Amino acids

Amino acids are the basic building blocks of all proteins 

Amino acids may rightly be called the building blocks of life. Their role as the basis for muscle building blocks makes them popular and sought after by athletes. But beyond that, they fulfill many other important roles in the body. So it's worth taking a closer look at this important group of nutrients. With the necessary knowledge, amino supplements can be used even better. So it's time to take a closer look at these organic acids.

Amino acids - A short portrait

A whole range of different amino acids occur in nature. Not all of them are made Proteins built up. Those that form the basic material for complex protein molecules are also called proteinogenic. In humans, there are only 21 aminos that make up all the proteins our bodies need. Of these, only 2 or well over 2000 can combine to form a molecule.If the body needs amino acids, it can obtain them in two ways: it takes them in with food or it synthesizes them itself from other food building blocks. All amino acids that our organism can produce itself are called non-essential. The opposite pole are the essential amino acids, which we have to take in with food. A third group is formed by the so-called semi-essential amino acids. In times of increased demand, the body's ability to synthesize these acids can reach its limits, so that it must take them in additionally with food to cover its needs.

About the assignment of some Amino acids to the essential or semi-essential aminos is discussed again and again. However, this classification has proven itself:

10 non-essential amino acids:

8 essential amino acids:

3 semi-essential amino acids:

The basic structure of these acids is always the same. The center is formed by a carbon atom with four bonds. One bond is occupied by a hydrogen atom, one by a carboxyl group, one by the eponymous amino group and one by a residue. The residue is what makes the individual amino acid molecules different, while the amino group acts as the indispensable nitrogen supplier.

The roles of amino acids in the body

Life would not be possible without these nutrient building blocks. Whether we're playing intense sports or lounging comfortably on the couch, our bodies need - and consume - them every second.

Without Aminos it does not work

Prominent is of course their role in muscle building and maintenance. But the capabilities of these small, organic multi-talents are by no means exhausted. Without amino acids, for example, our metabolism would come to a standstill, because they form many necessary transport and carrier molecules for oxygen, Vitamins and many other substances. In the immune system, they are very important in the production of antibodies, among other things. Hormones can also be made up of them. Amino acids in these forms support, among other things, blood circulation, the regulation of blood sugar levels and the immune system. They can even influence our mood.

They are also involved in the formation of various body tissues. As a component of so-called scaffolding proteins, they give our body its structure in the form of keratin, elastin and collagen.

Amino acids for athletes

Due to their basic functions, amino acids become the best training partner for ambitious athletes. By offering quickly available building materials, they promote muscle building. As a metabolic component, they support, among other things, the glycogen build-up. Faster more glycogen means faster more instant energy reserves for the body, which it can then call up during training. Thus, amino acids also become real performance boosters and help to optimally complete even longer, intense training sessions.

Since they are essentially involved in the building of tissues, a good availability of amino acids also supports the regeneration of the body after the training or competition load. A lack of certain acids can cause the mind to go into turmoil. If the body is optimally supplied, it can Aminos Conversely, however, also lead to a positive kick in the head and thus give the athlete more mental energy for a good workout.

amino acid deficiency

Whether the body gets enough amino acids depends on the one hand on the diet, but on the other hand also on his need by type, length and intensity of training. The more intense and longer the training, the higher the need for these multi-talents. If these nutrients are lacking, this quickly becomes noticeable. Tiredness and reduced performance are typical signs. Since building materials are missing, regeneration can also be noticeably longer in the case of a deficiency. Last but not least, the partial lack of the nutrient also affects the immune system. A higher susceptibility to infections is therefore a classic symptom of deficiency.

Amino acids - sources for the body

All foods that contain protein, provide the body with Amino acids - but basically in bound form in the complex protein molecule. The value of the amino acid profile of a food or food combination is determined by the extent to which the profile corresponds to the body's requirements in the percentage proportions of the individual acids. Rich sources of protein, and therefore amino acids, include:

  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Wild
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Quark
  • Legumes
  • Nuts

Some cereals and vegetables also contain significant amounts of Egg white. They can therefore complement a protein meal well for a balanced amino acid profile.

