Those well-sculpted muscles, pumped-up biceps and toned body. The muscular cuts and appeal befitting the title of any coveted bodybuilder. This is not a dream! It could be you. Unveiling the many benefits of popular Amino Acids for bodybuilders.
Amino Acids are crucial for muscle growth, development and strength. They are the individual components that make up proteins, which are the building blocks of the human body. Amino acids are those coveted stars in the world of bodybuilding for all those who want to build huge muscles in a short span of time. Having said that, one must remember that Amino acids can only help you with bulkier body goals but results can be achieved with intense and yielding workout sessions. Next to only water, it is these Amino Acids which form major portion of our body weight. There are about 20 Amino Acids out of which some are produced by our body, remaining Amino Acids our body gets from foods. These amino acids that our body cannot produce and gets from food sources are known as Essential Amino Acids or EAAs. The Essential Amino Acids are Phenylalanine, Lysine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Methionine and the three Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)-Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine. There is one more EAA – Histidine which is essential for infants, but not so much for adults. It helps in digestion and influences several metabolic reactions in the body.
Let’s first understand some EAAs crucial to achieving bodybuilding goals:
|EAA||Function||Dosage||Natural Sources||Side-Effects in case of over-dosage|
|Lysine||Used for building muscles and tissues. Helps absorption of calcium, promotes production of enzymes, hormones, antibodies, also Creatinine. Helps during workout against fatigue and extreme stress.||12 mg per kilogram of body weight, per day.||Leafy vegetables, legumes such as soybeans, green beans and fruits like pears, papaya, bananas and apple, Meat and poultry products.||Possible allergic reactions, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea.|
|Phenylalanine||Affects mood & intensity, thus boosts mental energy essential for bodybuilding purposes. Regenerates damaged tissues. Increases Vitamin D absorption from sunlight.||14 mg per kilogram of body weight.||Meats, eggs, legumes, seeds and nuts.||Can cause higher blood pressure, headaches, nausea, heart trouble and nerve damage. Not suitable for pregnant females or lactating mothers.|
|Methionine||Supports healthy liver, also used as an anti-aging supplement. Relieves muscular pain. Increases muscle mass and helps in muscle growth. Eliminates fat.||12 mg per kilogram of body weight.||Meat, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, and seeds. Brazil nuts are an excellent source. Even yummy yogurt is an excellent source.||Can cause nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. Also, can cause allergic reactions.|
|Threonine||Boosts immune system. Prevents build up of fat in liver. Supports normal growth and development. Essential in maintaining proper protein balance. Helps reduce muscle contractions.||Safe to take upto 6 gms a day.||Meat, eggs, dairy products, cottage cheese, and fish. Also found in leafy vegetables, lentils.||Can cause nausea, upset stomach , headache, skin rashes.|
|BCAAs(Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine)||Help in muscle growth and prevent fatigue. Prevent injury and muscle break down during an intense workout. Enhance recovery post workout.||20 gms a day(in prescribed balanced ratio).||Best sources are protein, eggs and egg whites, meat, beans, lentils etc.||None as such, unless you have a medical condition.|
There are some non-essential Amino Acids also, that you need to know about. Though our body produces these non- essential Amino Acids but it can be beneficial to take a little extra dosage of these Amino Acids too.
|Non-Essential Amino Acids||Function||Natural Sources||Who Should Use It||Dosage|
|Alanine||Gives you much-needed strength during a strenuous workout session, relieves fatigue.||Turkey, chicken, soybeans.||Generally athletes who need extra bouts of power and strength go for it. However, if you a regular at gym and want to take your exercise regimen a notch higher, go for it.||<2 gms pre-workout(note that excess dosage may give you tingling sensation).|
|Glutamine||Effective in muscle building, may reduce sugar cravings. Useful for better immune system. Provides energy to cells.||Chicken, fish, spinach, cabbage.||If you exercise excessively.||5-10 gms, before and after workout.|
|Arginine||Increases muscle mass, increases blood flow and muscle pump during workout.||Whole wheat, nuts, seeds, dairy products, poultry, red meat and fish.||Beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders.||3-5 gms before and after workout.|
|Carnitine||Fat loss, reduces fatigue, converts fat into energy. Helps in recovery after exercise.||Red meat and dairy products, avocado, soy products.||As per doctor’s recommendation.||1-3 gms, pre and post workout.|
So, quite possibly this write-up should clear all your doubts about various Amino Acids regarding what they are and how and when to use them.
Choose wisely, consult your trainer/physician and pump it up!