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Amino Acids 101

  • Posted on
  • By Katy Burkhartzmeyer
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 Amino Acids 101

Amino acids play many important roles in our body such as hormone regulation, immune functioning, repairing tissues and building muscle. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. In fact, when we ingest any source of protein, our bodies break it down into a variety of amino acids. These varieties of amino acids can be broken into three different classifications: 


Non-Essential- Our bodies naturally can produce these amino acids 


Essential- Our bodies don’t produce these, so we must get them through consumption of certain foods 


Conditionally Essential- These are nonessential amino acids that are classified as conditionally essential only under specific circumstances such as illness or stress where the body is in demand of these amino acids 


We made 11 out of the 20 amino acids in our body (non-essential amino acids). These are amino acids we need but don’t need to consume through supplementation or foods because our bodies can produce them naturally. Essential Amino acids (EAAs) on the other hand,  are amino acids our bodies require and must obtain through food or supplementation. Three of the main EAAs are Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine and are also known as branched chain amino acids. These help with energy production and are heavily involved in protein synthesis. 


Supplementing with Amino Acids 


When it comes to supplementation, the best sources of amino acids are from whole food protein sources. If you are like many of the population, getting enough protein throughout your day can be tricky. This is where using protein or EAAs supplements can be handy. Sipping on a yummy beverage that contains all your EAAs and BCAAs in one can be a great way to make sure you are getting all your amino acids that your body doesn't provide naturally. Not getting enough of these amino acids can lead to slower recovery time, muscle soreness, weakened immune system and unstable moods. When we don’t consume enough EAAs our body will start to eat away at our lean muscle mass as a source of fuel for the rest of our body to be able to function properly. 


Supplementation of EAAs can be especially important for vegans or people with dietary restrictions. If your diet doesn't consist of enough complete proteins, meaning not containing all 9 types of essential amino acids, this puts your body at risk of not functioning to its full potential as well as hindering performance.  You can take EAAs before, intra, or post workout to enhance physical performance, help improve strength and reduce post-workout soreness. Stop by Superior Nutrition to learn more about EAAs and for a variety of EAA supplementation options!


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