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You’ve probably heard a ton about amino acids, but don’t know what they are and what they can do for you! Firstly, let’s start with the basics.

What are amino acids?

These organic compounds are used by your body to build proteins. These compounds are important for muscle development and repair, and are vital in your nervous, reproductive, immune, and digestive systems.

Types of amino acids

Essential

This type of amino acid cannot be made by the body. The only way to get them is through the foods you eat. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to function properly! Though 20 are very beneficial, you only absolutely need nine to survive.

The 9 essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Nonessential

Nonessential amino acids are produced by the body, even if you don’t get them from your diet.

Conditional

Conditional amino acids are usually nonessential, except in times of illness and stress. During times of illness and stress, your body may not be able to make all of the compounds that it needs.  One of the most important conditional compounds is l-arginine! Your body can’t produce all of the l-arginine that it needs while fighting off certain diseases, including cancer.

BCAA branched-chain amino acid with scoop and dumbbell.Bodybuil

What can amino acids do for you?

May help improve mood and sleep

Tryptophan plays a role in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is essential in regulating mood, sleep, and behavior. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and poor sleep.

Can boost athletic performance

L-arginine has a unique effect on the blood vessels and can help increase stamina. The conditionally essential l-arginine is vital in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, meaning that it opens up the blood vessels and allows for more blood flow. That increased blood flow delivers more oxygen to your muscles and can help you with that last mile or extra set of reps. L-arginine Plus is a premium nitric oxide booster that is great for boosting athletic performance.

May prevent muscle loss

Essential amino acids are important to building and retaining muscle mass. Essential supplements preserve lean body mass. In one study, 22 older adults on bed rest showed better muscle retention than those who took whey protein or a sports drink.

Can promote weight loss

Amino acids have been shown to help athletes burn more body fat during their workouts. A study by the College of Charleston showed that those who consumed BCAA supplements experienced 2.5 times more body fat than those who consumed a carbohydrate sports drink and 50% more than those who consumed a whey protein drink.