Do you attach importance to a healthy diet? As an athlete or at an advanced age, would you like to influence specific physical areas with your diet? Then amino acids are an interesting topic for you.
Perhaps you already know one or the other amino acid. Questions often arise about how and when to take amino acids ideally.
In this article, we give you useful tips on how to dose protein building blocks and which intake times might suit you.
What are amino acids?
Amino acids are also known as protein or protein building blocks. Many of them form the smallest units of protein. Surely you are familiar with protein as a macro-nutrient. In addition to fats and carbohydrates, you also consume protein in varying proportions with your daily diet.
A certain group of building blocks form the basis of the body’s own protein. In addition, amino acids fulfil many other functions and tasks in the human organism.
They are, for example, the basis for the formation of certain messenger substances, hormones, and are transformed into other substances or other building blocks in constant processes.
They also play a key role in energy production and various metabolic functions.
Different types – essential and non-essential amino acids
Some of the protein building blocks are formed by our body itself. These are the non-essential protein building blocks. Others we have to supply the body with our food every day. This group is known as essential protein building blocks.
Various other types of building blocks are distinguished according to their functions, chemical composition and structure.
For example, the three protein building blocks leucine, isoleucine and valine are also known by the abbreviation BCAA. This letter combination stands for branched-chain amino acids in the English language. The three-building blocks play a special role in muscle building as well as in increasing endurance for athletes.
Besides essential and non-essential amino acids, semi-essential amino acids form the third group. They are alternately essential and non-essential in different phases of life.
Furthermore, building blocks differ in their chemical structure. All building blocks have carbon atoms, but these are arranged differently. When individual building blocks are named in this paper, the L-shape is meant. A distinction is made between the protein building blocks L- and D-forms, which are mirror images of each other in their structure.
The usability of the protein building blocks
The essential protein building blocks have a characteristic that distinguishes them from other protein building blocks: they are particularly well converted into the body’s own protein. This has led some nutrition experts and scientists to speak of an amino acid pattern.
This term goes back significantly to the US-American scientist Professor Luca-Moretti. He believes that all living things on earth have an amino acid pattern specific to their species.
These are protein building blocks that are converted almost 100% into the body’s own protein. His idea is also based on the fact that 20 building blocks via the genetic code in the body cells of animals and plants form the basis of all life.
Individual protein building blocks with special functions
Some of the protein building blocks are better known than others. One reason for this is that they fulfil functions in many different areas of the human organism.
A very interesting amino is arginine. This amino acid influences among other things the nitrogen metabolism in the human organism. At the same time, it also ensures relaxation in blood vessels. People with high blood pressure, men with potency disorders and menopausal women, among others, benefit from an increased intake of this amino acid.
Even though building blocks like arginine often get a lot of attention, amino acids as a whole are indispensable for us. It does not matter whether they are essential or non-essential amino acids of this group of substances.
Since the essential building blocks are also used to form the non-essential ones, all the building blocks are equally important. The constant dynamics of the building blocks due to the permanent transformation processes makes it quite difficult to determine the individual needs of each person.
The need for amino acids
- When it comes to recommendations for requirements and the dosage of amino acids, different aspects have to be distinguished: There are recommendations for the total protein intake of humans per day. It varies considerably.The recommendations here range from 0.8 mg/kilogram body weight to 1.4 to 1.8 mg/kilogram body weight. Among other things, body weight, stress, illnesses, age and overall living conditions play a role here. Athletes, for example, may have a much higher protein requirement than other people.The amount of total protein also does not say much about the combination and amounts of protein building blocks contained in this total protein.
- The World Health Organization WHO has issued recommendations for the intake of the essential building blocks per day. It recommends per kilogram of body weight in milligrams per day:
- Tryptophan – 4
- Threonine – 15
- Phenylalanine – 25
- Leucine – 39
- Methionine – 15
- Lysine – 30
- Isoleucine – 20
- Valine – 26
- Threonine – 15
At this point, you are probably wondering how to dose and take the protein building blocks correctly in detail. This is especially true if you want to achieve a special effect in your organism with a certain building block. To do this, we first look at the role of nutrition in the general protein supply.
With a mixed diet, which also includes animal foods, you have an advantage in the intake of protein.
Animal foods usually contain the entire amino acid pattern – i.e. all essential protein building blocks – in the right combination and quantity to each other.
Vegans and vegetarians must carefully select their diet to ensure that they are provided with all essential amino acids at all times.
This is not to say that plant foods cannot be high in protein. Almonds, pulses, soya flakes or hemp seeds are not inferior to many animal foods in terms of the percentage of protein. Some even surpass them.
However, it is also characteristic of vegetable protein sources that one or the other amino acid is missing or is not contained in the correct amount in relation to the other amino acids.
For an optimal supply of essential protein building blocks and for an ideal conversion rate into the body’s own protein, the eight essential representatives must all be present simultaneously.
When we generally talk about the protein supply of the organism, we are usually only talking about the essential building blocks. The WHO recommendations for daily intake provide guidance here. Not much can be deduced from these recommendations for the dose of individual building blocks and smaller groups such as the BCAA.
Who takes how many amino acids and when?
Different groups of people have different needs when it comes to protein supply.
