How important are Amino Acids for Bodybuilding?

l was told by my trainer that Amino Acid supplements are not important for muscle building process. Is that true? If not what’s the effectiveness of Amino Acids and what’s the best time to take it? Thanks a lot.

Jeff. W
Lake Oswego, Oregon.

I am not sure why your trainer told you that Amino Acids are not important to your body and the bodybuilding process. It makes me wonder if he or she is qualified, and if so I’m not sure what they were smoking. Look Jeff,  there are about 20 Amino Acids that are involved in body function. Of these, 8 are deemed to be essential due to the fact that:

  1. The body can not make them so that they must be taken from an external source.
  2. The essential amino acids are, Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine,
    Methionine, Lysine, Threonine, Phenylalanine, and yes, Tryptophan. the body can not survive with a deficiency of any one of them.
    Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are commonly referred to as the branched chained amino acids and are of particular importance due to their ability to provide the body with about 70% of its nitrogen needs. Studies have shown that a shortage of branched chained amino acids, coupled with increased physical demands on the body, can lead to a cannibalization of muscle tissue to respond to the body’s need for nitrogen.
The 20 Amino Acids

The 20 Amino Acids

Also amino acids not only form the building blocks of our voluntary, or skeletal, muscle tissue; such as the biceps, quadriceps, etc, but they also form the building blocks of our less ego oriented involuntary muscles, such as the heart. In addition to this muscle building function, each amino acid has a specific function in the body. These functions include among others  in assisting in transporting long chain triglycerides, or dietary fat, into the cells for energy, stimulating the pituitary to secret growth hormone, which is involved in developing lean muscle tissue as well as mobilizing fatty acids from the adipose tissue (dropping body fat), supplying the body with nitrogen and much more.

As previously mentioned that an obvious source of amino acids is from the dietary intake of protein. However, as we will now see there are some reasons that this source may not always be the most desirable. First, foods that are high in protein tend to, also, be high in fat. Second, as we age our level of digestive enzymes tends to decrease, thus impairing our ability to efficiently utilize proteins. At best, our digestive system are extremely inefficient. Third, for the athlete, meals that present an incomplete amino acid profile to our system will be of marginal use to the muscle building process. Therefore, a well balanced amino acid supplement can prove to be extremely cost effective for individuals desiring to maximize their protein intake at a minimal caloric cost.

DNA uses amino acids to create protein and the body uses that protein to build muscle.

DNA uses amino acids to create protein and the body uses that protein to build muscle.

The timing is important to achieve your success. By understanding the processes that ultimately lead these building blocks to the muscle cells it is possible to optimize their usage. At the center we always recommend that amino acids should be taken with meals. Did you say why? Because if we eat a meal that has an incomplete amino acid profile then the muscle building benefits will be considerably reduced. A quality amino acid supplement can help us to get more from our meals. Also the transport of amino acids from the bloodstream into the muscle cells appears to be regulated by the hormone, insulin. Due to the fact that our meals traditionally have some carbohydrate value, the corresponding insulin release will facilitate the increased utilization of the amino acids. The prior reasoning combined with considerable clinical experience has led us to utilize this administration approach that, while flying in the face of tradition “gym wisdom”, has led us to produce a considerable number of world class athletes like the two IFBB legends and my best friends Nasser AlSonbaty and Mike Mattarrazo. I hope l answered your question fully and completely Jeff.

Richie Mishal.

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