Amino acids are a popular performance supplement and for good reason. With benefits such as improved sleep, mood, and exercise performance, you’ll want to take them too.
But what are amino acids and how can we use them to get more energy for our next workout?
What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks for protein. There are 20 different types and our body can make 11 of them. The other 9 amino acids are considered essential, meaning we must obtain them from the foods we eat.
The 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) are histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, and valine.
You can find amino acids in foods that contain protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and soy.
Animal protein sources contain all 9 of the EAAs, whereas most plant proteins, such as nuts, seeds, and beans, are low or lacking in one or more of the 9, except for soy.
When a food contains all 9 EAAs it is considered a complete protein source.
Why do People Take Amino Acids Supplements?
Some people take amino acid supplements to help supplement their diet. Those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet might benefit from an amino acid supplement to ensure they are getting adequate protein, especially during resistance training.
Other people might take amino acid supplements to help improve athletic performance. Certain EAAs, such as branched-chain amino (BCAAs), have been shown to improve muscle growth and reduce soreness during training.
BCAAs refer to the EAAs that contain a chemical structure that is branched. Recent research is starting to lean more towards EAA supplements over BCAA supplements for performance benefits.
This is likely because all EAA supplements contain branched-chain amino acids along with the rest of the 9, versus a BCAA supplement that only contains those 4 essential amino acids.
Taking an essential amino acids supplement like Naked EAAS can help boost energy levels and performance during your next workout while also aiding in recovery.
Do Amino Acids Actually Help in the Gym?
Exercise creates tiny tears in the muscle tissue that require protein to replenish and repair that torn tissue so it can grow bigger and stronger the next time you do that activity.
Without adequate protein in the form of all 9 EAAs, your muscles won’t be able to grow, and recovery will take longer.
Although you can get all the EAAs you need from your diet in most cases, those who are extremely active may have difficulty eating enough protein sources throughout the day.
Choosing an EAA supplement helps to ensure you meet your needs. Amino acids are also more easily absorbed by the body. They can get to your muscles faster to boost energy and recovery.
Can I Take Amino Acids on an Empty Stomach?
Some people suggest taking EAA supplements on an empty stomach to help the nutrients get into your bloodstream faster, however, research is lacking in this area.
EAAs are safe to take on an empty stomach or with food, depending on what works best for you and your workout.
For example, someone who is focusing on endurance is going to want to include some form of carbohydrates before exercise.
Someone who is exclusively lifting and prefers to exercise on an empty stomach may omit food with their EAAs.
When Should I Take Amino Acids?
EAAs can be taken before, during, or after a workout. Although it won’t harm you to take EAAs at any time of day, you will get the most benefit from taking them within a short period of your workout to replenish what is lost during exercise.
EAAs are easy to take. The most common form is a powdered supplement that can be easily mixed into water or a sports drink.
Are Amino Acids Safe?
Amino acids are naturally found in food sources and are required in the human diet. Taking an EAA supplement is considered safe for most individuals.
It is important to note that not all supplements are treated the same. Watch out for products that contain a lot of fillers and additives such as added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.
Always speak to your healthcare provider before adding any supplement to your routine, especially if you suffer from any chronic health conditions.
Bottom Line on Amino Acids Supplements
EAAs play an important role in muscle synthesis and repair. 9 amino acids cannot be made by the body and are therefore required from our diet, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, and valine.
EAA supplements are a great way to boost energy and recovery during your workouts. You can take them before, during, or after a workout as long as you take them within a short period of activity to get the most benefits.
EAAs are safe, effective, and easy for the body to absorb. Be careful about the supplement you choose and make sure they don’t include any unnecessary additives.