Proteins are macromolecules made up of a sequence of amino acids whose sequence is dictated by the genetic code for each of them. They are an essential component of the diet and perform a number of functions in the human body. Proteins are organic substances, composed of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. Proteins are the most important biomolecules for life, they are the fundamental constituent of the cell cytoplasm. Proteins are the structural elements of body tissues. Proteins are the nutrients most commonly found in cells and are the only source of nitrogen that humans can use. Some proteins contain less than 100 amino acids and others contain several thousand amino acids. Proteins carry out important tasks in the body.
During muscle development in particular, it is advisable to take advantage of the characteristics of amino acids in order to support your muscles. We show you what they are for and how to integrate them into your training. For sustainable and efficient training.
To make it simple, our body cannot without them. They are the building blocks of proteins that are vital to our body. They also serve as hormones, enzyme precursors and neurotransmitters. We need it for a lot of metabolic processes that take place every day in our body. 20 different proteinogenic amino acids form the most important basis, from which the organism produces more than 50 000 distinct amino acids. About twenty of them will be reused by the body to make proteins from hair, skin, muscles, bones, blood, and other tissues and organs. There are about 20 different amino acids in plants and animals, which can be classified into two categories:
- the essential ones are the amino acids which cannot be produced during metabolism by the body and which must be obtained by the diet.
– 8 amino acids are considered essential in adults (leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and lysine))
– 9 in children (the previous 8 and histidine)
- the non-essential: these are the optional amino acids which can be produced endogenously by the body from other proteins.
Each protein has a specific number of amino acids organized into specific sequences; a typical protein that can contain more than 300 amino acids. The structure of a protein can consist of four levels (primary to quaternary) corresponding successively to the amino acid sequence within the polypeptide chain, to its spatial configuration (Helix or sheet structure, folding) and to the association between several distinct polypeptide chains (protein subunits).
The importance of the protein-rich foods
In addition to stimulating your metabolism, reducing your appetite and increasing muscle mass, eating protein-based foods results in healthy bones, cartilage, skin, tissues and blood. Protein is an essential nutrient, responsible for multiple functions in our body, including building tissues, cells and muscles, as well as manufacturing hormones and anti-bodies. Everyone needs protein in their diet, but if you are involved in endurance sports or strength training, it is recommended that you increase your protein intake and take it into account in your training program at specific times so that you can benefit from it.
When being on low amino diet you should definitely learn something more about all roles of the amino acids in your everyday diet and muscle development.
The role of amino acids in muscle development
Leucine, valine, isoleucine, L-arginine and L-glutamine have a whole other importance for training and here is why.
BCAA – the specialist for strength and cardio training – BCAA is the acronym for “branched chain amino acids”. The 3 essential amino acids are branched. Thus, BCAA have a privileged advantage in muscle development for various reasons:
- They get to blood right away.
- They protect the body from a reduction in muscle mass
- They retard muscle fatigue
In addition, BCAAs have the property of protecting your body from muscle meltdown even during exercise. In a sustained effort, the body draws its energy from BCAA, which would be without BCAA, drawn from the muscles. If you are unable to meet a high amino acid requirement through your diet, we recommend an additional BCAA intake: this way you avoid losing your muscle mass as you work out intensively.
L-arginine is one of the semi-essential amino acids. This means that it can be produced by the body, but not in precise doses. During growth or physical exertion, the need may be higher, in which case this amino acid must be brought by the diet. L-arginine participates in various processes:
- Improves blood circulation
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Helps with repeated and intensive force training
L-Glutamine – plays a central role in protein synthesis and is an important component of muscle cells. Yes, amino acids are a major aid to regeneration. The effects of l-glutamine are particularly interesting for optimal regeneration after intensive cardio or strength training:
- It leads to an increase in muscle cell volume
- It helps to produce protein in muscles
- In the latter, it promotes the formation of glycogen
L-glutamine promotes the storage of glycogen in muscles by reducing carbohydrate intake. The body will depend a lot on glycogen stores especially during an intensive effort, in order to quickly gain energy. As these stocks are rather small and quickly exhausted, you need for regular sessions a sufficient intake of glycogen, combined with a specific diet. This is enhanced by the ingestion of l-glutamine. As your body regenerates more easily, you can increase the intensity of your sessions and thus guarantee an ever-increasing progress curve.