Would you like to maximize your training with a healthy and balanced diet? Then amino acids play an important role. Especially when building muscles, you can use the special effect of amino acids to specifically support your muscles.
We’ll show you what amino acids are, what effects they have and how you can use them during training. For effective and sustainable training.
Amino acids are vital for our body: They form the basic building blocks of all proteins, without which we could not live. In contrast to the energy sources carbohydrates and fats, amino acids contain nitrogen (N) and are able to form tissues such as organs, muscles, skin and hair.
They also serve as hormones and precursors to enzymes and neurotransmitters. We need these for numerous metabolic processes that take place in our body every day. The 20 different protein-forming amino acids are particularly important – the body can produce over 50,000 different protein substances from them. Of these 20 proteinogenic amino acids, eight are essential.
What is the difference between essential and non-essential amino acids?
The body cannot produce essential amino acids itself. This means that you can only get these amino acids from your diet. In contrast, the body can produce non-essential amino acids itself.
Essential Amino Acids: Effects and Food Sources
There are a total of 8 essential amino acids – an adequate intake of these amino acids is important to keep you physically and mentally fit.
Food: Chicken breast, peas, salmon, egg, walnuts, whole wheat flour
Plays an important role in building and maintaining muscle protein. In addition, leucine provides energy in the muscles and supports various healing processes there.
Food: peas, chicken breast, salmon, egg, walnuts, whole wheat flour
Helps maintain connective and muscle tissue. In addition, lysine is required together with methionine for the synthesis of carnitine, which plays a key role in fat metabolism.
Food: pumpkin seeds, chicken breast, salmon, peas, tofu, chicken egg, buckwheat flour and walnut
Serves as a preliminary stage of the protein-forming amino acid cysteine and is involved in the direct synthesis of proteins. In addition, methionine is required together with lysine for the synthesis of carnitine, which is significantly involved in fat metabolism (see lysine).
Food: Brazil nuts, salmon, sesame seeds, beef, egg, broccoli, peas, spinach, corn, millet
Is important for the formation of proteins and numerous important hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline or the happiness hormone dopamine.
Food: soybeans, pumpkin seeds, peas, poultry, walnuts, pork, salmon, egg
is involved in vitamin B12 and isoleucine biosynthesis.
Food: Chicken breast fillet, beef, peas, salmon, walnuts, chicken eggs, whole wheat flour
May be mood-enhancing as it is the precursor to every serotonin molecule. If you do not get enough tryphtophan through your diet, the body cannot produce serotonin. Serotonin is a “feel good hormone” that ensures that we feel balanced and in a good mood.
Food: soybeans, cocoa powder (unsweetened), cashews, peas, chicken breast
Together with the amino acids isoleucine and leucine, valine acts as an important supplier of energy for the muscle cells. Valine also sends important messenger substances for the nervous system.
Food: Chlorella, Spirulina, Peas, Chicken. Whole wheat flour, cheese
Semi-essential amino acids
In addition to the essential amino acids, which the body can only produce with the help of the right foods, there are also the semi-essential amino acids. The body can only produce a small part of these itself and depends on us eating the right foods in order to produce enough of them. The semi-essential amino acids include L-arginine and histidine.
Importance of amino acids in muscle growth
Leucine, valine, isoleucine, L-arginine and L-glutamine are particularly important in muscle building training. We explain why.
BCAA - the strength and endurance specialist
BCAA is the abbreviation for “branched chain amino acids”. That stands for branched chain amino acids. This includes three of the essential amino acids.
BCAAs are beneficial in muscle building because they:
- get into the blood immediately
- protect the body from muscle breakdown
- postpone muscle fatigue
The branched-chain amino acids help to delay muscle fatigue when exercising. This provides the muscle with all the necessary building blocks during exercise. This offers the ideal starting point for the subsequent regeneration during exercise. The amino acids supplied are applied directly to the muscle injury that has been caused.
BCAA’s also have the property of protecting your body from muscle breakdown during training. When the body is under great strain, it draws energy from BCAAs that would otherwise have to be mobilized from the muscles.
L-Arginine - the health all-rounder
L-arginine is one of the semi-essential amino acids. This means that the body can produce it, but only in certain quantities. With growth or physical exertion, the requirement may be increased, so in this case the amino acid should be supplied through the diet. L-arginine ensures in the body:
- improved blood circulation
- increased insulin sensitivity
- more repetitive strength training
Thanks to the vasodilating effect of the amino acid L-arginine, you can ensure better blood circulation during strength training. This improves the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles – so you can increase your muscle strength and endurance.
L-Glutamine - the regeneration booster
L-glutamine plays a central role in protein synthesis and is an important component of muscle cells. The amino acid helps you with regeneration. The effect of the amino acid L-glutamine is of decisive relevance for optimal regeneration after intensive endurance and weight training, as it:
- leads to an increase in muscle cell volume
- promotes protein formation in muscles and
- promotes glycogen formation there
L-glutamine promotes glycogen storage in muscles with a low carbohydrate intake. The body accesses the glycogen stores especially during heavy loads in order to gain energy quickly. Since the glycogen reserves are very limited and quickly exhausted, you need a sufficient supply of glycogen with regular training, especially in combination with diets.
This is favored by the intake of L-glutamine. This improved regeneration enables more training stimuli to be created, which leads to a steeper success curve.