Your body requires multiple amino acids to grow and break down food. Amino acids may help your body create energy and material that contributes to muscular growth, known as branch-chain amino acids. The best amino-acid supplements for weight training provide a wide variety of substances that your body needs for tissue repair and growth. You may get the best results by combining multiple amino acid supplements.
Leucine is the fourth-most concentrated amino acid in your skeletal-muscle tissue. This compound is a branch-chain amino acid that comprises approximately 8 percent of all the amino acids in your body’s protein structures. Leucine is essential for your general health and one of the best supplements for weight training. This amino acid gives your body energy while training by preserving glycogen in your muscle tissues. Leucine supplements may help your body regulate nitrogen levels and maintain your thinking abilities that can decline with intense training. Your joints, body fat, muscle mass, blood sugar and strength levels may improve with leucine supplements. Leucine also increases growth hormone secretions in your body.
Isoleucine is among the best amino-acid supplements for weight training, in part, because it is a branch-chain amino acid and an essential dietary nutrient. This amino acid is similar to leucine and provides most of the same health and weight-training benefits. Your body uses isoleucine to manufacture biochemical substances required to produce energy and brain functioning. Isoleuce supplements may also help you stay alert and focused during your workout. Isoleucine also supports healthy wound healing, because it helps form hemoglobin and blood clots.
Valine is a branch-chain amino acid that is related to leucine and isoleucine structurally and functionally. These amino acids are essential dietary nutrients that help determine the three-dimensional structure of proteins in your body. Weight-training benefits associated with valine include maintaining a healthy nitrogen balance, and helping your body use glucose efficiently. Valine also supports weight-training recovery by contributing to muscle-tissue growth and repair.
You may benefit from free form amino-acid supplements if your diet includes incomplete proteins. Proteins that come from plant foods are incomplete, and you must combine them with other foods or supplements to give your body the nutrients it needs. You may also benefit from free-form amino-acid supplements if your total caloric intake is higher or lower than the amount of calories required to maintain your body weight. Free-form amino-acid supplements help ensure enough nutrients for muscular energy, tissue repair and growth.
You may already get the amino acids you need from the food you eat. Medline Plus indicates that Americans eat around twice as much protein as they need, and recommends against amino-acid supplements or excessively high intakes of protein, because they can promote calcium loss and burden your kidneys. The U.S. Food and Drug administration does not consider amino-acid supplements to be food, and supplement producers are not held to the same standards as drug manufacturers. Therefore, supplements can also be contaminated with other harmful substances. Always discuss supplements and weight-training regimens with your doctor before using them. A registered dietitian or nutritionist and certified personal trainer can also help make sure your supplements do not adversely affect your health or your training. Nitrogen in your urine can help indicate excessive amino-acid intake, because nitrogen is an element of amino acids. These professionals may use diagnostic tests, such as urine-nitrogen tests, to determine whether your intake is too high.
- Medline Plus: Amino Acids
- WellBeing.com: Leucine: The Muscle Maker
- AminoAcidsGuide.com: Amino Acids Guide
- AminoAcidsGuide.com: Isoleucine
- National Federation of Professional Trainers: Personal Fitness Trainer Manual
- Medline Plus: Dietary Protein
- Amino Acid Studies: L-Valine
- Muscle and Strength: The Importance of Amino Acids
- Medline Plus: Nutrition and Athletic Performance