Protein powder arguably stands alone at the top of the fitness supplement world. It has become such a ubiquitous product that it has outgrown the aisles of local health food stores or supplement suppliers and can now be found in drug stores and supermarkets around the country. And yet, in spite of this popularity, protein may not be the best, most effective product out there for the health- and fitness-minded among us. Recent years have seen the rise of amino acid supplements, and especially BCAAs, as an alternative to traditional whole protein for a number of reasons, many of which will be discussed below. So, can a person take BCAAs instead of protein to meet their body’s needs? Read on to find out.
Protein Powder vs. Amino Acid Supplements
More scholarly readers may know about the link between protein and amino acids, but for those of us who do not, note that proteins are basically just a bunch of amino acids chained together; in other words, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. So, does that mean that the two are interchangeable? The answer is, it depends.
When comparing the effectiveness of protein supplements and amino acid mixtures, it is important to know the differences between the two products. When consumed, proteins – whether they are part of a protein shake or a hamburger patty – must be broken down into amino acids before they can be used. This takes some time and effort on the part of the digestive system, leading to a delay in the effectiveness of protein when taken as a supplement. However, because proteins contain many amino acids, they often provide a wider variety of nutrients than an amino acid supplement alone.
In essence, amino acid-based products are the inverse of protein powders; they are put to use by the body almost immediately, thanks to the fact that they are already in their basic form, but they contain only those amino acids that the manufacturer specifically adds to the formula. This makes amino acids a lean, efficient supplement from a fitness standpoint, especially when you consider that much of the body’s amino acid requirements can be met through diet. To put it another way, amino acid supplements are very exact, as they tend to only supplement those specific amino acids that promote physical performance.
Can you take amino acids, such as BCAAs, instead of proteins? If you are strictly looking for a dietary source of amino acids, whole proteins are probably superior because they address many of your body’s requirements in a single product. However, amino acids seem like a better option for those pre- and post-workout periods when your focus is on fast energy, consistent performance, and shorter recovery times.
The Benefits of BCAAs
Now that we’ve established that amino acids can be even more effective than traditional protein supplements, let’s look at one type of amino acid in particular: the branched-chain amino acid, or BCAA. There are three of these uniquely shaped molecules among the 20 or so amino acids our bodies use, each of which helps with athletic performance in a different way:
- Leucine is the most powerful of the three and the most straightforward. Basically, leucine help jump-start the process of making muscle tissue, allowing your muscles to grow bigger and stronger in a shorter amount of time.
- Valine is a jack-of-all-trades amino acid; not only does it promote healthy muscles, but it also regulates the immune system, improves cognitive functions, and helps fight stress and anxiety. Valine also helps ensure that your muscles have plenty of glucose to fuel them during periods of intense activity.
- Isoleucine is an amino acid geared toward endurance. When consumed, it helps you feel energized and reduces your recovery time so you don’t get as worn out and can exercise again that much sooner.
On their own, each BCAA can raise the level of your workouts; together, you will see substantial improvements to every facet of your routine, from strength and speed to endurance and recovery, and you can do it without stimulants, dairy, or added sugars.
If you have tried protein shakes or powders in the past and crave a lighter, leaner alternative, try a product from aminoVITAL today. Not only are our formulas low in calories, but they are also vegan. We make all of our amino acids using a state-of-the-art vegetable fermentation process that turns out pharmaceutical-grade amino acids used by some of the top athletes in the world. Most of our mixtures can simply be added to water and shaken; our pre-workout formula, Action, can even be poured directly onto the tongue for extraordinarily fast results. Check out the aminoVITAL website today.
Replace Your Protein Shake with an Amino Acid Supplement
Though they may not provide as much benefit from a dietary standpoint, amino acids are the clear winner among supplements that support athletic performance. aminoVITAL products reject the added sugars and extra calories common among protein shakes and instead provide only what your muscles need: the energy to move quickly and the resources to recover just as fast. Learn more about BCAAs and how they can help you reach your health and fitness goals by visiting aminoVITAL online or by calling (888) 264-6673.