Amino Energy - Quick Guide to Benefits and Ingredients
If you are interested in muscle growth, you've probably heard of branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. They are an integral part of the wildly popular supplement Amino Energy.
There are 20 different amino acids that make up the thousands of different proteins in our body. There are nine amino acids that we consider essential — meaning our body does not make them and must be obtained through diet.
Of these nine, there are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. To be clear, "branched-chain" refers to the chemical structure of the BCAAs. These are found in protein-rich foods like eggs, meat and dairy products. In the supplement industry, they are sold primarily in powder form.
1.) Increased Muscle Growth
A popular use of BCAAs is to increase muscle growth. Leucine activates a certain pathway in our bodies that stimulate protein synthesis — the process of making muscle.
In one study, participants who consumed a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs after resistance training had a 22% greater increase in protein synthesis compared to those with a placebo. Another study found that protein synthesis is about 50% less than when a participant consumed a whey protein shake containing a similar amount of BCAAs.
So BCAAs can increase protein synthesis, but not without those other essential amino acids. This is why it is important to eat a variety of nutritious foods.
2.) Improved Muscle Recovery
Research suggests BCAAs can help with muscle recovery and decrease muscle soreness post-workout. You know, that sore feeling you have a day or two after your workout.
This is called delayed onset muscle soreness and researchers believe it's due to the microtrauma in our muscles after exercise. Studies suggest that BCAAs can decrease muscle damage, so it can decrease the length and severity.
Other studies have shown BCAAs decrease protein breakdown during exercise and it also decreases levels of creatine kinase — an indicator of muscle damage.
In another study, people who consumed BCAAs before their squat exercise experienced less soreness and muscle fatigue when compared to the placebo group.
3.) Reduced Exercise Fatigue
As studies have proven BCAAs can decrease muscle soreness, it may also help reduce exercise-induced fatigue. We all experience fatigue, but how quickly you get there can depend on a few things. These include your exercise intensity and duration, environmental conditions, your nutritional level, and your fitness level.
Participants who supplemented with BCAAs felt an improved mental focus during exercise, which is thought to result from the fatigue-reducing effect of BCAAs.
Researchers suggest that in your brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin. This chemical is thought to contribute to fatigue during an exercise.
While this won't likely translate into improvements in your performance, you can certainly squeeze out an extra rep or two.
4.) Prevents Muscle Breakdown
Our muscle proteins are constantly broken down and rebuilt. The balance between this breakdown and synthesis determines the amount of protein in our muscle. Muscle breakdown happens when protein breakdown is exceeding protein synthesis.
It can be a sign of malnutrition or from chronic infections, cancer, periods of fasting, and as a natural aging process.
In humans, BCAAs account for about 35% of the essential amino acids found in muscle proteins. They account for 40% of the total amino acids required by your body. This is why it's important to replenish them during times of muscle breakdown to slow or stop its progression.
Many studies suggest the use of BCAAs for inhibiting muscle breakdown. This could improve the quality of life in certain populations, such as the elderly and those with muscle degrading diseases like cancer.
5.) Benefits Those with Liver Disease
Studies suggest BCAAs may improve health in people with cirrhosis — a chronic disease where the liver does not function properly.
An estimated 50% of people with cirrhosis will develop hepatic encephalopathy — the loss of brain function that occurs when your liver is unable to remove toxins from your blood. Studies suggest BCAAs may help benefit people who suffer from the disease.
A review took 16 studies, which took 827 people with hepatic encephalopathy.
They found those who took BCAA supplements noticed a beneficial effect on the symptoms and signs of the disease.
Unfortunately, there was no effect on mortality.
Nutrition Facts of Amino Energy
- Serving Size: 2 Scoops
- Calories: 5
- Total Carbohydrate: 1g
- Amino Blend - Micronized Taurine, Micronized L-Glutamine, Micronized L-Arginine, Micronized L-Leucine, Beta-Alanine (as CarnoSyn), Micronized Citrulline, Micronized L-Isoleucine, Micronized L-Valine, Micronized L-Tyrosine, Micronized L-Histidine, Micronized L-Lysine HCI, Micronized L-Phenylalanine, Micronized L-Threonine, Micronized L-Methionine
- Energy Blend - Caffeine, Green Tea Extract (Camellia sinensis)(leaf)(standardized for Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)), Green Coffee Extract (bean)
- Other Ingredients - Natural and Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, Gum Blend (Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan), Caffeine (from Tea and/or Coffee Bean), Sucralose, Tartaric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Blue #1.
This product contains soy and the total caffeine from all sources is equal to 100mg per serving.