Muscle growth requires much more than just lifting weights and spending time in the gym. Your body needs to be fueled with a nutrient-rich diet. Without the proper components in your daily nutritional program, you will by severely hindering your own success. Amino acids are among the most important of these components.
Building Blocks of Protein
Amino acids are the molecular building blocks of protein. Many individual amino acids become bound together and end up forming a protein strand. All 20 of the different amino acids can be combined in a near infinite number of ways to produce the diversity of proteins found in the human body.
Essential and Nonessential Amino Acids
Amino acids can be further broken down into two main groups, essential amino acids and nonessential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that your body cannot produce; therefore you need to obtain them from your diet from natural protein sources. The eight essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Nonessential amino acids can be directly produced in your body or can be converted from other molecules. The 12 nonessential amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, taurine and tyrosine.
Obtaining Amino Acids
Amino acids can be broken down from the protein that you eat, and can also be taken separately as supplements. Effective muscle growth requires that you eat approximately one gram of protein per pound of desired body weight. This supplies your body with all of the amino acid building blocks it needs to repair and rebuild torn muscle fibers.
One of the most important amino acids for muscle growth is L-Glutamine. Although it is a nonessential amino acid, it is commonly taken in supplement form. L-Glutamine is the most prevalent amino acid in the muscles. Glutamine has been found to help build and maintain muscle mass, and can also help stimulate the release of growth hormone.
L-Arginine is another extremely beneficial amino acid for muscle growth. It is nonessential, but is also taken in supplement form. It helps stimulate the release of growth hormone to help increase muscle growth and recovery. It also helps to increase metabolism, burning more fat in the process. Arginine also helps to protect against injury by increasing collagen, which is a supportive molecule for bone, cartilage and connective tissue.