Amino acids are a highly important part of our diet and so much so that they are often considered the building blocks of life. Amino acids in fact make up 3/4s of the human body. However in bodybuilding these building blocks become even more important – just as a builder on a building site needs bricks and cement, so does a bodybuilder need amino acids. Understanding what they are and how they work is a very important way to ensure that you understand how protein works and how you can increase your success through a correct diet.
What Are Amino Acids ?
Essentially amino acids are what is found in protein and are used to create new tissue. In other words when you eat protein such as that found in animal meat, you are essentially breaking down the amino acids and then recombining these in order to rebuild our own tissue – you really are what you eat. At the same time amino acids can also trigger chemical reactions in the body and serve a range of other functions.
Protein however is not simply made of one amino acid but requires chains of amino acids which combine together called peptides and polypeptides. There are many different types of amino acids and peptides which combine and react to serve different purposes. In total in fact there are thought to be 27 different amino acids though this number varies depending on the source – older sources may say 20 or 23 and it’s likely that more amino acids will be discovered over time too.
How They Work in Bodybuilding.
For anyone amino acids and peptides are crucial to our health and well being. Particular amino acids are required for various bodily functions and for instance tryptophan will help us to improve our immune systems, to regulate our sleep and to produce serotonin which creates a positive mood among other things. At the same time they are crucial for rebuilding and rejuvenating tissue so you will need amino acids in order to repair your skin, your nails, your teeth your hair and crucially – your muscles. In other words after training your muscle fibres rip as you create ‘microtears’. Then when you eat amino acids, these are used to rebuild the muscle tissue thicker than it was before. You need to train in order to tear the muscles, but just as crucially you need to have amino acids in order to rebuild the muscle – you won’t experience any growth or any ‘hypertrophy’ without either aspect.
Types of Amino Acids
Non Essential AA
Branch chain AA