What are the 9 essential amino acids for athletes?
Overall, there are 20 different amino acids that the body can use. These are broken down into three categories: essential, non-essential and conditional. Non-essential amino acids are naturally produced by the body so are not needed externally from food. Conditional amino acids are usually not needed by a healthy body but may be required in times of illness or stress when the body is strained.
The 9 essential amino acids, on the other hand, are not produced by the body so it is necessary for you to get them through the food you eat, which is where the name comes from and why they are so important to get into your daily diet (especially if you are an athlete that takes part in regular and strenuous exercise). The 9 essential amino acids are:
Benefits of taking an amino acid supplement
One of the best ways to get a high dosage of specific amino acids into your diet is through a natural supplement. There is a whole range of amino acid supplements for athletes so it is all about finding the one that suits your specific needs and body. Here are some general benefits you could receive when taking one of these supplements:
- Boosts overall athletic performance
- Receive an equal and balanced dosage each time
- Muscle growth and gains
- Reduces tiredness and fatigue
- Lowers recovery time
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Better endurance
- Powerful fat burner
- Increases mental focus
Why are amino acids and protein so important for exercise?
Many people think athletes mainly need carbohydrates for energy when they are exercising, but they actually still need a balanced diet which includes plenty of protein. This is because protein is essential for the body and works to build and repair muscles, provide energy and reduce recovery time. Those athletes that are deficient in protein, therefore, can feel tired and fatigued and find it harder to look after their muscles and body overall. This can then have a massive impact on their performance, showing just how important amino acids and protein are to an athlete’s diet.
Foods that are high in amino acids
Although your body can’t naturally make the 9 essential amino acids, thankfully there are plenty of natural food sources that you can try. The most common sources of protein and amino acids are meat and animal products, but there are also a great number you can use even if you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Plus, these are all quite typical foods that you may be eating anyway, so it is just about getting the right amount for your needs and striking the right balance.
Meat-eater sources of amino acids:
- Red Meat
Vegan-friendly sources of amino acids:
- Black Beans
- Wheat Germ