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Amino Acids and BCAAs

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins - the foundation - and without them, it's hard to build muscle, preserve muscle, or recover from a tough workout. Aminos are also involved in the production of specific hormones, help fight infection, boost immune function, and help drive energy and nutrient delivery to muscles.

There are 2 types of amino acids - Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) and Non-Essential Amino Acids. There are 20 amino acids required for proper body functioning.

Essential Amino Acids

There are 9 amino acids that the body must obtain on a daily basis through our diet because it cannot produce them. These are:

  • Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phynylaianine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Histidine, and Valine

Non-Essential Amino Acids

There are 13 non-essential amino acids. The body can produce them in the liver through a process called transamination. Being called non-essential does not mean that these amino acids are unimportant. They are all essential for metabolism and muscle growth and repair asssitance. The non-essential amino acids are:

  • Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid, Cysteine, Cystine, Glutamic acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Hydroxyproline, Proline, Serine and Tyrosine.

BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)

Valine, Isoleucine, Leucine are three essential amino acids. They are called "branched chain" because of the unique branch-like structure. The combination of these three BCAAs make up approximately 1/3 of skeletal muscle in the human body.

What's unique about BCAAs is that they are not broken down in the liver, but rather bypass the liver and are trasported directly to the muscle and metabolized there, so they play a vital role in building new proteins. In addition, BCAAs provide extra energy during heavy and prolonged exercises, help spare muscle tissues and fight mental brain drain.

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