What Are Essential Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are found in many food sources. Some amino acids can be made by your body, but others, known as the “essential amino acids,” must be obtained through food or supplements.
Although amino acid supplements are often associated with athletes, supplementation may benefit anyone. This is because amino acids produce enzymes and are also involved in creating vital cells and molecules in the body that have important physiological effects. While amino acids may have benefits, you should consult a doctor before using any supplements.
The consumption of some essential amino acids results in the stimulation of protein synthesis or the development of new tissue. Others cause a reduction in protein breakdown.
Certain amino acids help regulate metabolism. Not only do they have the ability to improve physical performance as a young adult, they may also benefit those who want a healthy lifestyle as they get older.
Research shows that 8-10 grams of essential amino acids maximally stimulate protein synthesis.
Protein Consumption and Aging
As people age, their protein requirements go up, not down. However, their appetite typically drops, which makes it a challenge to eat optimal amounts of protein.
When people consume less protein then their systems need, the body needs to find a source for that protein in order to make the necessary building blocks such as enzymes, peptides, hormones, and cellular components..
The muscles act like a reservoir for protein when the body is not consuming enough and thus this can lead to a decrease in lean muscle mass. When muscle mass drops, people get weaker and this can lead to falls and injuries as well as having difficulty walking and taking care of themselves.
In addition, as lean muscle mass drops, the body becomes less efficient at utilizing and storing carbohydrates. Fat tissue begins to replace muscle on a pound for pound basis
Essential Amino Acids Benefits
Amino acids play an important role in stimulating protein synthesis and reducing protein breakdown. In doing so, they help build or preserve tissues like muscle and bone.
They do not need to be digested. Meaning they do not have to broken down by stomach and intestinal enzymes.
They’re easily absorbed into the bloodstream once they’re consumed, meaning they quickly become available for use by the body. This makes them a fascinating supplement for use by high-performing athletes, aging adults, and everyone in between.
1. Muscle Function
When used in older humans, the EAA increased the distance they could walk in a set period of time, as well as increased strength.*
2. Nervous System Support
Amino acids play a role in maintaining a normal brain function because they are precursors of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. EAA are therefore a brain food.
3. Normal Metabolism
Older adults tend to have an increased body mass, which is usually the result of having increased body fat and decreased lean muscle mass. Excess fat can significantly have an effect on the metabolism which can be detrimental.
Thus any nutritional tool the can render benefit to increasing the lean mass and burning fat, is beneficial.
Essential amino acids need to be consumed because your body cannot produce them. Your body uses them to create vital structures and molecules that power this amazing machine called the human body.
Essential amino acids are contained in high quality protein sources and can also be derived from high quality supplements.