The Importance of Amino Acids in Your Daily Regime
Importance of Amino Acids
My regular readers are probably already well-versed in the benefits of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), represented by the three main amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine.
However, given that different supplements contain different ratios of these three essential amino acids, there needs to be more clarity about the best ratio of BCAAs. Before we delve into this issue, consider the essence and principle of action of branched-chain amino acids.
BCAAs are called branched-chain amino acids because of their structure. Each molecule has a bifurcated fragment resembling a branch. In addition to their structural features, they are also special for numerous other reasons.
BCAAs generate energy and promote fat burning, but the main benefit of BCAAs is their ability to stimulate muscle growth, which is the number one goal for most of us.
When it comes to building muscle, BCAAs are essential amino acids. The most important of the three is leucine, which plays the most significant role in stimulating muscle growth.
LEUCINE – AMINO ACID NUMBER 1
The action of leucine is similar to the function of a key in a car ignition. The car, in this case, is muscle cells and fibers. Ignition turns on the process of muscle protein synthesis, which accumulates in the muscles of the protein, which leads to their greater growth.
Scientifically speaking, leucine activates a complex called MTOR (rapamycin-associated protein), accelerating muscle protein synthesis and leading to muscle growth.
Studies show that people who add leucine to their post-workout protein and carbohydrate intake increase muscle protein synthesis much more than those who consume only protein and carbohydrates.
And precisely because leucine is so important for muscle growth, everyone naturally tries to make sure they use a product that contains more leucine than its fellow isoleucine and valine.
I recommend using a BCAA supplement with a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. In many sports supplements, the proportion is significantly increased in favor of leucine: in some – up to 8:1:1, in others – up to a shocking ratio of 10:1:1.
Many people find that, given leucine’s leading role in stimulating muscle growth, a 10:1:1 BCAA supplement works five times better than a 2:1:1 ratio. But before spending your hard-earned money on these supposedly high-quality nutritional supplements, listen to me carefully.
The optimal time to take Olimp BCAA is during your workouts, and is equally effective before, during, or after. (And yes, this is in addition to a protein shake enriched with amino acids).
One reason for this is that you need enough leucine to trigger muscle protein synthesis. This fact leads many people to believe that the higher the leucine ratio in a supplement, the better.
Some supplements suggest that you cut out the other two BCAAs and only take leucine. This is a big mistake. To prove this, the researchers compared the effects of leucine by itself with taking all three BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio.
Baylor University scientists tested college-aged boys in one group taking a leucine supplement before and after a leg workout, another a 2:1:1 amino acid BCAA supplement, and a third a placebo.
It was found that although leucine-treated muscle protein synthesis increased post-workout to a greater extent than in the placebo group, the results of increased protein synthesis in the complex BCAA group were significantly better than in all other subjects. This is one of the reasons for choosing a 2:1 ratio:
Another reason to use a 2:1:1 amino acid supplement is to increase energy while reducing fatigue. BCAAs are used directly by muscle fibers as a source of fuel. This is especially true during intense exercises, such as strength training.
Numerous studies show that taking BCAAs before exercise improves muscle endurance. More importantly, BCAAs help reduce fatigue during workouts. This happens due to the amino acid valine’s important role in our body.
During exercise, the brain absorbs tryptophan in large quantities. Tryptophan is converted in the brain to 5-hydroxytryptamine, better known as serotonin. Higher serotonin levels during exercise signal to the brain that the body is tired.
This results in decreased muscle strength and endurance. Valine competes with tryptophan at the stage of entering the brain. And, as a rule, valine wins.
This means that if you take the amino acid valine before and during workouts, less tryptophan gets into the brain and is converted into serotonin. This allows the muscles to contract with more force for a longer time before fatigue sets in.
In other words, you can do more reps in the gym, recover faster between sets, and maintain more strength and endurance in the final stages of training. Valine can also help you focus and stimulate your brain on non-training days.
For the reasons outlined above, when taking amino acid supplements before, during, and after exercise, I recommend that you stick to a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine.
Related Article: 11 PRINCIPLES TO GAIN MUSCLE MASS
MAXIMIZING FAT BURNING
If you’re interested in maximizing fat loss, there’s another reason why a 2:1:1 amino acid ratio is optimal. In this case, isoleucine comes to the rescue. Isoleucine plays a key role in the fat-burning effect of BCAAs.
This is due to the ability of isoleucine to activate special receptors known as PPARs, which increase fat burning and prevent its deposition. The function of PPAR is to increase the activity of genes that promote greater fat burning in the body by reducing the activity of genes that normally increase fat accumulation.
Sports supplements with amino acid ratios much higher than 2:1:1 can even interfere with energy conservation, fat loss, and muscle growth in some ways. Some leucine-rich BCAA supplements provide only 500 mg or less of valine and isoleucine.
Stay away from such drugs! This amount of the above amino acids is not enough to maintain energy and reduce fatigue during training. It is also insufficient to increase muscle protein synthesis and promote muscle growth.
I recommend that you take a 2:1:1 amino acid ratio BCAA supplement that provides at least 1 gram of isoleucine and 1 gram of valine per dose. But if you’re aiming for maximum results, you’ll need to aim for at least 3 grams of leucine per dose first. This is the minimum amount needed to optimize the action of MTOR and maximize muscle protein synthesis.
I advise taking 5g of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio (up to 3g of leucine and a little over 1g of isoleucine and valine) 30 minutes before training.
After training, I recommend taking an equal dose of amino acids. Here, the ratio of 2:1:1 is again optimal. The 3:1:1 ratio, which suggests a slightly higher leucine content in the post-workout supplement to initiate protein synthesis, will also have a beneficial effect.
Please note that BCAAs should be taken in addition to pre- and post-workout shakes or one large protein shake that you sip before, during, and after your workout.
This amino-enriched shake will boost your BCAA intake a bit on its own but don’t worry, you still need these three essential free BCAAs is important for sports performance supplements to truly maximize energy and muscle growth.