The body works in complex ways! Eating a piece of chicken in your salad everyday just won't get you enough of what you need to build muscle. When regular foods don't cut it, you need to supplement. Amino acids are what make up the basis of our muscles and other body tissues. This is the stuff that makes up proteins. Needless to say, getting the right amino acids is very important.
Not all proteins are directly used to build muscle, and if that is what you'd like to do, then you have to make sure that you're not getting supplements which don't propel you to the body you want. Some amino acids are precursors to chemical reactions in the brain, and others help to metabolise energy. Of the 23 types of amino acids, 3 known as BCAA, or Branch Chain Amino Acids, are going to be the ones to keep an eye out for.
Together with exercise, and hormones, amino acids are required to build muscle. Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine are the best building blocks for muscle.
When to take your amino acids
Its important that the timing of your food intake coincides with when the muscles are most receptive to use the molecules brought in. This is also related to the bioavailability of the food, or how easy much of it can actually be used to build and repair your muscles. A lot of supplements contain "pre-digested" proteins, which sounds very strange at first. This just means that the structure of the molecule is hydrolysed, and are free-form. They are not chemically bonded to any other molecules and once they enter the stomach they can pass easily through the intestines and into the blood stream.
Immediately after working out, with blood pumping and the muscles well worked, they are most ready to absorb and make use of the amino acids.
Anabolic Effects of Amino Acids
During resistance training, the body is both absorbing and degrading proteins; the hormonal processes which are responsible for this will break down the bodies own proteins to assist in energy production. This is a part of the reason that proper nutrition is so important in training. To maintain muscle tissue and stop the degradation of proteins, the body needs have the correct combinations and quantities of amino acids.
At the moment after training when insulin and growth hormone levels are at optimum level for absorption, a diet with increased available amino acids becomes a protein positive environment. There is a immediate increase in the energy being transported by the muscle, a decrease in the break down of protein tissue, and an increase in the rate of muscle anabolism. Increased muscle strength and growth begin.
Using the right supplements at the right moment can have a huge impact on the effects of training. Giving your body just what it needs to succeed makes all the difference.