If you are here reading this, then the best guess is that you also admire pumped-up biceps, well-sculpted muscles, and a finely tuned body. Is the guess correct? If yes, then tag along as we learn the benefits and role of amino acids in bodybuilding. Amino acids play a crucial role in optimizing and refining the physique of an individual. But there is more to that and without wasting further time, let’s find out.
What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids, also known as the building blocks of protein, are specialized organic compounds made of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. Our body needs about twenty different amino acids for facilitating seamless growth and functioning of the body.
Of the twenty amino acids, nine are categorized as essential amino acids, and the rest are classified as non-essential amino acids. Unfortunately, our body cannot produce the essential amino acids, and we have to rely on a diet with eggs, meat, and poultry to suffice the need for essential amino acids in our body. Therefore, even many bodybuilders rely on amino acid supplements to enhance their physical performance.
Essential Amino Acids (EEA) and Non-Essential Amino Acids Important For Achieving Bodybuilding Goals
As mentioned earlier, there are two different types of amino acids, namely essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that are very important for the growth of our body, whereas non-essential amino acids are the ones that our body can produce.
In most circumstances, our body can produce these non-essential amino acids even if we do not get them from our diet. As far as bodybuilding is concerned, one must focus on getting both the essential and non-essential amino acids for better outcomes. Therefore, here is an overview of a few basic and non-essential amino acids important for bodybuilding.
- Phenylalanine: Phenylalanine is the perfect nutrient as it is responsible for stimulating the nervous system and elevating an individual’s mood. Further, it increases the level of neurotransmitters known as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
These neurotransmitters are known to enable the nerve system to function optimally. Phenylalanine also helps our body absorb more UV rays from the sunlight, which increases the intake of Vitamin D.
- Histidine: Histidine is essential for ensuring the growth and repair of almost all kinds of tissues. It is also important for facilitating effective production and maintenance of oligo-dendrocytes, which are glial nerve cells wrapped around our nerves, forming a protective sheath known as myelin.
Histidine is also great for enhancing digestion. However, bodybuilders must consume histidine supplements in small doses as an overdose can lead to increased stress and other mental health complications such as schizophrenia and anxiety.
- Lysine: Lysine is one of the most important amino acids as lysine is a must-have ingredient for building our body’s protein. It is no surprise that lysine plays a significant role in maintaining and growth. It plays a vital role in maintaining stable nitrogen levels, retaining healthy body mass in times of fatigue and stress, ensuring enhanced calcium absorption, and more. Further, our body needs lysine for generating hormones, antibodies, collagen, and enzymes.
- Arginine: Arginine is very important for bodybuilding as it is known for its capabilities for boosting physical performance and enhancing the body’s immune system. It is also responsible for the production of polyamine, nitric oxide, and creatine.
Increased levels of nitric oxide can be beneficial for enhancing blood circulation, which in turn enhances the capability to exercises and even maintain a healthy heart. Consuming arginine supplements can enhance the rate of muscle protein synthesis and hasten the wound healing process.
- Leucine: Our body requires leucine in huge quantities as it is crucial for both protein synthesis and other different metabolic functions. It is crucial for carrying out functions such as ensuring balanced utilization of energy, regulating the level of blood sugar, enhancing the growth and repair of tissues present in bones, skin, and skeletal muscle.
Lastly, leucine also prevents muscle proteins from breaking down extensively. Increasing the consumption of leucine can help bodybuilders get the most out of their workouts.
- Isoleucine: Isoleucine is very similar to leucine in many ways. It promotes the recovery of muscles, stimulates the release of human growth hormone (HGH), and regulates blood sugar. Isoleucine supplements can be great for hastening hemoglobin production, which is very much responsible for forming blood clots.
We need blood clots to form fast because it is the body’s first defense against infections that can be caused due to open wounds. People with liver or kidney disorders must refrain from overdosing on isoleucine supplements, leading to further complications.
- Citrulline: Our body utilizes citrulline to produce arginine. This means that consuming citrulline supplements can have a larger and notable impact on the body than taking arginine supplements. Further, it also increases the production of nitric acid, which helps facilitate the seamless flow of blood throughout the body.
And as we all know, seamless blood circulation yield a lot of benefits while exercising. Opting for a supplement with an increased citrulline concentration means that bodybuilders do not have to worry much about arginine supplements.
- Valine: Valine is another essential amino acid that effectively enhances the growth and repair of muscles. Furthermore, valine has many individual functions, such as ensuring the smooth and uninterrupted functioning of cognitive functions and the nervous system and even maintaining the ideal nitrogen level in the body.
It further provides our body with the required glucose enabling energy production and preventing the breaking down of muscle tissues. This makes valine supplements perfect for bodybuilders who are constantly working and burning energy to enhance muscle growth.
Bodybuilders require a lot of nutrients, energy, and supplements to support the growth of their bodies. Amino acid supplements with all the specific essential and non-essential amino acids mentioned above can help the body grow at an exponential rate. However, always consult a physician and consume the supplements in the correct dosages to prevent adverse effects from overdosing on different amino acids. In addition, it is recommended to increase the intake of amino acids on workout days to get the best results.