Amino acids are an essential part of the human body. You need them for a variety of processes such as creating tissues, regulating water balance, moving around nutrients, and so many more functions and chemical reactions that take place within the body.
Of course the aspects related to muscle tissue maintenance and muscle growth are the part that most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts focus on when they talk of amino acids. But there are a lot of amino acids, but only about 22 are very important to our body’s health. Of those, 10 are labeled as essential because you can only get them from foods or supplements.
So, of all of those amino acids, which ones are critical to muscle gain?
The Top 6 Amino Acids for Muscle Gain
Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. But muscle gain involves multiple angles so you can actually use quite a few amino acid supplements in the pursuit of muscle gain.
- BCAA‘s – The branched-chain amino acids are certainly essential amino acids to all bodybuilders. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are critical to optimizing muscle growth and tissue repair.
- Glutamine - This is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body, specifically in skeletal muscle. Glutamine helps with growth hormone maintenance and regulation and can be lost during intense workouts, which is why it gets supplemented.
- Carnitine - This one helps with the oxidation of fat. As you want improved energy levels and increased weight loss to go with muscle gain, it makes sense to add this amino acid into the mix.
- Taurine - This is an essential amino acid like glutamine that is involved in numerous metabolic functions and occurs highly within muscle fibers. It can also increase cell volume and help with protein synthesis which are both important for muscle growth and size.
- Arginine - This amino acid helps with Creatine production within the body as well as helping with blood flow within the body.
Ideally you can get a lot of these amino acids within protein sources including protein powders. But it is always a good idea to check exactly what you are taking and if you find yourself short then adding amino complexes to your supplementation program makes sense. Optimum Nutrition and Twinlab both make high quality amino acid supplements that combine multiple essential amino acids into one serving that can then be taken at the proper time for optimum results.
Other amino acids are out there and scientists are investigating whether or not they are utilized in a way to promote and increase muscle growth, but that this time these 5 amino acids plus the branched-chain amino acids are the ones considered to be the essential amino acids for muscle gain and growth.