The Role Amino Acids Play in the Athletic Body
What are amino acids? What role do amino acids play in the body? How amino acids help with athletic performance?
If you’re looking for a way to up your workout, look into amino acids. Here’s what they are and how they can help your performance.
What are Amino Acids?
They are a group of 20 organic compounds known as the “building blocks” of proteins that make up most of the body. They are involved in several bodily functions, including growth and development, healing and repair, normal digestion, and providing energy for your body.
Amino acids are grouped into three categories – Essential, Nonessential, and Conditional – depending on where your body obtains it. Below are the descriptions and how they may be listed on nutrition labels.
Essential Amino Acids: Your body cannot produce essential amino acids. These must be obtained through food or supplementation. The essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Nonessential Amino Acids: Nonessential amino acids are those that your body naturally produces whether or not you eat food that contains them. The nonessential amino acids are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid.
Conditional Amino Acids: These amino acids are produced only under specific circumstances, typically when your body is fighting off an illness or dealing with stress. The conditional amino acids are arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.
Amino acids play a role in almost every system throughout your body, including:
Growth of muscles, connective tissue, and skin
Maintaining muscle tone and tissue strength
Healing and repair
Regulating moods by helping produce hormones
Maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails
To help boost performance and maintain muscle and tissue strength, amino acid supplements are often recommended to active individuals and may help athletic performance in a variety of ways, such as:
Increasing tolerance to pain during exercise
Modifying the way the body perceives fatigue
Decreasing the duration of recovery from overtraining
Improving immune function
Supporting blood flow for improved endurance
Improving the development of lean muscle mass and overall strength
Providing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects to reduce damage to muscles
Enhancing how your body metabolizes fats during exercise