Are amino acids supplements good for you? This is a big question if you’re looking for a source of the building blocks of proteins. Fun Fact: The dietary supplements market was worth over $15 billion last year. The best source of amino acids is always real food. However, you can also increase your intake of amino including essential amino acids (EAAs) through supplements. This includes ones like tablets, powders, and liquids. All of these options can boost your body’s intake of amino like branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The key is to make sure you’re getting enough amino acids whether they’re body-produced or food-sourced.
Today dietary supplements are heavily marketed by manufacturers. You can find them at various supermarket chains, health food stores, and online retailers. There’s no question that supplements like amino acids are easy to access. However, you’ll certainly want to get a healthy source of them. It’s sort of like the situation with sugar substitutes. In some cases like stevia and monk fruit extracts, they’re very close to the natural source. In other situations—not so much. It’s the same with amino supplements. It’s important to know what’s included in them besides amino and how much processing is done to make them.
What Are Amino Acid Supplements?
First, let’s take up amino acids. These are the building blocks of proteins, which the body needs for different functions. They include a wide range of benefits including:
- Building/repairing muscles
- Hair/skin/nails health
- Increased stamina
- Better sleep
- Workout recovery
- Appetite control
It might be surprising that protein is related to all these body functions. When we talk about protein the first function that comes to mind is often muscle-building. However, that’s just one. Aminos are critical for several functions that include a person’s body and brain.
The human body requires two kinds of amino acids. They include “essential” and “non-essential” amino acids. NEAAs are made by the body but EAAs must be consumed through foods/supplements. If your body isn’t making enough NEAAs then you’ll need to boost the amount through food/supplements.
There are various ways your body can get amino. The body naturally produces 11 NEAAs. Sometimes it doesn’t make enough of them. This could be due to normal aging, illnesses/diseases, and an unhealthy diet. So you can easily boost your NEAAs by simply eating healthy, exercising regularly, etc.
You can also get amino from whole foods. They include:
In the case of “complete” proteins, you can even get your daily amino totals from single foods. Another option is “incomplete” protein combos like beans/rice, peanut butter/wheat bread, etc. These combinations turn incomplete proteins into complete proteins.
Amino acid supplements are another way to boost your intake of amino. This includes different options like tablets/capsules, liquid aminos, and protein powders. These are processed foods but can still provide a good source of essential/non-essential amino acids.
The number/amount of amino in these products can differ. For example, some tablets/capsules include one amino acid, while liquid aminos can include over three-quarters of all amino in the human body. BCAAs include three essential amino acids.
Are Amino Acids Supplements Good for You?
This is a loaded question. It depends on various factors like the amino type, form, brand, and so on. Like other issues, the issue isn’t one that is answered as quickly as: Does the body need amino acids?
There are many issues to take up when picking amino supplements:
The main ones are tablets/capsules, protein powders, and liquid aminos. The amount of processing that’s done can vary. However, keep in mind these aren’t whole foods. The amino acid supplements are “natural” and might be organic. However, the product is still made in a factory.
Any amino supplement is processed. However, you can research how processed a particular brand is. For example, protein powders are made from sources like beef, eggs, milk, and soybeans. However, the end product might be very different from those whole foods.
This is a biggie since it can make amino supplements quite unhealthy. It’s important to read product descriptions and ingredients labels to find out exactly what’s in the product. This can help to determine whether certain ingredients could cause the product’s nutritional value to nosedive.
What should you look for? Make sure to check for common additives like sugar, salt, and fat. These are the ones that can cause health issues when there’s too much in a product. This can cause various health issues like increased risk of high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Another thing to watch out for is artificial additives. This includes colors, flavors, and preservatives. All three of these additives can make a dietary supplement much less healthy and even unhealthy. If an amino supplement has additives make sure they’re natural ones. It’s even better if there are few/none.
This is based on various factors like the manufacturer, ingredients, and organic/inorganic. You should expect to pay more for better quality but it’s arguably worth it.
Health Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements
If you’re not getting tired from your workouts then it’s time to take it up a notch. That said, reducing fatigue can help to increase your workout’s duration. There are various factors that can affect fatigue including exercise duration/intensity, air temperature/humidity, and fitness level.
BCAA levels, for example, drop when you do workouts. This can cause the levels of another EAA to drop, which can cause fatigue. You can counter this situation by boosting your BCAA intake.
Amino supplements can also help to reduce muscle breakdown/wasting. The breakdown/building of muscle proteins is constant. It’s important to boost muscle rebuilding in order to achieve strength/muscle gains.
Muscle breakdown happens due to various factors including fasting, infections, and aging. BCAAs make up one-third of EAAs in muscle proteins. So boosting your intake can help to reduce muscle breakdown.
Another major benefit of amino acid products is they can help to reduce post-workout muscle soreness. Sore muscles are normal after gym workouts. This is especially true if you’re working for new muscle groups. Studies show that protein/amino can help to speed up the recovery process.
This involves repairing tiny tears in muscle tissues. The process takes an average of a few days. Consuming protein/amino can help speed up post-workout recovery.
This is one of the main benefits you can get from amino acids. That’s because amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. If you want to build lean muscle mass your body needs enough of all 20 amino acids. That includes the ones the body makes (NEAAs) and ones from food (EAAs).
Studies show that branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) might be some of the most critical ones for muscle grains. However, they’re not the only ones needed after learning are amino acids supplements good for you.