With so many different types of fitness supplements to choose from, keeping the benefits of each one straight can be tough. A quick stroll through your local GNC or health foods store will likely overwhelm you with the variety of vitamins, powders, drinks, bars, and other products, all of which promise the exact results you want with few or no consequences. While much of the hype around these substances is overblown, there are a few kinds of fitness supplements that actually deliver; one example is amino acid supplements. However, as more and more people begin using amino acids to improve performance and boost gains, it’s only natural to wonder about the effects of these compounds. So, what are the benefits of amino acid supplements? To find out, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL® fill you in.
What’s an Amino Acid Supplement?
For those who are unfamiliar, amino acids serve a wide range of roles in our bodies. If you took a biology class in high school, your teacher probably referred to these chemicals as the building blocks of protein – which they are – but amino acids are also used in the synthesis of enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters, among other critical substances. While amino acids’ chief advantage to the fitness-oriented may be in their effects on muscle tissue, there are neurological and systemic benefits to be noted as well.
Most supplements do not contain all the different amino acids our bodies use, though this isn’t really an issue; more than half of those 20 amino acids can be produced within the body, making them less important for supplementation. However, there are nine amino acids – called the “essential” amino acids – that must be obtained through a person’s diet, and three of these in particular – the “branched-chain amino acids,” or BCAAs – serve as the backbone of most amino acid supplements. A few other compounds are common to these products as well, namely the amino acids glutamine and arginine.
The Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements
The upsides of amino acids are numerous, so it’s helpful to split them into two categories: the benefits of amino acids in general and the effects of specific amino acids on the body. For the sake of clarity, let’s tackle the first of these categories before moving onto the second.
Unique Advantages of Amino Acids
For most of us, the humble protein shake is the most familiar fitness supplement out there; these drinks are used by everyone from bodybuilders and professional athletes to casual weightlifters frequenting their neighborhood gym.
In a very real sense, amino acid supplements are a refined version of a protein shake, since they offer many of the same benefits in a much more efficient form. Take, for instance, the fact that whole proteins like those found in popular powders require a lengthy digestive process before they’re of any use to your body, or the simple truth that, when broken down, proteins leave you with a collection of – you guessed it – amino acids.
When you use an amino acid supplement instead of conventional protein, you’re supplying your body with free-form amino acids that are digested and absorbed up to three times faster than even the top protein-based products. For time-sensitive supplementation – like when you want a dose of mid-workout energy or need to kick-start the recovery process as soon as you’re done exercising – this rapid bioavailability makes amino acids the obvious choice.
The other key advantage amino acids have over whole proteins is that they tend to make for a much leaner formula. If you look at the ingredients label on most of the popular protein shake and powder brands, you’ll likely see a hefty amount of extra calories and sugars – two things you probably don’t need unless you’re trying to bulk up significantly. Amino acid supplements, on the other hand, include only those nutrients essential to physical performance, namely vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and a small amount of carbs to restore glycogen supplies. For those whose focus is on building lean muscle, amino acid pre-workout supplements are clearly the superior option.
The Benefits of BCAAs
As mentioned above, branched-chain amino acids tend to get most of the attention in health and fitness circles, and for good reason. The three BCAAs – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – each provide unique services aimed at improving fitness, among other things; find out more below.
- Perhaps the most famous BCAA, leucine triggers the creation of new muscle tissue, leading to greater gains and a faster recovery after each workout.
- Despite the similarities in names, isoleucine differs from leucine in that it promotes the flow of energy (glucose) to the muscles during exercise. Like leucine, however, it also helps promote post-workout recovery.
- Valine serves in more of a support role, guarding muscles against excessive damage while facilitating healthy cognition and regulating the immune system.
Combined, these amino acids provide many benefits that will be familiar to protein users, but now those benefits come in a faster, leaner package. See the difference for yourself by trying an amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® today.
Fast-Acting, Effective Amino Acid Supplements Available from aminoVITAL®
If you’ve heard about the benefits of supplementing with amino acids and want to check them out, aminoVITAL® is a great place to start. All of our supplements are made with the highest-quality amino acids provided by Ajinomoto, a global leader in the industry specializing in these essential compounds. To learn more about amino acid supplements and how they can help you surpass your health and fitness goals, visit aminoVITAL® online or call us at (888) 264-6673.