What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are commonly referred to as the "building blocks of protein." The properties of each protein are determined by the amino acids within that protein. Humans need 20 amino acids but can only produce 10 of those. The 10 which cannot be produced are referred to as essential amino acids, and you must consume them through food. Failure to do so will cause your body to break down your proteins and muscles in search of the amino acid it desires.
You have your mind set. You are sticking with your intense exercise program until you reach your desired results. Your only setback is the discomfort you feel in your muscles after a hard workout, and it seems impossible to get an equally hard workout every time. You wonder if there is any way for your muscles to recover more quickly. Scientists have good news for you. Research suggests that muscle recovery may be expedited by the consumption of amino acids
How Exercise Affects Amino Acids
Proteins are not often used as a fuel source during exercise. This job is primarily left to carbohydrates and fats. However, amino acid catabolism--the breakdown of amino acids to release energy--is increased during exercise. According to Dr. Richard B. Kreider in his article published in "Sports Science Journal" in 1999, Branched Chain Amino Acids--leucine, isoleucine and valine--are used by the muscles during endurance exercise. The decrease in BCAAs may lead to fatigue, ultimately shortening the length of the exercise bout. The majority of research points to changes in muscle proteins after exercise, noting that synthesis and breakdown are both increased.
Supplementation of Amino Acids
Some amino acids may cause an increase in growth hormone release and insulin secretion. Supplementing these amino acids through diet may create the same effect. Kreider noted in his article that supplementation of BCAAs may eliminate the exercise-induced decline in glutamine, as well as the breakdown of proteins and the release of muscle enzymes. These results can decrease damage to the muscle caused by exercise.