In this article you will learn more about the amino acids

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the basic building blocks of organic life and occur in every form of life. Chemically they are compounds of an amino group with a carboxylic acid group. Together they form the building blocks of proteins which make up body tissue, bones, hair, as well as enzymes, hormones and DNA. 

In 1805, an amino acid was first isolated from the juice of asparagus, known as asparagine. In the following years, chemists and pharmacists succeeded in isolating more and more of the protein-building amino acids and clarifying their structure. In 1931 the last of the twenty common amino acids, threonine, was discovered.

Depending on the point of view, the group of amino acids can be divided once into proteinogenic and non-proteinogenic. Proteinogens” refers to the twenty amino acids that together form the human protein. Selenocysteine, the 21st amino acid, occupies a special position here because it is not encoded by DNA.

Non-proteinogens also play a decisive role in the human organism and are involved in important processes. In nature there are several hundred of them. 

Another way of distinguishing can be made in terms of availability. The non-essential amino acids are produced in the body itself. The essential amino acids must be taken in with food. The conditionally essential, also semi-essential amino acids, are only used in certain stressful situations, for example during human growth, serious injuries or other unusually high stress levels. 

What are amino acids used for in sports?

In general, if an amino acid is missing, the function of all proteins can be impaired. An undersupply leads to a weakening of the immune system and to a drop in performance and – important for all sportsmen and women – can result in joint diseases and muscle loss. 

Various amino acids are important for strength and endurance athletes. Valine, leucine and isoleucine enter the blood immediately, improve muscle growth and reduce the occurrence of fatigue.

L-Arginine with its vasodilating effect ensures better blood circulation. L-glutamine increases the muscle cell volume, can promote protein formation in the muscle and can also promote glycogen formation there.

When and in what form is it useful to take it?

It makes sense to take a food supplement with the right combination of amino acids. After intensive training, the body is heavily loaded and could use three times the amount of amino acids. Here a supplement would make sense to support the muscle build-up.

But also directly before the training the fatigue phase can be postponed with an intake. It is advisable to drink a lot of liquid, as the body cannot use the large amount of protein, but can then excrete it more easily. 

Amino acid products in dietary supplements are offered as powders, pills, capsules or ampoules. The composition of each product and the recommended daily dosage should be carefully considered.

Are you interested in further supplements?

In our free supplement guide you will find a collection of the most important supplements.