What are amino acids?
Amino acids are the molecules that make up proteins. In nature we can find twenty different types of essential and non-essential amino acids, depending on whether they are produced by the body or not.
Non-essential amino acids are those that can be produced autonomously in our body, while essential amino acids must be consumed through food as our body cannot produce them. Sports nutrition creates optimal formulations so that the sportsperson can benefit from their advantages both in sports resistance and for strength and muscle building.
Why are amino acids important?
Amino acids carry out very important functions within our body, from the growth of nails and hair, to anabolic processes for the correct development of muscle mass. In addition, they help to slow down catabolic processes (muscle degradation) which are activated after exercise, they act as neurotransmitters, providing energy and facilitating the absorption of nutrients in the body. They are very popular in anaerobic sports, acting as recovery agents when taken after exercise and delay fatigue if consumed before exercise.
Types of amino acids
Essential Amino acids
Within this category we can find formulations that combine several essential amino acids, we should remember that they can only be obtained through diet, as our body is not capable of synthesizing them by itself. Some of the benefits are an increase in muscle mass, strength and power and speed of recovery. Among essential amino acids, the combination of three of them has a special relevance; Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine, also known as BCAAs or branched amino acids. BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) favour the synthesis of Alanine and Glutamine in catabolic processes, as well as avoiding the consequences of overtraining among sportspersons.
Non-essential amino acids
Despite the fact that these amino acids may be synthesized by the body, we do not always have the ideal levels to carry out physical activity, whether due to insufficient amino acids or to unsuitable diets and habit. Therefore, the most common amino acids used in sports are Alanine and Glutamine. Alanine is indispensable to increase the carnosine contained in the skeletal muscle. This leads to almost immediate muscle recovery and is also an excellent muscle protector. Glutamine also acts as an anti-catabolic and when there is extreme effort it can be changed into an essential amino acid, this being one of the main reasons why this supplement should be included in the routines of any sportsperson.