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Amino acids - the lowdown

Amino acid - Australian Iron Man magazine

There are 22 different amino acids, and they work much like the alphabet.

Although there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, millions of words and phrases can be strung together by combining various letters. The body uses a combination of amino acids to make chains of amino acids that form what scientists refer to as peptide bonds.

Once these chemical bonds are formed, the unique sequence of amino acids that forms the bond delineates exactly what the protein does. That’s where the term ‘building blocks of protein’ comes from. As a point of reference, peptide bonds can be formed from a combination of two amino acids to several thousand.

In order to maintain your amino acid pool, you have to constantly take in enough for the proteins to carry out all of their functions. That’s the reason it’s important to get protein-charged meals every few hours. Without that regimen your body may have to keep breaking down existing muscle tissue to replenish your amino acid pool, which can, of course, have a negative effect on your efforts to build and repair muscle tissue.

Based on how important these bad boys are to maintaining health in general, it wouldn’t be wise to turn the deep end of your amino acid pool into a shallow one.

Take amino acids between meals and immediately following your workout. Take them on nontraining days to in order to accelerate growth and recovery.

The mounting evidence makes it apparent that amino acid function goes well beyond muscle growth and general recovery. Emerging data indicate that when present in the right amounts, aminos become precursors of substances that act as anabolic activators and have a direct effect on ensuring that all of your metabolic reactions are fine-tuned.

— George L. Redmon, Ph.D.

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