supplements focus on providing only the nutrients that matter; while the exact list of ingredients can vary slightly to fit different fitness goals, the backbone of any amino acid-based product is a specific set of three amino acids called “branched-chain amino acids,” or BCAAs.
Amino Acids and Muscle Growth
There are three specific amino acids that are classified as BCAAs, and each plays an important role in improving both short-term and long-term athletic performance. These three compounds – leucine, valine, and isoleucine – work in tandem, combining their specialized functions to support recovery, improve endurance, and – of course – spur the creation of new muscle tissue. Leucine, especially, deserves much of the credit; numerous studies1 have shown that leucine is the amino acid responsible for triggering the production of new muscle tissue, making it essential for anyone looking to get bigger and stronger.
The other two BCAAs should not be discounted, however. Both isoleucine and valine serve important roles during and after physical activity: Isoleucine2 helps to improve the muscle repair process after exercise and promotes the use of glucose – energy – during periods of strenuous activity. Valine serves a less direct role, instead supporting muscle growth in a variety of ways, including by reducing the breakdown of muscle tissue, improving the flow of glucose to the muscles that need it, helping to ensure proper cognitive functions in the brain, and regulating the immune system. Taken together, the three BCAAs help those who are physically active to improve their strength and endurance, hasten their recovery after exercise, and maintain energy levels when working out.
Other Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements
As mentioned earlier in this piece, amino acid supplements offer many of the same benefits as protein powders and shakes, but in a much more efficient form. Many types of popular protein supplements contain significant amounts of calories, sugars, and other unnecessary components that could easily undermine a person’s health and fitness goals.
BCAA supplements, on the other hand, are made to be as light and lean as possible. The amino acid pre-workout drink mix and other products from aminoVITAL®, for instance, contain only a few dozen calories and almost no sugar, though they have significant amounts of our amino acid blend. Each product is specialized to fit a particular need; our Rapid Recovery mix is 60 calories and includes carbs and electrolytes to replenish the body’s stores after exercise, while our Action product has only 15 calories and contains almost no carbs at all but has a greater proportion of key vitamins. The targeted nature of each formula means that we cut out any excessive or unhealthy additives and provide only the things your body truly needs after exercise.
Another notable advantage that amino acids have over whole proteins is that proteins must be broken down through digestion before they can be used, while amino acids do not. This means that free-form amino acids like those in aminoVITAL® products can be absorbed by the body and put to use almost immediately, making them a fast-acting alternative to common protein-based supplements.
Try a BCAA Supplement for Muscle Growth from aminoVITAL® Today
If you’ve found yourself looking for a better fitness supplement or just want to try something new, look no further than the BCAA-based products available from aminoVITAL®. Each of our formulas uses pharmaceutical-grade vegan amino acids created by Ajinomoto, a global leader in amino acid research and production, to maintain the highest standards of quality and purity in every product. To learn more about amino acid supplements – including how they can help you improve your overall performance at the gym, on the field, or around the track – visit the aminoVITAL® website or call (888) 264-6673 today.