Amino acids are popularly referred to as the building blocks of proteins for a good reason. They provide many beneficial effects on our overall well-being, which includes maintaining the health of the heart, brain, and liver. Today, they are well-known because of their effects on our muscles, and it has created quite a stir to the health community. Of course, the popular of which is the BCAA and lysine. But what are the amino acids needed for muscle growth? In this article, we will tackle the amino acids that may help you developed a leaner muscle mass and their other health benefits.
Top Amino Acids Needed For Muscle Growth
Branched-chain amino acids (valine, leucine, isoleucine)
BCAAs are probably the most well-known supplements that aid muscle development and aid faster recovery after workouts.
They are termed as branched-chain amino acids because unlike other types of acids, they have a slightly different molecular structure which diverts to another side.
They play a major role and critical for muscle growth. 14% of amino acids which can be found in the body’s muscle tissues are BCAAs.
BCAAs are essential amino acids which means that you need to consume them through dietary supplements or foods. Some examples of food sources include eggs, fish, poultry meat, beef, fish, and dairy products.
The most popular trend today is consuming BCAAs through dietary supplements. This is especially common in individuals with an active physical lifestyle. Recent studies have suggested that BCAAs supplements can improve muscle mass and lessen the effects of muscle loss. Also, it speeds up your recovery time after an intense exercise.
Some of the top BCAA supplement brands today include Xtend, Optimum Nutrition, BPI Sports, and Cellucor.
Although BCAAs are critical for muscle development, studies are stating that consuming high amounts of protein may affect BCAA’s efficacy.
Lysine is one of the amino acids needed for muscle growth, prevents loss of muscle mass, and may improve your endurance level during physical workouts. It’s stored in the skeletal muscles and has a major contribution to the growth and maintenance of skeletal muscles.
Lysine is an essential amino acid. Its daily consumption is required for the body to function. Daily recommended allowance for lysine is about 0.85 grams per day in adults. However, persons with an active lifestyle may take as high as 1 gram to 3 grams in a day. If lysine is consumed in excess, it may cause abdominal pains.
In foods, you can obtain them from meat products such as fish, chicken, pork, and beef. Other food sources include beans, dairy, and soy products. You may also get your daily doses through dietary supplements.
When we undergo intense workouts, aside from calories burned, our body also loses muscle mass. Lysine helps to prevent further loss of muscle tissues. It also aids faster recovery after your workout session or from muscle injury due to excess training.
Other health benefits include improvement in the production of hormones and regulating nitrogen levels in our bloodstream.
Alanine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that our body naturally synthesizes them. It is found in plasma in large amounts. It plays a major role in improving brain health and boosting our immune system and helps in the conversion of sugars into glucose, then burning them for energy afterward.
Main food sources come from meats and other meat-based products such as fish and poultry. Beta-alanine in supplementary forms is also available in the market.
Today, alanine has become increasingly popular among individuals with active lifestyles. It promotes muscle growth and aids in the prevention of the loss of muscle tissues. Researches have shown that taking in an amount of 4 grams daily in 2 months can significantly improve the body’s mass.
In another study, it states that incorporating alanine supplements in your daily diet and accompanying it with intense interval training can lead to increased muscle mass. They further discussed that in 6 weeks, a person may experience an improved muscle mass by an estimated 1 pound.
This type of amino acid is generally classified as non-essential but also considered as conditionally essential. This is because it depends on other amino acids for its synthesization.
While it may be true that we naturally have them, it may be beneficial to athletes and gym-goers.
You may obtain them through dietary supplements or food sources. Primary food sources include beef, poultry meat, fish, whole wheat grains, dairy product, nuts, and seeds.
Arginine provides a major contribution to protein synthesis. It also stimulates the production of nitric oxide which helps dilate blood vessels. Hence, arginine is vital in cellular activities and muscle growth.
It transmits signals to cells in the muscle tissues, which aid fat burning and triggers the release of growth hormones. This process leads to a much leaner and slender muscle mass. Metabolized fats are believed to improve endurance and boost energy.
It may also be helpful in the treatment of hypertension, heart disorders, and erectile dysfunction.
Beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyric (HMB) acid
HMB acid is the metabolized version of leucine amino acid. It is considered as non-essential, although it is synthesized through leucine. However, its consumption as dietary supplements may provide many health benefits, which may include muscle development.
HMB is available in a supplementary form and obtainable in food sources like catfish, asparagus, avocados, cauliflower, and grapefruit.
Like its precursor, this compound also contributes to protein synthesis. It is an important addition in the diet of athletes or active peoples because it can reduce muscle loss.
Studies are claiming that a daily intake of about 3 grams to 6 grams may enhance muscle mass during intense training.
However, there are also studies contradicting this particular claim saying that it may not be effective for individuals with experience in intense physical workouts like weight lifting.
This means that HMB supplements may only be effective on people who are just beginning their weight lifting training. Thus, HMBs may render useless as the individual moves on with the training.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. It’s commonly found in the stomach, skeletal tissues, liver, brain, lungs, and heart. Among the 20 basic amino acids, glutamine has the most dominant presence in the human body accounting for about 60% and 50% in the blood.
Its responsibilities include strengthening the immune system, maintain muscle tissues, support the production of hormones, and improve digestive health.
Glutamine may help you developed a leaner muscle mass but it may not be effective in young people or middle-aged men. Studies have shown that it has significant effects on our elderly.