What Are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are used by avid athletes to reduce muscle pain and stimulate muscle growth. But what are amino acids? Who are they suitable for, what effect do they have on your body and are they actually safe?

Amino acids are used by avid athletes to reduce muscle pain & stimulate muscle growth. Proteins consist of building blocks called amino acids, there are 22 types of them. (including essential & non-essential amino acids) The body naturally produces the non-essential amino acids itself, so it is essential that you consume the other amino acids yourself.

You can get these amino acids through different types of beans, grains, dairy, meat and fish.

When are amino acids useful as supplements?

Amino acids are useful as a supplement when you do not eat or eat too little of certain foods and therefore have a protein deficiency. If this is the case, you may not be getting certain essential amino acids, as these are amino acids that your body cannot make itself.

When using amino acids, care must be taken to take the essential amino acids as a supplement. Your body produces the non-essential amino acids itself, so you do not have to take them extra as a supplement.


Research has shown that there is a certain group of amino acids that can contribute to a faster recovery of muscle strength after intensive strength training. This concerns the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA); Leucine, Isoleucine & Valine. These are the 3 essential amino acids that are absorbed in the body just a little faster than other amino acids & this combination of amino acids makes up to 40/50% of the daily requirement of essential amino acids. Most amino acids are broken down in the liver, but these amino acids do their job in muscles & fat tissue, converting them into energy during exercise!

You get BCAA by eating protein-rich foods. Taking BCAAs may help delay fatigue, improve exercise performance & promote recovery. This applies to strength as well as endurance sports & it is also claimed that BCAAs can increase muscle mass. Although there is increasing evidence that BCAAs help with recovery, no agreement has yet been reached around these scientific studies, as there is a lot of contradiction, so it cannot be said with certainty how effective BCAAs actually are.

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