This article on amino acids has been long-time coming – it’s part one of several! Among the supplements I recommend to my clients, amino acids (AA’s) are high on the list, for several reasons – some of which I’ll cover here.
Let’s start with the basics. Many people aren’t familiar with the term amino acids, or, aren’t aware of what they are.
There are three key players in the nutritional world of macronutrients (macro = something large-scale, nutrients = substances that provide nourishment essential for growth). Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Collectively, these three macronutrients (often referred to as macro’s) provide the bulk energy we need to function. Try exist without them and you’ll quickly find yourself grumpy, fatigued, and sick.
Protein can be broken down further into what are called amino acids – 20 of them, specifically. 8 are categorized as ‘essential’ because they cannot be made by the body, and thus must be obtained from the diet – these 8 will be the focus of this article. Essential AA’s are necessary to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, critical for on-going muscle recovery and growth.
The 8 Essential AA’s we’ll focus on:
Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine (collectively referred to as Branched-Chain Amino Acids, or BCAA’s, and a major personal favorite);
Maintaining what’s referred to as the “amino acid pool” in the body is critical, while being difficult without dietary intervention. Amino acids are constantly in use by the body for structural rebuilding, hormones, enzymes, and immune system chemicals. They aren’t stored in the body like carbs and fats are, thus require constant replenishment. This is possible via food, and supplemental sources. My clients and I prefer both!
THORNE’S “AMINO COMPLEX” is an excellent supplemental source of essential amino acids, complete with 1.25gms of Leucine/serving. Leucine is one of the 3 Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) playing key roles in fat loss, muscle protein synthesis, and the preservation of lean mass during fat-loss cycles. My clients and I consume 1-2 servings of AMINO COMPLEX during training sessions, and another serving later in the day to fend off cravings and regulate blood sugar levels.
Supplement quality is critical. Low quality products will be ineffective and ingredients are unpredictable. THORNE products are one of the lines I use regularly personally and professionally – they have arguably the most comprehensive list of NSF Certified for Sport products on the market. Due to this, THORNE has partnered with many US National Teams in addition to collaborating with the Mayo Clinic. If you’re looking for world-class sports nutrition and performance products, check out THORNE’s extensive product line. You can order AMINO COMPLEX using the practitioner code HCP-1108-188. Berry flavor comes highly recommended.