Amino Acids Attributed with Faster Muscle Recovery
Just getting to the gym is already a challenge, but days of muscle recovery afterwards? Nuh uh. I can’t trust fall onto the toilet seat for days after leg day. Thankfully, with the right stuff, our bodies can recover a bit faster next time!
What are amino acids?
Amino Acids are types of organic molecules, categorized by a consistent core formula for the various different amino acids.
What do amino acids do?
In the body, amino acids are incredibly important for creating proteins. Proteins create the structures of cells and connect many cells together into tissues. Different proteins have different jobs from building, transporting, protecting cells, regulating and creating hormones, expressing genes or enabling movement. There’s a variety of proteins that function specifically for each role.
Without amino acids, we couldn’t produce all those proteins!
Specifically, there’s nine essential amino acids that the body doesn’t produce itself that we must get through food: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenlalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
How does that help with muscle recovery?
When we say “muscle recovery” we mean the period of time that it takes for both muscle fatigue and muscle soreness to go away.
Muscle fatigue is related to the shortening of muscles which uses more energy and results in tiredness.
Muscle soreness, on the other hand, is related to the lengthening of muscles which breaks down the connections between muscle fibers. The healing process involves inflammation and swelling.
That swelling causes the discomfort.
Both muscle fatigue and soreness are a normal part of physical exercise. Only through pushing your maximum can you increase it, however, proper muscle recovery keeps discomfort at a minimum and avoids injury.
So, really, how do amino acids help with muscle recovery?
Researchers published in the Journal of Nutrition examined the interplay between branched-chain amino acids (like leucine, isoleucine, or valine) and skeletal muscles.
The breakdown of branched-chain amino acids inside skeletal muscle is controlled by a specific protein complex (“group”). Specifically, the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase complex. For short, we’ll just call it the BCKDH complex, ‘kay?
The BCKDH complex is activated by exercise. In turn, exercise then triggers the breakdown of branched chain amino acids inside skeletal muscle. The research team hypothesized (“assumed”) that relationship meant exercise would increase the amount of amino acids needed for muscle recovery.
By examining the effects of supplemental amino acids following squat exercises on muscle fatigue and next-day muscle soreness, the team concluded that additional amino acid supplementation prior to exercise aided muscle recovery in the days following the workout.
So, that’s the scoop: branched-chain amino acids help ease fatigue and soreness after your workout! So, next time you’re about to try the latest trending workout, add an amino-acid packed shake first for gain without pain.