Essential Amino Acids
What are essential amino acids?
Of the approximately 500 amino acids that occur in nature, only 20 are important for humans. Of those 20, eight are seen as essential amino acids. This means that your body cannot create these, so that it is essential to get them from your diet. Especially when you do strength training and want to build muscle mass or want to lose fat, these essential amino acids are literally indispensable!
How many essential amino acids are there?
As mentioned above, there are eight essential amino acids. Three of these are known as branched-chain amino acids, or better known as BCAAs. These are the most well-known and play the biggest role in the gym, but that does not make the other five essential amino acids unimportant. In addition, there are two semi-essential amino acids, namely histidine and arginine. Your body cannot produce these amino acids itself, but research has shown that this does not have a negative effect on the nitrogen balance and thus your training result.
What are essential amino acids found in?
Essential amino acids are found in all kinds of foods that contain proteins. The disadvantage is only that the quantities differ widely. For example, plant sources are often lower in essential amino acids, which means that you have to eat more of them. In addition, as a rule, if your protein intake is not sufficient, your intake of essential amino acids is certainly not!
In addition, essential amino acids have an additional advantage around your workout because of the free, easily absorbable form. During your workout, it is easier to absorb these loose amino acids than to break down and digest food. For this reason, essential amino acids are often used for training in powder form, as liquid or as tablets.