How Important Is Amino Acid for Growth and Recovery?

How Important Is Amino Acid for Growth and Recovery?

Before indulging into the advantages of amino acids, let’s check out what amino acid is. An amino acid is considered as the building blocks of proteins. These are compounds that plays a major role in our human body. Just like other minerals and vitamins, these are necessary for the vital processes of body function like creating proteins and hormone synthesis. They are also used as neurotransmitters.

Consumption of Amino Acids & Their Segregation

Certain people consume amino acids in supplement form or in the natural way. Both methods help in boosting the athletic performance and even improves one’s mood. Frankly, they are very much required and considered to be important based on various factors which we will discuss further in this article.

Important Amino Acids You Must Know About

Do you know that amino acids are organic compounds? They are composed of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen along with many kinds of side chain group. Plus, it is recommended that your body requires 20 various kinds of amino acids to function and grow in properly.

Even though all the 20 are very much necessary for your health, only nine amino acids are classified as the important ones. These nine ones are isoleucine, histidine, lysine, leucine, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, valine, and tryptophan. Compared to other non-required amino acids, these so called essential amino acids that can’t be created by your body. They really need to be obtained from the diet you consume.

Do you know that the best source of the required amino acids is available from animal proteins like eggs, meat, and poultry? When you are consuming proteins, it gets broken down into amino acid. This will help your body in doing various activities like regulating immune function and developing muscles.

Role Played by Essential Amino Acids

It might surprise you to know that there are many non-essential amino acids. These are easily classified as conditionally necessary and they are essential only in certain major circumstances like stress and illness. For example, even though you might feel that arginine is really a non-essential amino acid, still it is important for your body when it can’t fight certain diseases like cancer. So, this is the major reason on why you need to supplement arginine in your diet, for ensuring that it meets your body requirements in some situations.

Roles Nine Amino Acids Play in Our Body

There are various necessary and significant roles that amino acids play in our body. Some of the major amino acids and their role are –

  • Phenylalanine: This is a precursor of the neurotransmitter tyrosine, epinephrine, dopamine and norepinephrine. Not only it plays a major and important role in the structure, it even helps in the functioning of the enzymes and proteins and even in the creation of amino acids.
  • Valine: Like phenylalanine, this is one of the major branched chain amino acid. This means that it has a chain which is branching off to a single side of the structure of the molecule. In addition, the valine can assist in stimulating the growth of the muscle and regeneration, along with the involvement of the energy production.
  • Tryptophan: Sometimes you might associate tryptophan with drowsiness, but it has various other functions. You need it to have the proper balance of nitrogen. It is even used as a precursor for serotonin and even as a neurotransmitter which can regulate your sleep, appetite and mood.
  • Threonine: Another important part of the structural protein is the threonine. This is similar and consist of elastin and collagen, that are considered as an important component for the skin and the connective tissues. Frankly, it even plays a great role in immune function and fat metabolism.
  • Leucine: Like the valine, the leucine is nothing but a branched-chain of the amino acid. This is very much important for the synthesis of the protein and repairing of the muscles. Also, it assists in regulating the level of blood sugar and stimulating the healing of the wound along with producing the required growth hormones.
  • Methionine: The methionine plays a great role in detoxification and metabolism. Also, it is quite necessary for the growth of the tissue and absorption of selenium and zinc. These are some of the major minerals that is important for your health in general.
  • Isoleucine: Among the major branched chain amino acids, this isoleucine plays a major role in metabolism of the muscle and in the heavily concentration of the muscle tissue. Furthermore, it plays a great role in function of the immune system, production of haemoglobin and regulation of the energy.
  • Lysine: Like most of the amino acids, this plays a great role in the synthesis of protein, enzyme production and hormone. Even it plays a great role in the absorption of calcium. Furthermore, it is necessary to produce energy, immune function and the creation of elastin and collagen.
  • Histidine: This is used for producing the histamine, which is nothing but a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in the immune response, sexual function, digestion, and the sleep-waking cycles. Unlike other kinds of enzymes, this helps in maintaining the myelin sheath, which is nothing but providing a secured barrier surrounding the nerve cells.

The above factors clearly show the reason why the nine amino acids are the major core of the body’s vital processes. Even though amino acids are widely recognized for the role it plays in the repair and development of muscles, still the human body depends on it for other factors. This is the major reason why the deficiency of amino acid will have a negative impact on the whole body including reproductive, nervous, digestive and immune systems.

What Are the Health Benefits of Supplementing with Amino Acids?

You need to take good amount of amino acids but keep in mind that there are various amino acids present in many kinds of food. However, if you are taking concentrated doses which is in supplemental form, then it will lead to various kinds of health benefits.

