Essential Amino Acid supplements
Essential Amino Acid supplements help muscles repair and grow bigger and stronger, so it's vital that you consume them when needed, says Ollie Teenan.
Essential Amino Acids are the basic building blocks needed for the body to synthesise proteins. They are referred to as "essential" because the body isn't able to synthesise them from other sources - the only way we can obtain them is by consuming them in our diet, either in foods that are naturally rich in them or via special Essential Amino Acid supplements
Post-training our body needs to repair the micro tears caused by stressing the muscles. These need to be repaired, which is why our muscles can feel sore for a few days following a heavy session.
The amino acids you consume, usually in protein or Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) form are released by digestion and synthesised into protein. Therefore consuming essential amino acids is important for muscle growth, increased strength and to ensure full recovery, which in turn will improve performance.
Essential Amino Acids in foods
There are eight essential amino acids, out of a total 20 amino acids, including histidine, isoleucine and leucine, which are present in most protein supplements, whether using whey protein, BCAA tablets or BCAA Powder.
Natural food sources are from foods high in protein, from the obvious sources of lean meat and fish to the alternative high protein sources such as tofu, beans, nuts and seeds. It is important to eat a range of sources of these foods in order to get the adequate range of essential amino acids.
The other way to ensure you get enough is to use specialist Essential Amino Acid supplements. Essential Amino Acid supplements are typically mixed with water or fruit juice (to mask the taste) and consumed two or three times a day.
EAAs and Essential Amino Acid supplements
It is important to note the amount of each essential amino acid required by the body is different and specific to the amino acid and as with all nutrition, specific to the needs of the consumer and the type of training.
Age, health and pregnancy also have a huge implication on the requirements of the consumers body, teenagers and younger athletes need a much larger intake than elderly. The rate of protein synthesis, and therefore the required intake of essential amino acids increases with age until growth, muscular and skeletal ceases, and then decreases with age.
Training causes an increase in muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein break down. The net muscle protein synthesis is what most people are concerned about, as it is the overall increase in muscle volume. To get the best results from training many experiments have shown that training paired with protein ingestion will provide the most significant results.
Muscle protein break down stops soon after exercise, whilst muscle protein synthesis will continue way beyond 48 hours post exercise. Therefore it is advisable not only to ensure you have essential amino acids immediately after exercise but you also consume higher levels throughout the next two days post exercise. For most athletes training daily or every other day this means that a high protein diet becomes a way of life.
Essential Amino Acid deficiency
The protein we consume contains a range of amino acids, some the body doesn't need and can't use, some the body can use and the essential ones the body needs. Like most people striving to achieve their goals I check I am eating a range of types or proteins to ensure my body can recover and grow in the best and fastest way possible.
The differing amino acid structures determine what each is used for, and what place it has in the body. Essential amino acids are required for growth of muscles, fibrous connective tissue and are used by every single cell in your body.
Therefore a deficiency of these is hugely detrimental to the health of the individual as the body cannot perform normal body processes, hence the term 'Essential'.
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