The goals of the fitness-minded run the spectrum from those looking to shed unwanted pounds to those who want to bulk up, and determining the best way to achieve either can be tough. Because our genetic idiosyncrasies cause some of us to gain weight all too easily while others need little effort to maintain their slim frames, it’s important to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. This applies not only to the foods you eat and the exercise routine you use, but also to the supplements you choose to add to your regimen. Everyone is familiar with the effects of protein shakes and powders by now, but a less well-known (and arguably superior) option is amino acid supplements. Do amino acids make you gain weight? What advantages do they offer? For the answers to these and other questions, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
What Are the Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements?
Since so many are still unfamiliar with these products, let’s start with the basics. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein (a fact you may remember from an old biology class), which makes them essential to our health and well-being. The proteins synthesized from amino acids serve a wide variety of roles in the body, working as neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones, and the structural support for cells of every type.
When used as a fitness supplement, amino acids supply compounds the body can’t produce on its own; these are the “essential” amino acids, and they make up nine of the 20 amino acids our bodies need to function. Within these nine is a group of three called the “branched-chain” amino acids (BCAAs), a name that comes from their unique shape. These are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
If you think you’ve heard of leucine before, you might have. This amino acid has found a following in researchers and fitness buffs alike, thanks largely to its primary role in the body: It tells your system to start producing new muscle cells, a necessary step to build strength and muscle mass. Most recommendations suggest using BCAA supplements with a greater proportion of leucine, which is why this compound figures prominently in all of our products.
The names may be similar, but isoleucine and leucine serve very different purposes. Whereas leucine is used to build strength, isoleucine focuses more on endurance; this amino acid promotes the flow of energy (in the form of glucose) to the muscles during exercise, helping you push harder than before. It’s also been shown to improve recovery times, so you’ll be ready for your next trip to the gym quickly and with less discomfort.
The last BCAA wears many hats: It helps to regulate the immune system and supports cognitive functions, but it also works as a fitness supplement because of the ways in which it facilitates muscle growth and repair. Perhaps valine’s biggest contribution to fitness supplements is as protection for muscles; this amino acid helps protect muscle tissue from excessive damage during exercise, which means a quicker recovery and the preservation of existing muscle mass.
One final note on the virtues of BCAAs: They take effect much more quickly than conventional protein supplements. When you drink a protein shake, the whole proteins it contains must be broken up into their constituent amino acids before those compounds can be used; this takes time. By comparison, the free-form amino acids found in BCAA supplements require very little digestion because they’re not joined by bonds, so they can be absorbed as much as three times faster than proteins.
Do Amino Acid Supplements Cause Weight Gain?
For many people, choosing the right fitness supplement means first determining what effects a given product might have on their weight. Protein shakes, for instance, often come with a sizeable portion of extra calories and sugars that might cause weight gain over time. While amino acid supplements supply many of the same compounds found in protein-based products, they do so in a much more efficient way.
Amino acid supplements like those from aminoVITAL® are made with only those ingredients needed to support muscle function, growth, and repair: vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, amino acids, and (in the case of our Rapid Recovery mix) a small amount of carbs. This means that they come with far fewer calories – our Action intra-workout formula has only 15 calories, for example – and virtually no sugar.
Because of this focus on lean formulas, aminoVITAL® amino acid supplements don’t cause weight gain the way heavy protein shakes might, with one possible exception. BCAA supplements are designed to improve gains from exercise by stimulation muscle growth and repair. As our products are used, you may begin to see the number on the scale creep up; this is because you’re increasing muscle mass, which in turn raises your body weight as a whole. In this sense, you could say that amino acid supplements do cause a small degree of weight gain, but this extra weight should be almost entirely muscle.
Amino Acid Supplements for Building Lean Muscle
Choosing the right fitness supplement can be tricky, given the sheer volume of products available online and in stores. When weighing your options, remember that amino acid supplements offer many of the advantages of traditional protein supplements in a faster, leaner form. If building lean muscle is your goal, don’t rely on sugary shakes or high-calorie powders; try an amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® today. To learn more, visit us online or call (888) 264-6673 today.