If you have researched any kind of muscle supplement, you’ll typically find ingredients that start with a “L-“. Most amino acids naturally occur in this configuration. So for the most part, you’ll see this type of amino acid in muscle supplements. Essentially, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. And if you know anything about bodybuilding, protein is necessary to build muscle.
Not all amino acids are great for muscle growth. And some amino acids have different functions. Also, there’s a difference between amino acids that occur naturally in the body versus the ones that you must obtain through your diet. For the most part, below are the most common amino acids in muscle supplements.
The Most Common Amino Acids In Muscle Supplements
- L-Arginine – Currently, arginine is one of the most popular amino acids in muscle supplements – and for good reason. For optimal protein synthesis, your body must be able to retain nitrogen. And arginine is the best amino acid in retaining nitrogen. This amino acid is what we call a non-essential amino acid – meaning it’s produced as your body needs it. However, if you undergo intense training, your body simply cannot keep up with arginine production. So, this is where a muscle supplement comes in. Not only does arginine give your immune system a boost, but it also speeds up recovery from training. Basically, it works by improving circulation by releasing nitric oxide into the blood stream. And nitric oxide has this unique ability to relax and widen blood arteries. So, more oxygen and other nutrients are directed to the muscles that need it most.
- Glutamine – As another non-essential amino acid found in muscle supplements, glutamine is found in large amounts throughout your body. So, why is it present in many supplements? Well, as it turns out, glutamine has many strange and different abilities. For one, glutamine may help with concentration. Basically, it increases GABA in the brain, which supports optimal brain functioning. Also it is necessary for the synthesis of muscle tissue. As another non-essential amino acid found in muscle supplements, glutamine is found in large amounts throughout your body. So, why is it present in many supplements? Well, as it turns out, glutamine has many strange and different abilities. For one, glutamine may help with concentration. Basically, it increases GABA in the brain, which supports optimal brain functioning. Also it is necessary for the synthesis of muscle tissue. Although your body needs loads of nitrogen in order to get ripped, too much of it can actually create ammonia in the brain. Glutamine works by attaching itself to the nitrogen and escorting it out of the body. Also, if you supplement with glutamine, your body most likely will end up using it as energy. So, although glutamine isn’t ideal for bulking up, it can help you lose weight and burn off fat.
- Lysine – As one of the most important amino acids for growth and development, lysine maintains lean body mass during periods of stress and fatigue. Your body also uses this amino acid to produce antibodies, testosterone, and for tissue repair. And although it’s main use is to maintain lean muscle, lysine is also able to build new muscle. As an essential amino acid, you must get lysine through your diet or supplementation. Without it, you may experience hair loss, weight loss, little to no appetite, and a lack of energy. And you can get more in your diet by eating most dairy products, meat, potatoes, yeast, and lima beans. So, basically, if you experience low energy due to working out, you probably should supplement with lysine.
- Phenylalanine – Despite having amazing, muscle building qualities, in recent years, people seem to be experiencing more and more bad reactions to Phenylalanine. Now, studies show that in healthy people, there should be no cause for alarm. And it is safe to supplement with it. For the most part, phenylalanine stimulates the nerve system. Basically, it encourages complete muscle contraction and relaxation. Plus, it supports memory recall, and improves levels of dopamine, epinephrine, and nor-epinephrine, which are all needed for your nerve system to operate optimally. In addition, phenylalanine helps your body absorb vitamin D from sunlight or from consumption. So, it’s no wonder it’s found in many dairy products, as well as nuts, seeds, and avocados. If you’ve seen it pop up in the news recently, you may know that it is said to be linked to cancer. However, this is only in extreme doses. And in extreme doses, one could say anything is linked to cancer. If you’re deficient in phenylalanine, you may experience fatigue, weakness, liver damage, and stunted growth.