After whey protein and creatine monohydrate, one of the most talked about DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS among gym circles is BCAA AMINO ACIDS – EAA. But what are amino acids? Are they useful? and if so, is it finally the way to fight catabolism during training?
AMINO ACIDS – BIOCHEMISTRY
I know this is probably the most boring part, but in order to understand their action we must understand, to some extent, their structure and origin. So Brace Yourself! Amino acids are a group of molecules. More specifically, an amino group, a carboxyl group (both of which are attached to a central carbon), and a side group R which essentially gives the identity to the amino acid. Amino acids are soluble in water and are amphoteric, i.e. they can behave either as an acid or as a base. The solubility between them varies considerably and is highly dependent on pH, even for each amino acid individually.
AMINO ACIDS –What they are, where they come from, and why we are so interested in them
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are obtained by our bodies from food. It breaks it down into amino acids and recomposes them to make its own proteins. One may wonder why we have to break and reconstitute the food’s proteins rather than use them directly.
Let’s think of the food protein as a construction of many lego bricks (eg 4 red, 3 blue, and 2 green) all joined together. Each brick is an amino acid that our body needs to build its own structures. But our body needs 2 red, 2 blue, and 1 green to make its own structure. So it breaks down the food structure, takes the building blocks (amino acids) it wants, and stores the rest to use later and build other structures.
In nature, there are hundreds of amino acids, 20 of which are protein amino acids. Our body uses them to biosynthesize proteins. These 20 amino acids differ in size, shape, charge, chemical activity, and ability to form hydrogen bonds.
Why are certain amino acids called essential amino acids?
The 20 amino acids we mentioned above are divided into “essential” and “non-essential”. Let’s see why this happens. There are amino acids that our body cannot synthesize (make) by itself, so it is necessary to get them from food (for this reason we also call them essential amino acids). There are some that our body can synthesize on its own and thus we call them non-essential. In the table below we see the differentiation between essential and non-essential amino acids.
AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENTS
There are several theories that state, amino acid supplements can help athletic performance in a number of ways. Such as increasing the secretion of the appropriate hormones responsible for muscle growth, and helping the body use a different “fuel” (i.e. use the adipose tissue and not muscle in a period of fasting).
To prevent the “bad” effects of overtraining – catabolism and the brain fatigue and sluggishness that occurs after intense training with resistances and weights (BARRELS, WEIGHT BARS, KETTLEBELLS, ETC.). Below we will list the amino acids that are usually found in food supplements, what is the reason and what research has been done on them.
As we saw in the table above, tryptophan is an essential amino acid. It is the precursor substance of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that combats the sensation of pain. So the theory has been formulated that the supplemental administration of tryptophan will increase serotonin. Thus the athlete will be able to continue intense exercise and not feel pain. So far there are not enough research findings to indicate this.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid and is the most basic fuel for some cells such as those of our immune system. These under conditions of prolonged and intense exercise can be reduced increasing the chances of illness of the athlete. Because of this, many researchers have investigated plasma glutamine stores and whether their deficiency is associated with a lower immune response. The results of these studies show that there is no strong correlation between the two.
Nitric acid, a vasodilator that promotes blood circulation and is supposed to boost performance is produced from arginine. Arginine supplements are thought to be ergogenic. However, there is no research that can prove this argument.
AMINO ACIDS – SIDE EFFECTS
According to the literature to date, taking BCAA AMINO ACIDS in the recommended quantities does not seem to have any negative effects on one’s health. Also, their use is not prohibited by WADA (world anti-doping agency). Finally, as with all supplements, it is necessary to consult with our doctor and nutritionist to ensure that each supplement will be beneficial for us and our goals.
Providing a wide range of amino acids between 1-3 hours after training can help further protein synthesis. Martin j. Gibala indicates that the consumption of 0.1 grams of amino acids per kilogram of body weight (eg 7 grams for a 70 kg athlete) in the first hours of recovery after training will produce a positive effect on muscle growth.
We don’t know if consuming these amino acids in combination with carbohydrate consumption will help further muscle hypertrophy. In summary, we conclude that consuming a small amount of protein and carbohydrates (either as a dietary supplement or as a meal) before and after any athletic activity is optimal.
Consuming a sufficient amount of protein (1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight) is necessary for the HEALING recovery of muscle fibers as well as for their further development. People who do not get enough protein from their diet can benefit from using 0.1 grams of BCAA per kilogram of body weight.
Also, people who exercise after a period of fasting (whether they do intermittent fasting or just train in the morning and haven’t had time to eat breakfast) may benefit from taking BCAA (with a dose similar to the one we mentioned above).
We hope we have helped you understand the world of amino acids a little better.
The bond that holds amino acids together is a peptide bond.
Nine nucleotides are needed to specify three amino acids. Each amino acid is specified by a codon, which is a sequence of three nucleotides.
No, amino acids do not break a fast. Consuming amino acids during a fast has been found to help improve energy levels and reduce hunger.
The amino acid homocysteine is typically elevated in individuals with heart disease.
A limiting amino acid in a protein is an amino acid that is present in a protein in the lowest amounts, relative to the other amino acids. If this particular amino acid is not present in sufficient quantities, the protein may be nutritionally deficient.
One codon equals one amino acid.