The branched-chain amino acids Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine are 3 protein building blocks that are…
There are many claims about a potential positive effect of amino acids in connection with physical activity. How can you use amino acids to influence your regeneration, performance, fitness, endurance and muscle formation for your purpose?
We have compiled the current state of knowledge for you here.
Amino acids for fitness and endurance training
Amino acids or aminos form, among other things, the basis for the body’s own protein. This applies at least to the so-called proteinogenic protein building blocks. However, each amino acid also has other tasks to fulfil in the organism. There are 20 so-called proteinogenic protein building blocks.
Of these, 8 must be taken in with food, while the rest are produced by the body itself.
Those amino acids that can be supplied with food are called essential protein building blocks, the others are the non-essential ones. Between these two a third group is located, the so-called semi-essential protein building blocks.
They can become essential in different phases of life, while in others they are produced by the organism.
The essential amino acids are:
Your organism needs every amino acid from this group, 99% of which can be converted by your body into the body’s own protein. The essential amino acids are dependent on each other in their function. They work together and increase each other’s effectiveness. This is called synergy or a synergetic effect.
Strength athletes have long relied on the additional supply of various amino acids to support muscle regeneration and muscle growth. Endurance athletes also report increased performance through more protein.
Have you already had experience with the intake of amino acids in connection with your sports training?
Protein and protein building blocks as building materials
All tissues in the body, especially the muscles, are dependent on the supply of protein as a building material. The body’s own protein is formed from amino acids. Strict diets show how a lack of protein and protein building blocks can affect the body.
Perhaps the following has happened to you when you were on a diet: you had little success in losing weight despite a strict calorie intake. Your physical performance deteriorated rapidly. After the diet, you gained weight again very quickly. The weight gain was probably even higher than before.
What did you experience here?
There are many indications that you did not pay attention to a sufficient protein intake when restricting calories. Your body has attacked and partially broken down the body’s own protein.
In the end, therefore, you will achieve the opposite of what you want to achieve with low-protein diets. Energy and fats are burnt via the muscles. If this is reduced, losing weight becomes even more difficult. Conversely, a sufficient or generous supply of proteins and protein building blocks for tissue building is essential.
The demand for proteins varies.
Nutritional scientists set it at a value of 0.8 g/kg body weight for total protein. Under physical strain, the requirement increases to up to 2 g/kg body weight. Some experts even assume a requirement of 4 g-6 g/kg body weight during physical exertion. Studies have not been able to make any clear statements.
These values also say nothing about the composition of the supplied protein and which protein components are contained in detail. However, the increase in demand during physical activity clearly shows that you as an athlete need a sufficient protein supply in any case. Otherwise, you will not be able to maintain the status quo in your muscles and body tissue.
Not to mention an additional build-up of muscles.
The abbreviation BCAA stands for “Branched-Chain Amino Acids“. The essential protein building blocks
- Isoleucine and
have a branched structure.
In medicine, they are used for intensive measures and in diseases where muscle breakdown occurs.
There are also some scientific findings on the effect of BCCA:
- A scientific study from 2006 could show that the BCAA activate certain substances. These play a role in protein formation.
- The BCAA promote the regeneration of the muscles after sports activities.
- BCAA can prevent muscle injuries during endurance training. They can delay exhaustion and thus increase performance.
- An anti-catabolic effect is being discussed for BCAA. Anti-catabolic means that a metabolic state is prevented, which leads to muscle breakdown. Although many athletes associate this effect with BCAA, the study situation here is not clear.
Overall as an athlete, you should be able to benefit from BCAA.
You probably have heard of the amino acid arginine if you already have problems with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. Arginine influences among other things the formation of nitrogen in the human organism. Nitrogen, in turn, plays a role in the regulation of vascular width. Arginine can dilate blood vessels.
If you do sports, this effect on the blood vessels can lead to better blood circulation via the production of nitric oxide. This improves the supply of nutrients to the blood vessels.
Many strength athletes suspect that this is the reason why they create more repetitions during intensive training sessions.
For arginine, there are some studies in the medical field that prove its vasodilating effect. In connection with sports, the effects are not clearly proven. However, many athletes report performance-enhancing effects when taking arginine.
Especially bodybuilders and strength athletes often speak of an increased “pump” in connection with arginine.
This substance is not an amino acid. However, it is formed from the amino acids Leucine, Arginine and Methionine. Creatine (or also Creatine) is naturally present in 90% of skeletal muscle.
An effect is being discussed for Creatine in which the fatigue of the muscles is delayed and the performance of the organism is increased. This makes it possible to increase the intensity of short-term stress.
Creatine can, therefore, be used by you in sports, especially in weight training.
This non-essential amino acid was attributed in a study, among other things, positive effects on regeneration after intensive sporting activity. Various mechanisms associated with the body’s own glycogen storage are affected. Glycogen storage is very important for your performance during sports.
It stores carbohydrates so that your body can access this quickly available energy during intensive performance demands.
In the study, it was shown that Glutamine leads to a faster replenishment of this store. In the example case, this had already been emptied during intensive training. This mechanism allows further performance to be requested in a short time. The exact physiological background still needs to be researched.
Glutamine also plays a key role in other body functions. Among other things, your immune system benefits from Glutamine. The rapid recovery may also be related to immune function.
Carnitine is also not an amino acid. However, the vitamin-like substance is formed from the amino acids Lysine and Methionine. It has an important function in energy metabolism and fat burning.
Carnitine is said to have a performance-enhancing effect. However, experts disagree on whether this substance can actually have an influence on fitness and performance. Various studies have not come to conclusive results. Nevertheless, many athletes report positive experiences with Carnitine.
There are various approaches to the use of amino acids in sports. It is argued that one single amino acid is better as a mono-product when used in sports. Other experts prefer mixed products containing different amino acids for optimal support during sports activities.
The opinions of active athletes differ as much as those of sports experts.
Both application possibilities have their advantages and disadvantages. There is much to be said for a combination product containing all essential amino acids.
Advantages of products with all essential amino acids: Combination products ensure the supply of proteins even with increased requirements in everyday life and during physical activity. Are easy to use without having to select a specific amino acid. They also ensure the synergetic effects of the protein building blocks among themselves.
Athletes benefit from protein building blocks
There are still many questions left unanswered on the subject of amino acids and sports. Nevertheless, we can draw a positive balance for an additional supply of amino acids. You can find out for yourself which product and which amino acid is particularly good for your individual sport. Among other things, it depends on your training condition and your sporting goals.
It is undisputed that the need for protein increases through intensive sporting activity.
It is true that your body “recycles” a certain amount of protein in conversion processes. However as an athlete, you cannot avoid an increased demand.
How intensively your own requirements increase during sport depends on the individual requirements of each individual athlete. Assume that proteins are the building blocks for all tissues in the body. You constantly need a sufficient amount of protein. Especially if you decide to build up more tissue in the form of muscles.
With a combination product that contains all the high-quality essential amino acids, you lay the foundation for a supply of valuable protein in sports and fitness.