How Specific Amino Acids Can Boost Your Fitness Results
Feb 15, 2019
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Sports supplements began life in the middle of the last century as general ergonomic aids designed to provide energy and ward off the dreaded cramp. Since then things have progressed significantly, with more than a few detracting words from near-sighted skeptics along the way.
In the modern world of science, these detractors can be silenced by irrefutable laboratory analysis and high-tech practical testing. Sports supplements can no longer be cast aside as pseudoscience or placebo, their precise mechanisms of action can be pinpointed and quantified.
That is not to say that all products are above board and will give your training a boost, there are still many pitfalls to be avoided. A little education will go a long way towards setting you up for success while protecting your wallet.
Modern sports supplements are put together in much the same fashion as medicine. The ingredients are tested and verified before their precise quantities are carefully calculated, and the final product hits the shelves for satisfied customers to reap the rewards. These ingredients constantly evolve as we discover more and more ways to potentiate them and improve their availability to the body.
One set of ingredients continuously revealing new advantages and actions, are the amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, you’ve almost certainly heard of them. There are 20 in all, and it is the virtually endless combinations of amounts and configurations of these components that make each and every protein unique and able to carry out its particular job.
However, when these amino acids are consumed individually, they begin to display new and potent actions with profound effects on the body and elicit powerful ergogenic benefits on training and recovery.
Let’s take a look at the most common and well researched of these amino acids.
Glutamine has been on the market for ages. For many years its precise purported benefits were the product of circumstantial evidence and educated guesswork, and for a while it was even cast aside. We now know better, as the benefits of this important amino acid are understood.
Glutamine makes up almost two-thirds of skeletal muscle, and that alone tells the most naive of laymen its consumption is advisable.
- Due to its abundance in the body’s tissues, glutamine has been heavily linked with increased protein synthesis (muscle growth), as well as decreased muscle breakdown during exercise.
- Research has shown that glutamine increases growth hormone levels, thereby creating a more potent anabolic environment.
- Glutamine is excellent for the stomach and intestines, meaning that nutrient absorption is up-rated.
- Glutamine bolsters the immune system, maintains hydration status, and increases cell volume, thereby improving the rate at which your body can recover from workouts and begin to grow.
Each serving of our great post-workout supplement, Sheer Recovery, contains 3g of high grade, pure glutamine to help give your body the kick it needs to begin turning your hard work into gains.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
The branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are probably the most important, most widely researched, and best-understood amino acids in the supplement world. The BCAA’s are valine, leucine, and isoleucine, three fairly similar amino acids that are extremely abundant in skeletal muscle.
BCAA’s are used by virtually every serious weight trainer in the world, and that is for one reason, they really make a difference. Let’s break that difference down.
- When you perform strenuous exercise, your muscles begin to break down, and your body eventually begins to use them for energy. A high level of BCAA’s in your bloodstream provides this fuel, preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue.
- Supplementing with BCAA’s stimulates protein synthesis, setting up an anabolic environment as soon as you finish training, and more muscle tissue is laid down.
- Research has shown that supplementing with BCAA’s helps burn fat by switching on genes that prefer fat as an energy source, and switching off those that will bring about fat storage.
- Valine has been shown to inhibit fatigue signals reaching the brain, helping train harder, for longer.
- BCAA’s support the immune system, leading to faster recovery times, and greater resistance to annoying ailments, such as colds and flu.
BCAA’s should be taken before, during, and after workouts to ensure the blood is filled with these vital nutrients, gains are not lost, and recovery is kick started as soon as possible. Sheer BCAA is a top quality supplement created with the perfect ratios of these three key amino acids for maximum training support.
Cysteine is a nucleophilic amino acid found in some quantities in most high protein foods. Acetyl L-Cysteine is a related compound that has been on the market for some years. It is essentially an ultra potent antioxidant used in medicine to treat ailments such as drug overdoses and COPD. The powerful effects of acetyl L-cysteine can improve recovery and protect muscles from free radical damage caused by intense exercise.