The following groups are distinguished here:
Senior citizens – many physical regeneration processes slow down in older people. This applies to the skin, but also to metabolic processes and many other areas. An additional supply of certain protein building blocks can help older people to feel young and vital for longer.
People who want to lose weight – to avoid the dreaded yo-yo effect in diets, an adequate intake of protein is essential.
If the body has too little protein available during a reduction diet, it falls back on the body’s own protein. The result is a reduction of the musculature. This leads to reduced burning and thus to a reduced-calorie requirement.
If more calories are added after a diet, the overall requirement of the organism has decreased. Weight gain is thus inevitable in the end because the muscles consume a large proportion of calories. Therefore, additional protein should be taken with a diet.
Athletes – they attach importance to an appropriate endurance and, depending on the type of sport, also to an appropriate muscle gain. Therefore they have an increased need for protein. Only if the organism can dispose of sufficient building material for body tissue, further muscles can be built.
Stressed people – physical and psychological stress leads to an increased need for protein. Certain stress hormones break down the body’s own protein from the muscles. They break down muscles back into the individual protein building blocks.
These stress hormones can also reduce some of the building blocks. The need for certain building blocks can be increased in a stressful situation because some protein building blocks form precursors for messenger substances in the brain. Tryptophan, for example, as a precursor of the messenger substance serotonin, ensures better nerves and a good night’s sleep.
In the following section, we will take a closer look at different target groups for a conscious supply of certain amino acids.
Amino acids intake – Different people with different needs
We have already seen that people of different ages and life situations can have an increased need for protein overall. Some people also want to use certain building blocks to create an effect in a specific physical area.
They are particularly interested in how to dose a single amino. It is also interesting for them when and how they should take the building blocks to achieve an ideal effect. There are not yet scientifically proven recommendations for the dosage of protein building blocks in all areas. Dosage and intake recommendations are often based on the experience of users. Further scientific studies are necessary to reach a final result.
Athletes are usually anxious to ensure a good supply of protein in general. In addition, many of them also take BCAA and also the amino acid Arginine. Especially strength athletes connect with arginine by an increase in blood circulation a pumping effect during training.
Take BCAA: How much?
There are already some scientific studies describing the basic effects of BCAA association with physical training, but no standardized dosage recommendations.
The experience among athletes ranges from 5-10 g per day depending on the level of training and physical fitness.
A maximum daily intake of 35 g is still considered safe after a study.
High doses of BCAA can lead to side effects such as diarrhoea and nausea.
Take BCAA: When?
There is no agreement on when BCAA should be taken optimally. Some users recommend taking it on an empty stomach in the morning before exercise. Others consider the intake during training or after the sporting effort as useful.
At an advanced age, the first concern will be the basic supply of individual essential protein building blocks. This basic care is not reliably ensured for senior citizens because eating habits often change with age.
Many older people no longer eat so regularly and eat smaller meals. In order to ensure a supply of the essential building blocks at all times, a food supplement can be useful here. The dosing of high-quality products is therefore geared to the basic supply of the building blocks.
We learned about the WHO recommendations above. Since well-designed products ensure that the protein building blocks are absorbed into the blood very quickly, it is recommended that they are taken on an empty stomach before the first meal.
Senior citizens also benefit from one or the other special component with a certain effect. For example, if you suffer from high blood pressure at an advanced age, the amino acid arginine could help lower your blood pressure.
Men with potency disorders can also benefit from taking this amino acid. The same applies to women in the menopause.
Athletes take doses of arginine between 1000 mg and 3000 mg mainly in the morning on an empty stomach. These recommendations are based on experience, especially from strength athletes.
Even in people with high blood pressure, a dosage of at least 3000 mg per day is usually recommended.
High-dose preparations even assume a recommended intake of 6000 mg per day.
Standardised statements are very difficult to make because the needs vary from person to person. Try step by step to find your ideal personal quantity when taking it. Start with a lower dosage and then increase the intake according to your individual sensations up to a maximum of 6000 mg per day.
Men and women
Men are often interested in amino acids if they have potency problems. In many cases, erectile dysfunction responds to an additional intake of arginine. Similar to athletes and seniors, dosages between 3000- 6000 mg per day have proven successful.
In the context of protein building blocks, women are mostly concerned with their youthful appearance and the possible alleviation of menopausal symptoms. There are various building blocks that are of interest to women. Arginine is said to provide relief for women with hot flashes. Experiences have shown dosages of 3000 mg per day and more per day.
Women should take special care when taking the amino acid arginine that they also take up the amino lysine. Lysine and arginine work together. Lysine can help ensure that bones continue to store calcium after menopause. If you want to stay wrinkle-free for longer, you should ensure an adequate and increased supply of all essential amino acids.
Securing the basic supply
You can’t go wrong with the dosage and intake of amino acids if you first ensure the supply of all essential building blocks with a high-quality product such as amino4u. Good products are designed in such a way that they cannot be overdosed. They are based on the general recommendations for the supply of essential building blocks.
Since high-quality products also offer excellent usability of the building blocks contained, there is no strain on the kidneys and liver. For single building blocks as well as smaller combinations of different building blocks as with BCAA, it is recommended to start with a lower dose at first.
If you have a sensitive stomach, taking protein generally with or after a meal may be better for you.
You should consult your doctor if you suffer from impaired kidney or liver function before taking any additional proteins or individual building blocks.