Amino acids are critical for muscle growth; they get formed when the proteins you eat get broken down during digestion to form amino acids. There are a total of 20 different amino acids in our bodies and 9 of them are called essential amino acids, which means our bodies can't make them and we need to get them from our food or drink.
The 9 essentials are important for muscle growth, the important ones are leucine, isoleucine, lycine, methionine, histidine, phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan, and threonine. Although benefits of taking oral doses of these essential amino acids have still not been proven, we should understand why it should work.
There are two sides to the amino acid supplementation argument for any natural bodybuilder. The one side says that amino acid supplementation will enhance muscle growth and the other side says, if you're eating protein then amino acids supplementation is a waste of time and money. We will briefly look at these two arguments.
Sports science has established that all the required physiological processes necessary for muscle growth are improved with additional supplementation of BCAA, L-leucine, L-arginine and L-carnitine. In order to present the argument for taking amino acids we first need to consider the definition of hypertrophy.
Muscle growth, muscle hypertrophy happens when the muscle gets larger, but this hypertrophy can happen for two reasons. The first reason being the increase of the muscle cells, the size of these cells can swell when a pump is achieved, or the size of the muscle fiber increases. The second reason for muscle hypertrophy is something called hyperplasia, which is an increase in the amount of muscle cells or muscle fibers.
It really depends which side of the fence you sit because there are many bodybuilders who believe that if you're eating enough protein during your day, then the need for amino acids is no longer required. Amino acids are expensive so there's a lot of support for this side of the fence.
The argument from sports scientists is that it will increase your rate of recovery because even if you do have enough protein, it's a slow process to get it converted into usable amino acids. The hyperplasia argument works better for the pro amino acid supplementation for the following reasons.
Firstly, when someone has a lot of muscle they will have an increased energy demand, because larger muscles will consume more energy it makes sense to try and lose fat while gaining muscle. Secondly hyperplasia may not result in immediate muscle growth, but for sustainable muscle growth hyperplasia is required.
In conclusion, the argument for taking supplemental amino acids may be stronger for some people who see a noticeable difference when they take amino acids on a regular basis. The argument for never needing to take amino acids if you eating protein six times is day is also a very strong argument. The bottom line is that if you can afford them, they will increase the effectiveness of your training.
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This information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.