Amino acids in sports nutrition

If the supply via the above-mentioned protein donors is not sufficient, the amino acids from sports nutrition come into play. The preparations help to close specific gaps. In addition, they bring the athletes but even more advantages. Many protein-rich foods are also relatively high in fat and cholesterol. As a dietary supplement, amino acid supplements manage without this often undesirable accompanying substance. The same applies to calories. The pure amino acids do not add to the calories from fats or carbohydrates. This also allows the calorie intake for the diet plan to be planned and distributed much more effectively.

The biggest advantage of free amino acids, however, is their rapid availability in the metabolism. While dietary proteins must first be broken down into amino acids in complex processes, the organism can absorb the free variant immediately. Since protein digestion can take several hours depending on the accompanying substances, this also makes amino acid preparations much easier in terms of the desired time of availability.

The great variety of amino acid preparations in sports nutrition is also due to their highly diverse composition. Each composition can develop its own unique effects. BCAAs for instance, help prevent muscle breakdown by providing a quick source of these Amino acids and the body is not forced to get these from the muscle protein when needed. Other compositions are aimed more at promoting fat loss, are intended to stimulate the appetite or support physical and mental performance. Still other products, such as those containing lysine, can stimulate cell and muscle development, support the storage of calcium and strengthen the immune system.

Areas of application of amino acids as a food supplement

Amino acids are used in different compositions for a whole range of athletic and health goals, including:

  • Muscle building
  • Reduction of body fat
  • supportive treatment of depression
  • Help with sleep disorders
  • supportive for chronic headaches

The role of amino acids in muscle building is simple enough. They are taken over by the metabolism into the blood and transported to the muscles, where they are consumed in building processes. In this way they support the maximum muscle build-up that is possible through a set training stimulus. More complex are the connections between amino acids and fat reduction. Here above all the proteinogenic Amino acids lysine and phenylalanine and the non-proteinogenic amino acids arginine and ornithine in focus. On the one hand, they stimulate the production of growth hormones, which attack the fat deposits and increase fat burning.

Due to these effects, they are now also used for obesity, i.e. morbid obesity. Phenylalanine is also involved in the release of the hormone cholecystokinin. This messenger substance is essential in the regulation of appetite, as it triggers a stimulus in the intestine that tells the brain "the body is full". Another Amino acidTryptophan influences the serotinin level in the body and is therefore of great importance for our mood. That is why it is used in preparations against depression, among other things.

Pharmaceutical forms of free amino acids

Thanks to extensive research and product development, the sports nutrition industry now comes up with absolute high-tech products that are not only optimally adapted in their composition to various goals. Rather, here was also thought of the comfort and practicality in their use. Consumption should be as quick and easy as possible, as it takes place either directly before training or even during training. Therefore, the market mainly provides liquids or tablets and capsules to choose from.

While liquids immediately go into the blood, tablets release their amino acids gradually and thus supply the organism with the nutrients for longer. Liquids are also a variant for all tablet haters. Those who have problems with large capsules can switch to tablets, as they can be divided if necessary. But some athletes don't like that either. Then liquids - although not as long lasting - are a good alternative.

BCAA and EAA - Amino Acid Latin

In sports nutrition, fixed abbreviations have become established for some combinations. These include the abbreviations BCAA and EAA. BCAA stands for the English "Branched Chain Amino Acid". This formula contains the three amino acids: L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine. Since our muscles are composed of about 35% of these three acids, these supplements support, among other things, muscle building and maintenance. They also promote the release of the growth hormone STH and insulin. These two are indispensable if muscle building has been set as a training goal. This also explains the great popularity of BCAAs in bodybuilding. At the same time, they help the body in regeneration and delay fatigue in training.

EAA is also an abbreviation from the English and stands for "Essential Amino Acids". As the name already says, these products from sports nutrition bring essential amino acids. Amino acids and thus support the coverage of requirements. This helps to avoid a deficiency of these substances, which the body cannot produce or cannot produce in sufficient quantities.