Amino acids are the voussoirs of a well-nourished healthy body. When you consume food with amino acids, it turns it into proteins which are a source of energy. Amino acids are mainly known for their ability to help grow muscles, for scoring a healthy athletic posture.
But are you well informed about amino acids? Do you know how exactly do they help? Let’s check out some important facts, before you actually give it a try.
What Are Amino Acids?
Chemically, they are small molecules, made up of amino group and carboxylic acid, that combines together to form proteins. In simple terms, amino acids are the base of protein and muscle tissues. They play important role when it comes to building your energy levels, enhance workouts energies, increase metabolisms, mood undulations, build muscle tissues nourishments and brain stimulations.
There are 20 amino acids, out of which 9 are essential amino acids, that is, those amino acids that could be obtained externally only through proper diet, and the rest are non-essential amino acids, which are produced in human beings naturally.
Importance of Amino Acids
Amino acids are necessary for human beings, as they form Proteins, that are vital for your diet, and serve as structural support inside the cell, where they perform many vital chemical reactions. Hence, whenever you consume a food rich in amino acids, the food turns into proteins which acts as a source of energy. Which is why, every time you eat some meat, eggs, milk or nuts, you feel full and energetic.
How Do Amino Acids Work?
When you consume any forms of proteins, the proteins after digestion are broken down into amino acid chains that get diverted to liver, where more proteins are produced and are then transported throughout your body. Later, whenever any part of your body faces a protein deficiency, the protein chains travel to that organ, to get the job done.
Amino Acids and Muscle growth
Before getting started with the concept, let us first check out some important terms you need to know:
The level of nitrogen intake through food minus the nitrogen loss via urine/sweat etc. this balance determines the level of nitrogen in your body, which in turn will lead to protein rise, resulting into muscle gain.
Positive nitrogen balance
When the nitrogen intake is greater than nitrogen loss, its positive nitrogen balance. This is essential to grow muscle
Negative nitrogen balance
When the nitrogen intake is less than nitrogen loss, its negative nitrogen balance. This state ensures muscle loss instead. b
(Note: you are at a safe position, even if you succeed to achieve an equilibrium, though your end goal should be achieving positive nitrogen balance.)
Nitrogen Balance = Nitrogen Intake – Nitrogen Loss
Positive Nitrogen Balance = Nitrogen Intake > Nitrogen Loss
Negative Nitrogen Balance = Nitrogen Intake < Nitrogen Loss
When your body is building or at least maintaining your muscle mass, you are in an anabolic state
When your body is tearing down or losing your muscle and fat mass, you are into catabolic state.
(Note: it’s essential for you to determine which state you fall into, so that, you determine what work out is suitable for you, and the right diet and supplements you are supposed to add to your nutrition.)
Refers to an increase in the size of a muscle, caused by an increase in the size of the component cells that make up that muscle.
Refers to a reduction in the overall muscle mass, caused by inadequate nutrition provided to the body
Ideally, when you start working on your muscles, after exercising, initially you experience an increase in the action potential, that causes your muscle to contract. this will result into an increase in strength, but not in your muscle size.
As you continue with a consistent daily workout, a complex interaction within the responses, takes place into the nervous system, which further increases the protein production in a few months, resulting in your muscle cells growth. Resulting into hypertrophy, which is your ultimate goal.
The repetitive muscle contraction during the process, damages the muscle fibers, which need to be repaired on a timely manner, in order to avoid muscle atrophy or muscle loss. People ignoring these facts, experience issues like muscle atrophy.
According to RDA, the US Recommended Daily Allowance is 0.36 grams per pound. For an average active American, a protein intake of approximately 0.45 gm per pound of body weight is sufficient. Unlike Fat and Starch, your body does not store amino acids to use later. Hence amino acids supplements must be a part of your daily diet.
Amino acids supplements are particularly effective in growing and repairing muscle tissue because they are the building blocks of protein and without these amino acids the body cannot energise the muscles.
Human muscle contains residues of amino acids, second largest component after water, in the form of proteins, making it the most important component of your muscle tissues to enrich their strength. As we have discussed earlier, when you consume protein, it breaks into amino acids, which then repairs and gain new muscle tissues.
Amino acids are made up of Amino and Carboxylic groups. Amino means containing an amine group, —NH2, present in amino acids, amides, and many amines, often used in combinations. Protein is made out of aminoacids, each of that amino acid is made up of different Nitrogen (N) atoms, apart from other amino acid components like Carbon, Hydrogen & Oxygen.
When you Measure the mass of Nitrogen in relation to the total mass of the amino acid, you’ll find how important is nitrogen in the muscle growth process. When we measure the amount of nitrogen, we can estimate the amount of protein. Athletes need protein in their diet to build muscles.
How It Works
Nitrogen balance is the traditional method of determining protein intake in your body. It does not mean equal amount of nitrogen levels, as implied by the term, but, moreover, it explains the condition where your body witness’s nitrogen intake in excess quantity than that of nitrogen loss. The nitrogen excess leads to a further protein pool in your body.
This encourages increase in your protein intake. This balance prompts your body to get into a muscle building state or anabolic state. You meeting your body needs is as essential as the regular workouts, you never like to miss. If your body is not nourished with the adequate amount of nutrients, like proteins, amino acid supplements, balanced healthy diet, your body will start tearing down your muscle tissues in order to repair the tissue damaged during your workouts. As a result, you’ll suffer atrophy (a reduction in your overall muscle mass.) And you may never want that, do you?
The goal is to achieve a positive nitrogen balance, which is possible when your body intakes adequate quantities of protein and supplements. Every determined Bodybuilder, and that each person who wishes a perfect athletic muscle growth, should aim to achieve Positive Nitrogen Balance. You need to boost your nitrogen levels, to stay into an anabolic state.
As a muscle builder, you generally have an athletic body, making you more nutrition conscious, and help you meet your nutritional needs as you consume more energy.
It is extremely important for you to maintain the correct balance of amino acids, 9 essential and 11 non-essential. You need to supply the primal matter, that is needed to enhance the muscle protein production, by regularly loading your muscle tissues with amino acids supplements.
Summarizing the above theories, we can conclude into two essential factors being important for muscle gain, Stimulation and Repair.
Stimulation comes with the regular contraction of the muscles, while, Repair occurs when new muscle fibers are produced to replace the damaged ones during stimulation. When both these stages are done, you finally achieve that Much-Awaited Muscle growth.
But, again, does all this mean you exceed your protein consumption beyond limits? The answer is No. According to scientific finding, protein intake above 1.2gm per pound bodyweight, does not add anything beneficial to muscle growth. Instead it may add to the risk of dehydration and kidney damage.
Sharon, an independent Food Analyst & a professional blogger. She loves to write on topics about Health Issues, Fitness, Foods and Beverage to help people prevent health issues and stay healthy all their life.