In recent years, protein supplements have grown to become one of the most ubiquitous fitness and nutrition products on the market. People take protein for a wide variety of reasons, whether to improve their gains at the gym or to add some much-needed whole proteins to a diet lacking in these key macronutrients. Amino acid supplements and protein powders have much in common, but the two products differ in some important ways; if you take one or the other and are thinking about making a switch, there are a few things you should know. To find out whether you need amino acids if you take protein, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain the differences between these two types of supplements.
Protein Powders vs. Amino Acid Supplements
Protein supplements have a strong following among the fitness-minded, and there’s plenty of reason for it. Drinking a protein shake during or after a workout has been shown to help your muscles repair and grow, and there are some nutritional benefits, too. Protein shakes and powders can be a valuable resource for those with a serious illness or strict dietary limitations, and the fact that protein is so easy to find makes it attractive as well.
Amino acids, on the other hand, are a relatively new type of supplement that is still gaining popularity among bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes of every stripe. Like whole proteins, amino acids offer much greater returns for those who work out or exercise regularly, but they share a few distinctions that make them superior when it comes to enhancing athletic performance. A few of the benefits that set amino acids apart from traditional protein supplements include:
- Amino acid supplements require very little digestion, so your body can absorb the nutrients it needs almost immediately. By comparison, whole proteins must first be broken down through digestion before the amino acids they contain can be used.
- Amino acid-based formulas make for a more spartan experience; they contain far fewer calories, carbs, and sugars than your average protein powder, providing only the ingredients essential to performance. For this reason, amino acids are a better choice for those who want to build lean muscle without adding excessive calories to their diet.
- Because amino acids require very little digestion, they are a much more efficient form of supplementation. When you take an amino acid supplement, you can be confident that all the amino acids are being absorbed into your bloodstream; whole proteins can waste resources because they often move through your system before all the amino acids they contain have been extracted.
Do I Need to Take Both Protein and Amino Acids?
The answer to which supplement you should take will largely depend on the purpose behind those supplements. For instance, a cancer patient who needs to increase their daily calorie intake and add protein to their diet would be best-served by a product with plenty of fats, sugars, and other nutrients, such as a protein shake or powder. In a situation like this, the extra ingredients that might be a drawback for a fitness-minded individual actually work to help the patient in question. However, in terms of what makes for a better fitness supplement, amino acids are the clear choice.
For most people, this means that you don’t need to take both whole proteins and amino acids. Instead, consider your personal objectives and choose the product that best suits your particular needs. Remember that protein powders are generally a better option in terms of medical nutrition support, and amino acids are the superior means of boosting athletic performance.
Other Advantages of Amino Acid Supplements as a Protein Replacement
If you’re considering an amino acid supplement to improve your workouts, it may help to learn just what these organic compounds can do for you. Among the hundreds of amino acids in existence, there are 20 that our bodies use, and nine of those must be obtained from outside sources, such as food or supplements. Three amino acids in particular have been noted for their ability to produce bigger muscles and grant faster recovery times; these are the “branched-chain amino acids,” or BCAAs – a group that consists of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Research has shown that leucine is unique in its ability to trigger muscle protein synthesis, an ability that isoleucine shares, albeit at a much lower magnitude. Isoleucine has its own specialties, however; it has been shown to promote glucose uptake (in other words, it gives you energy) while also facilitating the recovery process after exercise. Valine supports its brethren in a few ways, such as by regulating the immune system, supporting healthy cognition, and preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue. Altogether, the three BCAAs make for a potent force in amino acid pre-workout drinks and post-workout supplements that has helped athletes up their game for decades.
Top-Tier Amino Acid Supplements Available Today from aminoVITAL®
If you or someone you know has been looking for a new, more efficient way to get stronger and faster without the extra calories and sugars that come with traditional protein supplements, amino acids might be the answer. By offering a formula that contains only those ingredients critical for the formation of muscle tissue – plus some electrolytes and a small number of carbs to replenish glycogen stores -- aminoVITAL® provides the fitness-minded with a lean, effective collection of supplements that boost performance without the frills. To learn more about all our products and how they can help you, visit the aminoVITAL® website or call (888) 264-6673 today.