Let’s start right off by dispelling a couple of taurine myths.
Taurine is not made from bull sperm or any other part of a bull (although it is abundant within its muscles).
Taurine will not turn you into a crazed, hyperactive loon, in fact, it will likely do the exact opposite. Taurine acts as a focuser, allowing you to give your training the full concentration it deserves. Taken before bed, taurine actually helps your mind rest, thus aiding in sleep.
The physical effects of taurine include preventing dehydration, and enhancing water balance in the body, as well as promoting nutrient uptake by the cells. This equates to fewer cramps, and fuller muscles, capable of contracting with more force.
Sheer Pre-X is a great pre-workout supplement providing a whole gram of taurine, as well as many other potent ingredients giving your energy levels a boost and improving your pumps to help you power through your workouts and hopefully hit a few PB’s along the way.
Not be confused with aspartame, the food additive that has been the subject of a misunderstood fear campaign in recent years, D-aspartic acid (DAA) is of huge benefit to males who train intensely.
This potent amino acid primarily acts as a testosterone booster, by upping the body’s natural production of the king of anabolic hormones. It has also been shown that human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) are also raised by DAA, meaning increased gains all around. Interestingly, it is believed DAA also upregulates thyroid function, leading to a higher metabolic rate and potential fat loss. For this reason, those with thyroid problems should consult a doctor before supplementing with DAA.
Sheer Alpha+ is one of the strongest testosterone boosters on the market, delivering in excess of 3 grams of DAA, as well as a multitude of other extremely powerful anabolic ingredients. If you want to break away from that plateau, or just give your training a real boost, reach for Sheer Alpha+.
Arginine has long been used to treat genuine medical issues such as angina, heart disease, hypertension, and problems with sexual potency. In the diet, arginine is really only found in high quantities in foods such as white meats, nuts, and raisins, and even these concentrations are not enough to bring about the potent, beneficial effects of this amino acid.
Arginine’s main benefit for athletes is its ability to massively increase nitric oxide (NO) production. NO works by relaxing the blood vessel walls, causing the vessels to dilate and increase blood flow. During exercise increased flow means more of the nutrient-rich blood gets deeper into the muscles, innervating more fibers, providing more energy, and creating huge, satisfying pumps. Bigger pumps aren’t just pleasing to the eye; the greater the surface area of a muscle, the more weight it can lift. More weight means greater stimulation, equaling greater gains. Sold yet?
Well, arginine is also excellent for the immune system, works as a potent antioxidant, and speeds up recovery rates. Sheer NO2 supplement turbo charges your workouts and gets your blood coursing deep into the tissues. Packed with not one, but two, variations of arginine, you might just find yourself bursting out of your clothes.
For want of a better expression, beta-alanine is a strange one! Anyone who has ever taken it will know precisely why.
A word of warning, ease yourself in. The physical effects can be quite striking, and have freaked out many an unsuspecting consumer.
Approximately 20 minutes after taking beta-alanine, you will begin to feel a slight tingling sensation all over your skin. Depending on the dose consumed, this tingling could build to a case of the pins and needles. Your face will probably flush, and hopefully, you will feel in some way invigorated.
When this happens, don’t worry, you aren’t experiencing an exotic side effect, it is the action of the potent amino acid, beta-alanine. You will get to know and relish that tingle with time, some even grow to love it.
Beta-alanine works by raising concentrations of carnosine within the muscles. This carnosine is vitally important in maintaining the pH levels of the tissues. When you train, an acidic environment forms, meaning that pH levels drop, inhibiting performance and leading to fatigue. When you supplement with beta-alanine, these pH levels are inhibited from dropping, meaning you can train harder and longer before becoming tired.
As you may have guessed, the best time for taking beta-alanine is pre-workout. Look no further than Pre-X once again, as, alongside taurine and many other potent ingredients, you will find 2.5g of pure beta-alanine per serving.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.
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