Amino acids are essential in my opinion when discussing your muscles true potential, and for that matter your body’s overall wellness as a whole. Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA’s) elevate protein synthesis, boost your immune system, and aid recovery. While the list of aminos can seem lengthy, most blends include at least 3 key amino acids:
*Sometimes a fourth in glutamine, if not supplemented on its own.
More often than not, L-Leucine is more abundant, and for good reason. It is considered a “limiting nutrient”; meaning it needs to be supplied by a specific amount in relation to other aminos to assimilate protein in the body. Fancy talk for it won’t work 100% if it isn’t the most abundant. This amino helps maintain nitrogen balance and activates major anabolic pathways. This comes back to working in conjunction with protein that holds a premium BV and capitalizing on nitrogen retention. L-Valine plays a role in glucose metabolism, protein synthesis and immune support. L-Isoleucine aids in muscle recovery post workout and helps with insulin sensitivity. Glutamine is the most profuse amino acid in the body and the most prevalent in the intestinal lining, improving overall gut health. Aside supporting digestion, it also supports the immune system assisting in decreased inflammation. When you overtrain your glutamine levels drop, subsequently increasing catabolic stress hormones. Having stress increase leads to cortisol increases, which then has muscles taking a back seat when trying to protect the body and preserve its state. Cortisol is the counter to insulin in that it’s primary directive is to break down opposed to build. You can see where this becomes counterproductive in trying to build or maintain muscle. Glutamine also accelerates the production of glycogenic restoration. When you train hard you deplete the sugar stored up in your muscles. You can only hope that your eating habits are re-energizing these depleted storages. All of this comes full circle when you properly supplement after making sure you are properly hydrated with lots of water and nourished well with clean eating. Supplementing amino’s for me follows a similar standard as creatine:
-5,000 mg (Leucine/2,500, valine/1250, isoleucine/1250) x 1 on days with no training
-10,000 mg (5,000 on 2 seperate occasions, pre then post workout)