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Amino Acids vs Protein for Muscle Growth
Amino Acids Supplements have become quite popular in the health industry. You may also hear them as BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) or Essential Amino Acids. Are amino acids worth your money, or should you just use the protein powder and food for your muscle-building goals? This article will discuss amino acids vs protein for muscle growth.
What are Amino Acids?
Before talking about Amino Acids, we need to talk about protein. Protein is the nutrients that rebuild the muscle tissue, hair, and nails. It is essential the raw materials that your body is made up of.
Therefore, when we ingest protein, it helps rebuild the body and is especially great for building muscle. After intense strength training, your muscle tissue gets broken down, so it gets rebuilt using protein.
Amino Acids are what protein is made up of.
When protein is broken down and directed, it turns into smaller pieces called Amino Acids. Amino Acids are made up of essential and nonessential varieties
Essential VS Nonessential Amino Acids
An essential Amino Acid means that the body cannot produce it on its own and must be found through external sources such as food and supplements. Nonessential Amino acids can be produced by the body on its own.
Here is list of all the Essential and Nonessential amino acids
Nonessential Amino Acids
- Aspartic Acid
- Glutamic Acid
Most amino acid supplements contain essential acids due to them not being able to be produced by the body on their own.
So, what’s the difference between amino acids vs protein for muscle growth?
The idea is that amino acids are already broken down, versus protein that must go through the digestive process.
There have been a few studies praising the benefits of amino acids. The first study showed that taking 6 grams of essential amino acids improved protein synthesis and muscle growth. (1)
Protein also does this, but the amino acids do it without extra calories, making it ideal for people who are a restricted caloric regimen.
The second study shows that the body utilizes amino acids more effectively than 40 g of whey protein. More of the amino acids were used to build muscle whereas the whey protein was not efficient in rebuilding muscle tissue. (2)
In conclusion, amino acid supplements seem to have a better effect on muscle growth than protein powder. For this reason, I would recommend amino acids over protein if you’re on a restricted diet.
It is a no-brainer to use amino acids instead of protein if you can receive additional benefits without the caloric load.
However, I think there is a benefit in using both in conjunction with each other as well.
Amino Acids, Protein Powder, and real food are all great and can work even better when used together. Because of this, let’s talk about some of the benefits of Amino Acids, Protein Powder, and real food.
Amino Acid Benefits
- It helps increase muscle and strength
- Decreases muscle soreness
- Reduces exercise fatigue
- It helps prevent muscle breakdown
- May help people with liver cancer (3)
Protein Powder Benefits
- It helps increase muscle and strength
- It May help improve type 2 diabetes (4)
- May lower blood pressure
- May reduce inflammation in the body (5)
- Can help lose more weight (6)
- Cheaper than supplements
- More natural
- Less Processed
- Highly effective
There is a school of thought that will always prefer real food. Whether you use animal or vegan foods, the thought is that real food has everything you need for muscle growth.
After all, there were no amino acid supplements 100 years ago, and yet people were still able to build muscle.
We think there is a benefit to all three types. Amino Acids, Protein Powder, and real food can work together to build muscle mass and strength.
It all depends on your budget and goals. I use all three with great results.
Protein Supplement we recommend
As I said previously, using protein powder can provide benefits. We recommend a Natural Whey Protein powder with minimal ingredients. I have been using Optimum Nutrition’s Natural Whey Protein for many years.
You can check current prices on My Supplement Store’s website here.
Amino Acid supplement we recommend
When looking for an amino acid supplement, you want to find one with minimal calories and sugars. Some pre and post-workout supplements have lots of sugar, caffeine, and artificial ingredients that should be avoided.
To maximize the benefits of Amino Acids, you want a product that is cost-effective and, ultimately, just works. We like the Optimum Nutrition Amino Acid tablets.
They are easy to take and provide great benefits. You can check current prices on My Supplement Store’s website here.
Do you use Amino Acids supplements with good results? Let us know in the comments below.