branched chain amino acids supplements what are the benefits and contraindications for
The essential amino acids are those that our body is unable to synthesize independently and therefore must necessarily be taken through a correct diet; these are: threonine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine, histidine and arginine (the latter two essential only for the growing organism). The replaceable essential amino acids are: cysteine, cystine and tyrosine. The non-essential amino acids are: glycine, alanine, nor-leucine, aspartic acid, glutaminic acid, proline, oxyproline, arginine, serine, histidine. Essential amino acids occur naturally in eggs, meat, fish and cheeses. Usually a well-structured and varied diet allows the athlete to take an adequate amount of essential amino acids, so much so that in the Western world there are no food shortages in this sense, which instead persists in undernourished areas of the planet.
Several studies have repeatedly demonstrated the usefulness and importance of essential amino acids in sports performance, but not all studies have led to a single position. In particular, there are differences in conclusions on the importance of the same branched amino acids in sports performance, on their need for integration and on the methods of recruitment. This is certainly partly due to the fact that studies have not always been carried out on athletes who practiced the same sport, and therefore the energy systems used also varied. In addition, the specificity of each individual sport must also be considered and in particular the ability that this leaves to the athlete to feed properly during the same athletic gesture. Now, some research would have highlighted how particularly prolonged muscle activity is characterized by the reduction of protein synthesis due to the lack of amino acids that occurs following their use as an energy source. This reduction would also occur during the recovery phase.
According to these studies, therefore, an integration of amino acids, both before, during and immediately after athletic performance, would be advisable and would lead to significant increases in performance. These studies, however, were conducted on marathon runners, a long-lasting sporting activity associated with a poor ability of the athlete to replenish the energy consumed during the same competition. Therefore, this study cannot be adapted to cycling, for obvious reasons. In fact, the cyclist has ample power to replenish the energy spent during the competition with both liquid and solid supplements, which if taken in the right way allow the athlete to keep the carbohydrates (and also lipids) necessary for energy synthesis high.
We must not forget, in fact, that proteins, and consequently amino acids, become a source of energy only if there is a lack of carbohydrates and fats, or if their absorption exceeds the requirements for protein synthesis, being transformed into carbohydrates and fatty acids. and stored in the form of glycogen or triglycerides. Now it is clear that an intake of branched chain amino acids before the competition is useless, as it would be used by the body for the eventual improvement of glycogen stores, an energy system scarcely used in road cycling and which can possibly be better integrated with the carbohydrate intake. Other studies, then, have highlighted how even in body building, where the cult of the high-protein diet is in force, a massive intake of amino acids did not lead to significant increases in muscle mass compared to athletes who had a more balanced intake.
This study, in particular, has highlighted how the growth of muscles and performance is not only linked to the intake of proteins, that is, the muscle needs proteins to grow, but above all training. At this point, once you have reached the right amount of protein based on your training load, a further increase in protein does not improve performance and the speed of muscle mass growth. This same study had then shown, in comparison, how some endurance sports, always marathon runners, needed a greater intake of proteins precisely because they were used for energy synthesis, given the impossibility of the same athletes to eat properly during the sports performance. This does not happen when the athlete has the opportunity to feed properly. Furthermore, other studies have shown that the idea that a massive introduction of amino acids can stimulate the production of testosterone and therefore further contribute to the improvement of sports performance is false.
In fact, it is true that some research has shown that an intake of essential branched chain amino acids leads to a stimulation of testosterone production, but this has only been shown on long-term patients and in precarious health conditions, in which the intake of amino acids ramified managed to restore a certain psychophysical balance, but always in comparison with the previous precarious health conditions.
Therefore, in healthy subjects and especially in athletes, it has never been demonstrated and it is to be excluded that an intake of amino acids leads to an increase in testosterone production. In light of the facts, therefore, it seems to exclude in safer motion than in cycling an intake of branched amino acids, before and during athletic performance, is convenient and leads to an improvement in athletic performance. There remains the question of recruitment after athletic performance. Proteins have the main function of building and reconstructing muscle fibers, an intake of branched chain amino acids after athletic performance could therefore lead to effective benefits in this regard. However, immediately the end of a high effort, the organism gives priority to the reconstruction of energy stocks, therefore an intake of branched amino acids immediately after the sporting performance would not be used for the reconstruction of muscle tissues, but for the reconstruction of the stocks of glycogen, which can best be done with carbohydrate intake. Therefore, the intake of amino acids is preferable after athletic performance, but after the end of the same and after a correct reintegration of carbohydrates. Therefore, it is preferable to take them about two and a half hours after the end of the race. Regarding the dose to be taken, this must be calculated taking into account the daily caloric requirement and the division of calories and food principles within the meals.
As already mentioned, in an athlete with an average age of about 20-22 years he can take a value of 1.6-1.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day, while this value is exceeded in young people between 15-20 years, where the optimal dose is about 1.8-2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. We will then reach 2.5-3 grams of protein per day per kg of body weight in even younger subjects, but already engaged in competitive activities. The caloric value of the proteins taken daily should therefore constitute about 12-14% of the daily caloric requirement, with a percentage of proteins, of animal origin, which constitutes about 60% of the total proteins, with an equal distribution of the eight essential amino acids. . We have said that a well-structured diet will naturally lead to reaching these values without the need for supplements, but if it is necessary to take it then this must be done wisely. In particular, we should not exceed the total protein value in order to avoid an increase in incoagulable nitrogen in the blood and subsequent renal overload for its elimination. Priority can be given to the three essential amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine; which alone make up about 60% of human skeletal muscle. The optimal composition of the same is in the ratio of 2: 1: 1; that is 2 parts of leucine, 1 part of isoleucine and one part of valine. It is preferable, then, to associate with this integration also that of vitamins B1 and B6, which facilitate their assimilation. If taken wisely, according to the above indications, there are no particular side effects.
N.B .: the photo is purely indicative