Amino Acids for Health and Fitness – A Quick Guide

17-pp-1009-social-blogbanners-amino Don’t be fooled – even if your fitness goals are primarily geared toward weight loss, adding resistance training to your fitness plan and building lean muscle mass are an absolute must. In order to do so, it’s important to understand what amino acids are, how to include them in your diet and how they can impact your results.

What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the ‘building blocks of life,’ meaning that we cannot live – let alone thrive – without them, as they are necessary for overall health and wellness.* Certain ‘Essential’ amino acids are only available in our diets through the foods we consume, and other ‘Non-Essential’ amino acids are available in food as well as are produced by the body as they are needed.

Most fitness fanatics know that protein plays an important role in supporting their workouts, but not everyone realizes that amino acids are hard at work before protein even exists in the body.  The 20 amino acids are crucial building blocks for protein and support the growth of cells, and can also be used as fuel for energy.*

2 Important Amino Acids
Here are two amino acids that I prioritize in my own nutrition plan and recommend to many of my personal training clients:

L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in your body and is known for its especially high concentration in muscle tissue.*  Since natural glutamine levels are depleted during hard exercise, many athletes and bodybuilders use glutamine as a post-workout supplement.  Sufficient levels of glutamine may aid in a faster recovery.*

My other favorite amino acid is L-Carnitine.  Carnitine is a nitrogen-containing compound that assists in fat metabolism by making fatty acids available for muscle tissue.*   This is great news for fitness enthusiasts! Carnitine can be used to help transport and transform the food you eat into fuel or energy.* Since carnitine occurs naturally in high levels in red meats and other animal products, vegetarians in particular can benefit from the use of carnitine nutritional supplements.

Which other amino acids do you use to support your workouts and your overall health goals? Leave a comment below with your favorites.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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