By Don Laubenthal,
Professor and Coordinator: SES - Exercise Science
Sport and Exercise Studies
Why Take Amino Acids?
I have heard a lot of questions about supplements over the course of my career, but one of the most often asked questions, “Why should I take amino acids?” This is a good question, after all, don’t we get everything we need from our diet? Well, lets take a deeper look at the role of amino acids in the body, and maybe I can answer this question.
What is an Amino Acid?
When we consume protein, whether it is chicken, steak, plant, whey, or any other protein source, that protein must first be broken down into amino acids to be used in the body. Amino acids are organic compounds that form specific proteins that serve specific functions.
Think about it like this, if you are going to build a house, you are going to need a lot of wood. Somewhere, some very large trees are cut down to supply the wood. Think of the tree as the tuna or chicken (protein) you ate for lunch. Now the tree cannot be formed into a house unless it is first broken down to boards that are very specific shapes and sizes to help build the necessary structures in the house. This is what happens to the food source proteins we consume. Once the proteins are broken down to amino acids, which occurs during digestion by protease enzymes, the proteins can then be used for a very wide variety of structures and functions in the body.
Amino acids form proteins, or building blocks, that will become structures such as contractile proteins, enzymes, hormone carriers, or perform actions such as membrane transport and immune system function.
There are 20 amino acids that are responsible for the structures and functions within the human body, and of the 20, nine of the amino acids are considered essential amino acids. An essential amino acid is one which cannot be manufactured in the cells of the body, so it must be consumed in the diet. Amino acids (both essential and non-essential bind together to form proteins.
Each amino acid will combine with another to form a peptide. Peptides (polypeptide chains) combine to create a very specific protein.
How do Amino Acids work?
Let us go back to the example of the house for a minute. When building a house, you need to have a supply of appropriate sized boards available. If you do not have enough of the appropriately shaped and sized boards, the building of the house comes to a halt. In the human body, muscles require very specific proteins after a workout. Muscles are overloaded during a workout (if worked properly) and this overload causes microtrauma in the muscle tissue. This microtrauma and the subsequent edema and inflammation that follow, are part of what signals the body to reinforce and repair the overloaded muscles with proteins. This process of adding protein structures to the muscle is called protein synthesis (adding or building protein). The body relies on having a supply, or pool, of amino acids that can be quickly used to form the specific proteins that will repair and reinforce the muscle. If the amino acids are in supply, this process will eventually lead to an increase in muscular strength and hypertrophy (gains!!).
If you are training at an intense level and trying to develop maximum strength and muscle mass, or you are an athlete, or you run a crazy schedule and train hard, you may not have the necessary pool of available amino acids to adequately repair and reinforce your muscles on a daily basis. This is where amino acid supplementation comes into play. Think of it as your daily supply of lumber for building (better yet, steel) to continually add protein to repair muscle and recover for the next workout or competition.
Benefits of taking amino recovery drink
There are numerous benefits of taking amino recovery drinks (especially MaxEffort Amino Recovery), but here are a few.
- MaxEffort Amino Recovery contains the necessary amino acids to supply the muscle with exactly what it needs to recover and build. Timing can be critical when it comes to nutrients, so taking an amino recovery after your workout is a quick and easy way to supply those important amino acids.
- Better recovery ability between workouts. Remember, if you are not recovering, you are not making gains.
- MaxEffort Amino Recovery is very easy to digest and is not a heavy, high calorie product. This is important for staying shredded!
- MaxEffort’s Amino Recovery also contains a muscle hydration formula which improves recovery ability between workouts and aids in protein synthesis (gains!).
If you have not yet tried an amino recovery supplement, I highly recommend MaxEfforts Amino Recovery drink. Take if from an older lifter who has tried a lot of products, MaxEffort Amino Recovery is a very good way to supply the muscle with what it needs after a workout. You will feel the difference.