A long work out can take its toll on the body. But what about the brain? Long and rigorous workouts require mental focus as well as physical stamina. Amino acids are known for their ability to boost physical performance during workouts. Still, many weightlifters, bodybuilders, and people dedicated to their exercise regimen wonder: are amino acids good for the brain, too? To learn more about what amino acids can do for your brain, in addition to your body, continue reading to learn what the experts from BCAA supplement company aminoVITAL® have to say.
The Amino Acids That Affect the Brain
Our bodies use 20 different amino acids, but only a handful of them can have access to the brain through the blood-brain barrier (also known as the BBB), which is the filter that separates the brain from the circulatory system. Two types of amino acids enter the brain: one type is called aromatic amino acids (AAAs), and the other type is known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The AAAs that go to the brain include tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine, while the BCAAs that go to the brain are called leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
AAAs are important because they help maintain proper brain chemistry—they form the foundations that comprise the neurotransmitters that allow human beings to form thoughts. Tryptophan, one of the AAAs that enter the brain, turns into serotonin when it crosses the blood-brain barrier, affecting a person's mood, ability to concentrate, appetite, and motivation levels. Tyrosine and phenylalanine are used to create many important brain chemicals, including dopamine (responsible for pleasure and memory, among other things) and adrenaline (encourages the body to take action at important moments). BCAAs can also affect moods and energy levels when they cross the blood-brain barrier.
While both AAAs and BCAAs are important for brain function, there isn’t enough space for all of them in the brain at one time. There is limited space for amino acids to cross the brain-blood barrier, so BCAAs and AAAs compete for space in the brain. If one type of amino acid takes up space, it reduces the amount of space for the other types of amino acids, which means that important neurotransmitters may not work as efficiently as they’re supposed to. It’s preferable to have BCAAs in your brain instead of AAAs. While your body produces BCAAs naturally, you can boost them through the use of BCAA supplements such as those provided by aminoVITAL.
How Amino Acid Supplements Can Help with Focus and Concentration
When you work out, your muscles pull BCAAs from the bloodstream, which are used to trigger the production of new muscle tissue, limit muscle soreness, protect muscles from being damaged, and encourage the brain to focus and concentrate on what it’s doing.
As more BCAAs are pulled into the bloodstream, they reduce the amount of space for AAAs to cross over the blood-brain barrier, which is good because some AAAs—namely tryptophan—can make you feel tired and unmotivated. Essentially, exercise encourages focus and concentration by sending amino acids to the brain that block out the amino acids that can make us feel tired and unmotivated. However, BCAAs are usually sent to the muscles as opposed to the brain after a workout. For this reason, many people begin to lose the ability to concentrate and focus as their workout goes on. To boost the amount of BCAAs your body can use so that both your body and your brain can benefit, you can take an amino acid supplement such as aminoVITAL for post-workout support.
Amino acids are preferable to other types of supplements—such as protein—because your body can put them to use right away. Different types of supplements have to be digested before your body can reap their benefits, but amino acids are effective almost immediately. You can skip over the digestion process entirely by using amino acids so you can get back to getting the most from your workouts as quickly as possible.
The amino acids in aminoVITAL products come available in a ready-to-use form so you can consume them as soon as you need them. When you take our amino acid supplements, the amino acid compounds enter your bloodstream. They can immediately get to work, limiting the amount of tryptophan and other AAAs that can cross the blood-brain barrier and keeping you alert and focused throughout your workout. Amino acids can boost brain function, but they can also be used to shorten the length of recovery after a workout, protect muscles from excessive damage, and boost gains in muscle mass.
Of the two types of amino acids, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are more beneficial for workouts. Amino acid supplements from aminoVITAL contain important BCAAs that boost workout performance and brain function: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Leucine is important because it signals your body to create more muscle tissue, which is important for increasing strength and improving muscle gains. Isoleucine is useful because it facilitates the flow of energy in the form of glucose to muscles, which can boost the post-workout recovery process. And valine is important because it protects muscle tissue from being damaged during exercise, preserving muscle mass, and reducing fatigue and soreness.