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Why are amino acids so important to both fat loss, muscle building, and general health? Because protein, which is essential to all those goals, is made up of amino acids. When protein is digested in the body, it is broken down into various amino acids depending on the type and source of protein.
Amino acids are broken into Essential, those the body cannot make on its own, and Non-Essential, those the body can make on its own. Animal sourced proteins have all essential amino acids whereas most plant based proteins do not and thus a variety of plant based protein sources must be consumed in order to obtain all the essential amino acids needed.
It is also vitally important that you consume the right amount and types of vitamins and minerals to ensure proper breakdown of these proteins into the required amounts of amino acids your body can use.
Essential Amino Acids
Histidine: This amino acid has limited uses for muscle growth and fat loss but is used in the body for growth and repair, protection of parts of the nervous system, and creation of red and white blood cells.
Lysine: This amino acid helps in the synthesis and repair of muscle, fights fatigue and balances the effects of overtraining, and helps place your body in an anabolic state by producing a positive nitrogen balance.
Phenylalanine: This amino acid helps to stimulate a positive emotional state by promoting release of ephedrine and stimulates the nervous system, helps increase vitamin D release from sun exposure, and aids in optimal contraction and relaxation of the muscles during exercise.
Methionine: This amino acid aids in the breakdown of fat, improved digestion, and also has anti-oxidizing properties.
BCAAs: Branched Chain Amino Acids are comprised of three of the most vital amino acids in the formation and repair of muscle. Leucine, Iso-Leucine, and Valine work together in specific ratios which provide the greatest benefit from these amino acids. Although ratios of these BCAAs range from 2:1:2 to 12:1:1, the higher amount of Leucine has been proven to have the greatest benefit to muscle recovery and the prevention of muscle breakdown. BCAAs are beneficial intra-workout to help prevent muscle breakdown and reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soarness (DOMS).
Threonine: This amino acid aids in the absorption of proteins, maintenance of muscle and vital to overall good health, including improved liver function and immune support.
Non-Essential Amino Acids
There are 14 Non-Essential Amino Acids. However, of those, 5 are important to discuss in terms of muscle growth, fat loss, and general health.
Glutamine: This amino acid aids in preserving existing muscle and acts as an alternate energy source in conditions when blood glucose is low, as when dieting or eating less carbohydrates. Glutamine also aids in digestion and decreases cravings for carbohydrates and sugars.
Arginine: This amino acid aids in retaining nitrogen in the blood which further supports a positive nitrogen balance and this anabolic state. It also enhances the immune system and supports manufacture of growth hormone.
Carnitine: This amino acid aids in the production of ATP, or the energy used by muscle tissue, and the minimizing of fat buildup around the muscle.
Cysteine: This amino acid aids in the metabolism of B-vitamins, detoxifies the body from damage due to other supplements, and potentiating insulin.
HMB: Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methyl Butyrate is derived from Leucine and is a more readily used form by the muscle tissue. HMB has been proven to be more effective than BCAAs in maintaining an anabolic state especially when training fastest because it is a more easily used form. HMB is crucial for those cutting or seeking fat loss while training with heavy weights.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.
Amino Acids / BCAA