Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, muscles, growth hormone, and insulin. Patients often come to our clinic and report that after an intensive training session, they experience muscle fatigue, aching, or tightness. This is not simply a part of the aging process, it’s often due to poor nutrition and amino acid imbalance.
Athletes are at a greater risk of amino acid deficiency, so it’s important to rectify any imbalances in your daily diet and possibly consider supplementing with a high quality amino acid combination before training sessions.
There are 20 amino acids needed for proper muscle growth, repair, blood sugar balance, and immune function. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are the building blocks that help to maintain muscle tissue. During training, muscle stores of BCAAs can be used as an energy source. Arginine is another amino acid that is helpful for maintaining proper hormonal balance and supports wound healing. Glutamine, is the amino acid that provides glucose for energy and supports proper immune function. Supplementing with Glutamine is an excellent way to prevent the common immune suppression that can occur in athletes training at a high level.
In the Journal of Nutrition (2006; 136:538S-43S), it was reported that supplementing with a mixture of amino acids may lead to quicker muscle recovery after exercise and could reduce muscle damage caused by strenuous exercise.
Athletes often take great care to fuel and hydrate properly during training, but recovery can suffer if the proper increased requirement of amino acids is not met.
If you are embarking on an intensive training program, it’s important to carefully consider your daily nutritional needs since your amino acid intake can have a significant impact on your ability to recover, heal, and thrive while training.