Amino Acid Supplement Benefits | What are they?

Amino Acid Supplement Benefits

Amino acid supplement benefits are backed by plenty of research verifying the hype of these dietary supplements in health and fitness. 

Getting enough amino acids into your diet is crucial for supporting overall health.

These building blocks for protein enhance recovery, promote muscle growth, and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). And that’s not all!

In this article, we’ll dive into the amazing amino acid supplement benefits and why you should add them to your daily routine for exceptional health and fitness results. 

What Are Essential Amino Acids? 

Organic compounds in the human body are made of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen. Amino acids play a vital role in the body’s functions. 

Nine amino acids are not synthesized by mammals, making them crucial nutrients referred to as “essential amino acids.” These nine essential amino acids include:

  • Phenylalanine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Isoleucine
  • Histidine
  • Threonine
  • Lysine
  • Valine
  • Tryptophan 

Taking amino acid supplements is often encouraged due to the importance of these organic molecules that support wound healing and immune function processes. They are the building blocks of dietary proteins used when the body breaks down food. They also help repair muscle tissue, form proteins, and provide energy. 

A photo of amino acids arranged in the shape of a human.

Amino Acid Supplement Benefits

Adding essential amino acid supplementation to your daily regimen is highly recommended due to the outstanding overall health benefits, like muscle growth and recovery. We’ll continue to discuss what precisely can benefit from incorporating an amino acid supplement into your routine below! 

Enhanced Muscle Growth

Essential amino acids are the building blocks for muscle protein synthesis. Therefore, they are heavily responsible for muscle growth and repair, especially for those training for an increase in muscle mass. 

There are three essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are part of the nine essential amino acids, including valine, leucine, and isoleucine. Branched-chain amino acids have been consistently shown to enhance muscle growth by increasing muscle protein synthesis post-workout. 

Improved Athletic Performance

Essential amino acids are linked to improved exercise performance for athletes and gym goers, hence why it is so important to take amino acid supplements. Leucine, one of the nine essential amino acids, has significantly improved endurance performance and upper body power. 

Another study showed that supplementing with BCAAs helped reduce the rate of perceived exhaustion (RPE) for better endurance and energy. This is beneficial in sustaining higher workloads for enhanced athletic performance.

Facilitation of Healthy Weight Loss

A balanced diet of amino acids is often touted for supporting fat metabolism for improved lean body mass and healthy weight loss. 

By supplementing with amino acids daily, it was discovered that body fat percentage decreased significantly in men who strength trained regularly. The difference was significant compared to men who incorporated sports drinks or whey protein into their post-workout fuel. 

Other studies have attempted to research the benefit of amino acid supplementation on fat loss. Results have been mixed on how amino acid supplementation effectively burns fat. More studies need to be done to address the efficacy of amino acids in helping to facilitate healthy weight loss. 

Boost Mood

Amino acid supplements have been linked to boosts in overall mood. The essential amino acid called tryptophan is one of the precursor elements linked that converts into serotonin.

Serotonin is the “happy” chemical responsible for feelings of calm, well-being, and happiness. When serotonin levels are low, concerns such as insomnia, mood swings, depression, and anxiety can occur. 

Amino acids are an important part of the body’s processes because they support mood-regulating chemicals that are crucial for maintaining one’s mental health. While tryptophan aids in creating serotonin for the body, the amino acid tyrosine is responsible for the body’s processes in making dopamine, the “feel good” hormone part of the body’s reward system. 

Eating foods high in amino acids and supplementing with essential amino acids not found in food can be an active maneuver to protect, maintain, and improve one’s mental health on the chemical level. 

Faster Muscle Recovery

All in all, amino acids are crucial for nutrient absorption and protein digestibility. They are important for muscle function and the reduction of muscle breakdown. Furthermore, they are useful for recovery and muscle maintenance, repairing body tissue, and building muscle mass. 

One study determined that amino acid supplementation with around 60% BCAA was productive in decreasing muscle damage and soreness when consumed before or during recovery days after a workout. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is believed to be related to the connective tissue of the associated muscles rather than solely the muscles themselves. 

