Using a new fitness supplement can be a tricky thing, considering the number of products that carry risks or offer questionable benefits. For instance, in recent years, research has emerged that suggests a diet high in protein can be potentially harmful to the kidneys, though no study has yet offered conclusive – or even particularly compelling – proof of this. Still, the information in question led many people to reexamine whether the supplements they take are truly good for them and whether there might be some hidden danger to using supplements in general. As one of the newer fitness supplements on the market, amino acids face many of these same concerns, leading some to ask: Do amino acid supplements affect or damage the kidneys? To learn the answer, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
How Amino Acids Affect Kidney Function
Significant time and effort have been dedicated to answering the question of whether protein might pose a danger to kidney function, especially in large amounts. This concern stems from the fact that the kidneys serve to filter waste out of the bloodstream, including excessive amounts of nutrients like protein. Some have alleged that the kidneys have to work overtime to clear protein and its metabolites after supplementation, and this extra effort can supposedly damage the kidneys over the weeks and months.
However, there is little to no evidence that this happens in healthy individuals. In most people, the kidneys work so hard already that the added effort of filtering some extra protein amounts to little more than a drop in the proverbial bucket. This applies to amino acids, as well; in fact, some research1 has even shown that an amino acid supplement may help patients stop the progression of renal failure, so these compounds would seem to pose little danger.
That said, people who have some form of kidney disease may not be able to handle significant amounts of protein, as their organs are likely under enough strain without the added filtering responsibilities. If you have a history of kidney problems, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a regimen of amino acids, whole protein, or any other supplement.
Aside from those with kidney disease, the vast majority of us can probably take just about all the amino acids we want, with one or two very specific exceptions. Some sources advise pregnant women against using BCAA supplements, as they have been linked to a greater risk of gestational diabetes. Also, those with a rare condition called maple syrup urine disease – a disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to process BCAAs – should steer clear of amino acid supplements, as they can exacerbate the symptoms of this ailment.
The Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements
Now that we’ve covered the (very remote) risks of using amino acids, let’s talk about their benefits. Primarily, these products are used as fitness supplements rather than nutritional aids, as they almost exclusively contain ingredients meant to improve athletic performance and promote muscle recovery. Most amino acid supplements focus on supplying a specific classification of amino acid called a “branched-chain amino acid,” or BCAA, though others – such as glutamine and arginine – offer similarly advantageous effects.
Faster Than Protein Powders
If you’ve never used an amino acid supplement, you may not know that they essentially serve as a leaner, more efficient form of protein supplement. After all, when you drink a protein shake, you’re supplying your body with whole proteins whose primary asset is the collection of amino acids they contain; to access and use these compounds, however, your body must first break the bonds between them by digesting the protein, a process that takes considerable time.
Taking an amino acid supplement, on the other hand, lets you circumvent that particular delay. Rather than consuming these nutrients in the form of a protein-rich drink or powder, downing a mix of free-form amino acids lets your system digest and absorb these compounds as much as three times faster than, say, the amino acids in whey protein, largely because they don’t have to be broken down in the stomach.
Leaner Than Protein Shakes
These supplements are more than just fast-acting, though; they also tend to be much healthier than their protein-based counterparts. A glance at the nutrition facts on many popular protein shakes and powders will reveal an overabundance of calories and sugars that only serve to undermine users’ health and fitness goals.
Instead, amino acid supplements like those from aminoVITAL® provide only the nutrients essential for producing results; this includes the three BCAAs – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – along with glutamine and arginine – which improve recovery speeds and promote blood flow, respectively – and electrolytes to balance hydration. A few of our products, such as our Rapid Recovery drink mix, include a small number of carbs as well, which helps to replenish glycogen stores and restore energy levels after exercise.
Safe, High-Quality Amino Acid Supplements Available from aminoVITAL®
If you happen to be a fitness-minded individual who appreciates the benefits pre- and post-workout supplements can bring, give amino acids a shot. Each amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® contains top-quality compounds provided by Ajinomoto, a global leader in amino acid production and development. These products act faster than conventional protein, and they’re better for you, too. Try an amino acid supplement for yourself and see results almost immediately, with minimal calories and maximum effectiveness. To learn more about these safe but powerful products, visit the aminoVITAL® website or call us today at (888) 264-6673.