Amino acids are essential nutrients required by our body. They play a crucial role in breaking down the food and absorbing protein out of it. However, the greatest drawback about the entire process is that our body is unable to produce almost 9 nine essential amino acids.
This is where amino acid supplements come to the rescue – they contain these 9 essential amino acids, besides some other required nutrients to balance our lifestyle and well-being. However, people often get confused about whether they should take these supplements or stick to relying on regular food sources for amino acids.
If you too are unsure about the consumption of amino acids and are looking for a guide into the world of amino acid supplements, you have come to the right place. Here, we will be highlighting the significance of amino acid supplements and the risks, benefits involved, to help you decide whether you would like to include them in your diet.
What Are Amino Acid Supplements?
Amino acids refer to the building blocks of proteins – compounds that are used by our body to build protein. The amino acids contain nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. They are of three types:
- Non-essential amino acids
- Conditional amino acids
- Essential amino acids
Out of them, essential amino acids are not produced by our body and need to be incorporated from food or supplements.
Amino acid supplements contain nine such essential amino acids that are not produced by our body naturally. These amino acids are –
BCAA or branched-chain amino acids are also found in some amino acid supplements but are mostly required by athletes, bodybuilders, or individuals looking to gain muscle or strength.
Now that we are familiar with amino acids and their supplements, let us take a look at the benefits of these supplements.
Benefits Of Taking Amino Acid Supplements
The benefits of taking amino acid supplements are –
- Muscle Function
The most crucial benefit of amino acids lies in improving muscle function. This is because these essential amino acids are necessary for improving muscle strength and development. They also help to regulate and balance the growth and the atrophy of human muscles. Also, these supplements increase the supply of nitrogen in our body, leading to an increase in the amount of amino acid in skeletal muscle, thus increasing muscle mass.
- Enhancing Sports Performance
Amino acids are great for those looking to enhance their sports performance. This is because amino acids help in muscle gain and increase strength, which leads to better performance. Often, these supplements are prescribed to those who follow a strict exercise or workout regime to ensure that they reduce muscle protein breakdown, helping them gain muscle.
- Regulating Blood Glucose Level
Amino acid supplements are great for controlling blood sugar levels. Often patients with type 2 diabetes are prescribed amino acid supplements to lower their blood sugar level while maintaining their insulin level. However, these are only short-term benefits; the long-term effect of amino acids on blood sugar is still unknown.
- Improving Skin Conditions
Young women have often been recommended amino acid supplements. It is great for improving skin conditioning by increasing its moisture level, giving your skin a healthy natural glow.
While amino acid supplements do come with tons of benefits, they do have certain drawbacks. Let us discuss these drawbacks and risks.
Risks Of Taking Amino Acid Supplements
While the benefits of amino acid supplements are manifold, they do come with their set of risks. These risks are discussed below:
- Weight Gain
Amino acids can be key to immense weight gain. That’s because if amino acids aren’t used up within a short time after consumption, they convert to glycogen or fat. Thus, if you consume more amino acids than your requirement, you will face a massive weight gain that affects your kidney and liver function.
- Dangerous For Athletes
Athletes prescribed amino acid supplements should be very careful about the amount of amino acid their body intakes. This is because if their body absorbs too much of these acids, they will not absorb enough carbs from their diet. They will also become dehydrated quickly, which can be dangerous during intense workouts or exercise regimes.
- Amino Acid Imbalance
If you are already consuming an amino-acid-rich diet, then you will not require additional amino acid supplements. Thus, if you keep up an amino-acid-rich diet along with supplements, your body will suffer from amino acid imbalance. This will lead to certain ones being predominant in your body while others will not be adequately absorbed.
- Kidney Function
Too many amino acids in your body can be harmful to your kidney and liver. This is because our kidneys might face problems in functioning if we follow high-protein and high amino acid diets throughout our life. So, if you do decide to take amino acid supplements, we suggest taking them in a very measured amount semi-regularly.
Despite the risk factors of amino acid supplements, we must end with the parting note that these supplements are healthy for your body when taken in a prescribed dose. Thus, we would suggest consulting a doctor, dietician, trainer, or coach who can guide you to take the optimum amount of amino acid supplement required by your body. This will help you retain only the benefits of amino acids while avoiding the risks.
Thus we can conclude that amino acid supplements have both health benefits and risks. So if one keeps in mind the prescribed dose of these supplements and ensures that they take a healthy, well-balanced diet and a strict workout regime alongside, they do not have to face the adverse effects of this supplement. We hope this article helps you understand the benefits and risks of this dietary supplement and enables you to figure out whether you want to include it in your diet.
Remember, it is always a better idea to consume supplements, only after discretion with a doctor or a health expert.