Quick-Fire Facts: Amino Acids

Amino acid supplements are less well-known than protein supplements, but they are an effective way of providing the building blocks for protein synthesis to increase muscle size and strength alongside a training regime.

Outlined below are some facts about amino acids which may help you to decide whether this supplement could be a great addition to your diet.

1.       Each protein is made up of amino acids which are linked together in chains called polypeptides.

2.       The body breaks down protein into its individual amino acids upon digestion and assembles them into new proteins as needed  – Amino acid supplementation means the body does not need to break down protein in order to start synthesising new protein.

3.       There are 20 standard amino acids.

4.       There are 11 non-essential amino acids.

5.       There are 9 essential amino acids – considered essential because the body cannot synthesise them, they have to be ingested.

6.       Protein sources that contain all of the essential amino acids are viewed as ‘complete’ proteins.

7.       There are 3 branched chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.

8.       Branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are highly prominent in muscle tissue, accounting for 14-18% of its amino acid makeup.

9.       BCAA’s are metabolised differently than other amino acids and can be oxidised in the muscles during exercise for energy.

10.   Adequate BCAA levels can increase carbohydrate availability, protecting the muscles from exercise-induced protein breakdown.


About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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