Supplementing amino acids, particularly BCAAs, has been consistently shown to prevent muscle damage. This function reduces the severity of DOMS and downtime required in-between sessions for a speedier recovery. 

Risks and Side Effects of Amino Acids Supplementation

There are risks and side effects associated with amino acid supplementation to be aware of before adding these into your routine. 

Headache and nausea are the most common side effects that can be caused by consuming amino acids long-term. Another typical side effect is water retention, which typically occurs in the beginning stages of supplementation. Others have reported issues such as muscle cramps, liver dysfunction, and gastrointestinal distress

Consult with your doctor before beginning amino acid supplementation. This is a necessary precaution to avoid any potential issues. 

Nonessential vs. Essential Amino Acids–What’s The Difference? 

There are a few critical differences between essential and nonessential amino acids, like where they are found and their importance in the body’s natural processes. 

Nonessential amino acids are naturally produced by the body. They are not required by the body to function efficiently, though they are beneficial to consume due to the benefits they provide. 

The eleven nonessential amino acids include:

  • Cysteine
  • Asparagine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Arginine
  • Alanine
  • Tyrosine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Glycine
  • Glutamine
  • Aspartic acid 

The body cannot produce essential amino acids in its natural processes. The only way they can be consumed is through supplements or food.. 

A diet or lifestyle lacking in amino acids can result in a plethora of concerns, including:

  • Depression
  • Deficit immunity 
  • Fertility issues
  • Digestive concerns
  • Fatigue
  • Premature death
  • Accelerated aging

The importance of amino acids for overall health is evident, and next, we’ll discuss which foods contain amino acids so you can reap the health benefits of all the amino acids! 

A powder scoop with amino acids on it. There are also some capsules around the scoop.

Which Foods Have Amino Acids?

As we’ve discussed, the body does not produce essential amino acids naturally. They must be consumed through food or supplements. 

Eating a nutrient-rich, balanced diet of animal proteins, nuts, beans, grains, seeds, and soy effectively incorporates amino acids into your diet. Most helpful, specific foods called “complete proteins” contain all nine essential amino acids.

Examples of complete proteins include:

  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Soy
  • Tempeh
  • Spirulina 

An incomplete protein will only have some of the nine essential amino acids compared to a  complete protein which contains all of them in varying amounts. Some examples of incomplete proteins include:

  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Adjustments can be made in a person’s diet to add amino acids for better nutrition. Combining two incomplete protein sources to incorporate incomplete proteins makes “complementary” proteins. Complementary proteins can be an effective maneuver used to consume all the essential amino acids and the benefits they reap. 

How to Choose the Best Amino Acid Supplements

To get enough essential amino acids, it’s crucial to eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients and other amino acids into your diet. 

Another option, which can be more efficient than constantly going out of your way to eat amino acid-containing foods, is to integrate amino acid supplements into your daily routine. Continue reading to find out what to look for when picking your amino acid supplement!

Ensure It Contains BCAAs

When searching for an amino acid supplement to add to your daily routine, it’s crucial to ensure that the product contains the three essential amino acids or BCAAs–leucine, valine, and isoleucine. 

As we’ve discussed earlier in the article, these amino acids provide outstanding health benefits, including:

  • Reduced muscle soreness
  • Enhanced muscle growth
  • Decreased exercise fatigue
  • Prevents muscle wasting

Verify Brand Transparency

Researching the brand you plan to purchase from is crucial to avoid any potential hazards, such as harmful hidden ingredients. Buying a product like amino acids from a brand with a hyped reputation of satisfied customers and science-backed transparency in its labeling builds trust between consumer and producer. 

There are red flags to avoid when purchasing supplements. Brands may tout “clean” or “high-quality” ingredients while providing the opposite. Do the research and see if the brand is backing up the claims they make for their products to ensure you get what you’re paying for!

Summary

Taking amino acid supplements can do wonders for your health and fitness journey. Research has consistently shown the benefits reaped from consuming amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Adding them to your daily regimen is necessary to upgrade results in and out of the gym. 

On our site, you can find the best nine amino acid supplements in 2023 to choose from to begin your journey for enhanced health and fitness! 

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

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