For as long as people have sought bigger, stronger, faster bodies, fitness supplements have been a popular tool for advancing those efforts. These supplements have long been seen as essential parts of weightlifting or bodybuilding, largely because of their ability to improve post-workout gains and boost athletic performance over time. Athletes of all stripes have used protein shakes – undeniably the most ubiquitous supplement out there – for years, but advancements in sports nutrition have more recently rendered protein-based supplements obsolete. Today, amino acids are the most effective, efficient option for pre-, mid-, and post-workout supplementation. To learn more about why people take amino acid supplements, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL® explain these products in greater detail.
Amino Acid Supplements vs. Protein Shakes
Choosing the right supplement for you will depend on a variety of factors, but for those focused on improving their level of fitness, amino acids are arguably the best option. That’s because amino acids carry many of the same benefits as traditional protein supplements that you can find in a pre-workout drink mix, but in a more advanced form. Below, we’ll outline two of the top advantages amino acids have over whole proteins and explain how they can benefit you.
Amino Acids Take Effect Much More Quickly
When you drink a protein shake, most of the benefits come from the amino acids those proteins contain. (For those who don’t remember their freshman biology class, amino acids are the building blocks of protein.) To get at the amino acids chained together in the protein, however, your body must break down those molecules, splitting them into their constituents through the slow process of digestion; only then can you actually use what the protein originally offered.
On the other hand, free-form amino acids require next to no digestion before they begin to take effect. These compounds can be absorbed by the body as much as three times faster than whole proteins, making them a much more efficient form of amino acid delivery than conventional supplements. For those seeking a mid-workout energy boost or looking to feed their muscles as soon as they finish exercising, the speedy bioavailability of amino acids makes them the obvious choice for a go-to fitness supplement.
Amino Acid Supplements are Leaner
A glance at the label of any popular protein powder or shake will likely reveal a significant amount of calories and sugar in a product ostensibly aimed at improving your health and fitness. In those who need to gain weight or preserve muscle mass – such as those suffering from an eating disorder or a wasting illness like cancer or AIDS – the extra stuff in protein mixes can actually improve outcomes and help with healthy weight gain. For those looking to build lean muscle, however, the excess calories and sugars in protein powders are more counterproductive than helpful.
Instead, amino acid supplements contain only the nutrients that are essential to improving performance: amino acids like leucine and glutamine, along with electrolytes to balance hydration and, in the case of our post-workout recovery supplement, a small dose of carbs to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles. By rejecting unhealthy additives and flavoring our mixes with stevia and natural fruit flavors, aminoVITAL® provides tasty supplements that are leaner, healthier, and more efficient than protein-based products.
Important Amino Acids in Supplements
Among the 20 different amino acids that our bodies require, only a handful are used to support muscle movement and growth. The most prominent group of these is the branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, though glutamine and arginine are both worth mentioning as well. There are three different amino acids classified as BCAAs, each of which provides its own benefits before, during, or after exercise:
- Leucine is the most widely studied of the BCAAs and arguably the most important. This compound is responsible for activating the mTOR signaling pathway in skeletal muscle – essentially, the switch that triggers the production of new muscle tissue. In addition, HMB, a substance produced when your body processes leucine, has been shown to help protect muscles against breaking down.
- Isoleucine is more about energy production and recovery than muscle growth. This amino acid is used to promote the uptake of glucose (the body’s main form of energy) by the muscles, granting increased energy during exercise. It also helps to heal damaged muscle tissue in the wake of a tough workout.
- The third and final BCAA, valine serves mainly in a supporting role, guarding muscles against damage while helping to regulate the immune system, support healthy cognitive functions, and ensure a steady supply of glucose when it’s needed most.
In addition to the benefits listed above, BCAAs as a group have been shown to limit post-exercise soreness, help regulate blood sugar, and even promote additional fat consumption by the body. To see the advantages of amino acid supplements for yourself, consider picking up a pre-, mid-, or post-workout drink mix from aminoVITAL® today.
Quality Amino Acids for Muscle Growth and Recovery
The amino acid supplements from aminoVITAL® represent a sea change in the way people look at fitness supplements. Rather than consuming a large volume of nutrients and waiting for our bodies to break them down, supplements like those from aminoVITAL® offer only those exact compounds needed to boost performance and fuel the muscles. Our amino acids are of the very highest quality; they’re created through a patented vegetable fermentation process by Ajinomoto, a global leader in the research and production of pharmaceutical-grade amino acids. To learn more about these unique and effective products, visit the aminoVITAL® website or call (888) 264-6673 today.