How Amino Acids Help Build Muscle Mass

By  //  September 7, 2021

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Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins and are an essential element in building muscle mass. They play a crucial role in post-workout recovery, brain function, muscle growth, and strength gain. 

Amino acids are often obtained directly through a proper diet. However, supplementing amino acids could be an option for athletes and individuals looking to build muscle mass through exercise. 

The role of amino acids in muscle building

■ Preventing muscle fatigue

During intense workouts, the body produces lactic acid, a by-product of anaerobic respiration in the muscular cells. As the lactic acid accumulates in the muscle cells, it lowers the PH contributing to fatigue. 

Research shows that some amino acids effectively boost carnosine levels in the muscles, which helps buffer lactic acid and subsequently its effect on the muscles. Over the years, beta-alanine has been fronted as the amino acid responsible for promoting carnosine synthesis. 

But does beta alanine work, or is its effectiveness a myth? According to experts, it effectively boosts muscle endurance without influencing testosterone, HGC, and cortisol levels in the body. 

■ Prevent muscle breakdown

During intense workouts, the body can break down muscle tissue as an energy source. This process is referred to as glycogenesis, and it involves generating glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. Muscle breakdown is a normal process during a workout. A problem occurs when the rate of muscle breakdown exceeds muscle synthesis leading to muscle wasting.

It may be challenging to keep up amino acid demand for muscle synthesis for individuals engaged in high octave workouts. Most often, athletes cater to the deficit by taking amino acid supplements. These supplements ensure that the level of amino acids in the body is always sufficient, reducing the need for muscular protein breakdown.

■ Promote muscle growth

Muscle development is achieved through exercise, hormones, and a proper diet. Exercising stimulates muscle protein synthesis and degradation in the exercised muscle fibers. Under normal circumstances, training stimulates the muscle’s anabolic processes responsible for muscle protein synthesis while suppressing protein degradation. 

Your body will require amino acids in the bloodstream to synthesize muscle proteins since they are the building blocks of all proteins. A sufficient supply of amino acids during and after a workout ensures that the rate of anabolism is maintained at a balanced level to enhance muscle growth and strength.

■ They aid in fat loss.

Most people engaged in building muscle mass are also keen to burn all the unnecessary body fat. Two processes must occur to effectively burn excess body fat: increased mobilization and circulation of stored body fat and burning up the fat in the mitochondria to produce energy.

When ingested in the right amounts, amino acids such as methionine can effectively aid the transportation and the metabolization of fat in the body to produce energy. 

If you are looking to burn that extra fat, keeping your diet checked while ensuring that it is rich in proteins can be an excellent way of burning away that excess fat as you promote muscle growth.

■ They have anti-aging properties.

Naturally, muscles tend to wear out with age as the body loses its ability to synthesize muscle proteins as it should. Supplementing amino acids in conjunction with resistance training significantly reduces muscle loss resulting from aging. 

So, if you are advanced in age and still want to maintain that athletic look, you may want to include amino acid supplements in your diet. Besides promoting muscle regeneration, amino acids can help keep the gains for longer.

■ Final words

Amino acids are effective in boosting your muscle performance. While it’s possible to get your required daily intake of amino acids, your doctor or nutritionist may recommend taking amino acid supplements.