Improving Sleep & Mood

Do you know tryptophan is required for producing serotonin? This is a chemical which acts as a neurotransmitter for your body. Also, serotonin plays a great role in regulating mood, behaviours, and sleep. Various researches show that low amount of serotonin is linked to depression and sleep disturbances, but there are studies which prove that supplementing with tryptophan can lower the symptoms of depression, improve sleep and boost mood.

Boosting Exercise Performance

There are three branched chain important amino acids, and these are greatly used for alleviating fatigue, improving athletic performances and stimulating the recovery of muscles after exercising.  A study conducted on fifteen resistance trained sports athletes showed that branched chain amino acids and its supplement helped in improving performance and recovery of muscles. It can even help in reducing muscle soreness in comparison to placebo.

Further studies show that by supplementing with branched chain-amino acids is best and helps in promoting the recovery of muscles and lowering the chances of soreness after the exhaustive exercise.

Preventing Any Kind of Muscle Loss

One of the common side effects of muscle loss is the prolonged illness. It even includes bed rest which is common among older adults. Various studies show that necessary amount of amino acids will help in avoiding muscle breakdown and will preserve lean body mass. A study was done on 22 older adults who were on bed rest. Here, it showed that these individuals who received 16 grams of mixed essential amino acid were able to maintain the required muscle protein synthesis and this process lead to reducing 30% in the placebo group. There are some good amino acid supplements which are very much effective in preserving the lean body mass among the athletes and elderly individuals.

Promoting Weight Loss

There are certain animal and human studies which show that branched-chain and essential amino acids can be best in stimulating fat loss. An eight-week study was done on 36 strength training men.

It was found out that by supplementing 14 grams of branched-chain amino acids each day easily help in decreasing the body fat percentage when compared to the whey protein or a given sport drink. However, there are other studies which even investigate the potential link among the weight loss and branched-chain amino acids that shows inconsistency. Frankly, there needs to be more studies that must determine if whether amino acids can easily help in promoting weight loss.

Furthermore, in the world of supplements, protein which is in the form of whey. Sometimes you might have learned in your high or middle school that proteins are made of amino acids. It is the amino acid which shows the importance of proteins. To say in simple terms, amino acids are the building blocks of life.

While ingesting protein, the body will break it apart and that too into separate aminos, then will reorder them and try to refold them and convert it into whatever is required right at that time. There are certain amino acids which are quite unique in the way they are used in one’s body about the fitness.

The primary concern is about the consumption of amino acids by athletes. There are three groups of amino acids like isoleucine, leucine and valine. These are called as BCAAs (Branched-chain Amino Acids). Like the name suggested, these so-called amino acids have specialized shape which helps them to be used in ways similar to other kind of amino acids.

Now the question that comes to your mind is what makes BCAA great or so important? Even you might have doubt whether the proteins are created of amino acids and if so, why should one take supplements of amino acid rather than going for normal proteins.

Benefits of BCAA Supplements For Sports Individuals

Following are some of the major benefits of the BCAA –

  1. Balanced Dosage – As previously stated, whey proteins contain natural BCAAs. This means that you won’t have to take separate supplements. A high-quality protein like Momentus Strength Recover will have certain amount of BCAA. This will get mixed with other kind of aminos. Also, the amino acid will try to compete for
  2. Helps & Improves Muscle Growth – Lots of people aren’t aware of what BCAA does. There are many advantageous. The primary reason is that people opt for amino acid supplement as it helps in muscle growth. One of the major components of amino acid, leucine helps in regulating and improving the muscle protein synthesis even after exercising.
  3. Increasing Endurance – No doubt, amino acid supplement will change the way your body is using the primary fuel source. These fuels are the fat and carbs. Now for majority of the athletes who are extensively depended on short bursts of power like sprints, for them the glycogen depletion will be a major issue. This can lead to exhaustion and even sometimes a sharp drop in the performance.
  4. Reducing Fatigue – Various studies have shown that BCAAs have the basic ability of removing all kinds of mental fatigue. This is often associated with long workouts. Frankly, this is because of the relationship among low amount of BCAAs and the tryptophan. Most of the time when your BCAA level gets drop, then your body will start to produce more amount of tryptophan which will slowly become the serotonin of your brain. This will lead to feeling of mental fatigue and tiredness.

Wrapping Up

The amount of amino acid that you might have to consume differs for everyone. However, one thing that you need to be sure about is that you cannot avoid any diet that contains amino acid. It plays a great part in keeping your healthy. But you really need to consult your physician before taking the amino acid supplements. Start back to look at basics then to consume new overhyped products. These are facts backed up by science.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.