Amino Acid Supplementation

As many of you may know, exercise and physical activity can cause your body to be sore for many days following. This soreness is often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.

Amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts, a frequent remedy for improved muscle recovery is the supplementation of amino acids. Amino Acids are the building blocks for protein. There are 20 known amino acids required for the body that are separated into essential and nonessential. The body cannot produce essential amino acids; therefore, they must be acquired through diet. The body can produce nonessential amino acids on it’s own.

A related practice amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts is the supplementation of BCAAs or branched chain amino acids. There are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. All three BCAAs are essential amino acids; but, not all essential amino acids are BCAAs. BCAAs are believed to facilitate protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and decrease body fat. This belief comes from the clinical use of amino acids to regulate anabolic hormones in deficient patients even though there is no convincing evidence of these claims on healthy patients.1

While the benefits of BCAA supplementation may seem enticing, there is also research showing that increased intake of the BCAA, leucine, may be linked to expediting the effects of the enzyme TOR. TOR is known as an enzyme that promotes aging.2 A common misconception about amino acids is that having higher proportions of them, like in animal products, is beneficial to us. This is inaccurate and is more damaging than it is beneficial.3

With the potential effects of supplementation and animal products, you might be wondering if there is a better way to get your daily intake of amino acids. Good news! A plant based diet can provide you with all the essential and nonessential amino acids your body is looking for.4

Here are 10 plant-based, readily available, highly affordable, protein dense foods: quinoa, lentils, chia seeds, broccoli, hemp seeds, spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and black beans.

Eating plant based foods will help to repair tissue and build muscle. This tissue repair will aid in recovery, and limit the effects of DOMS.



  1. McArdle, William D., Frank I. Katch, and Victor L. Katch. “Amino Acid Supplementation.” Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010. 551-52. Print.
  1. Written by: Michael Greger M.D. FACLM. “Living Longer by Reducing Leucine Intake.” N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017. 
  1. Ochoa, MD, Sofia P. “7 Serious Problems With Animal Protein.” Forks Over Knives. N.p., 31 Dec. 2016. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
  1. Greger, M.D. Michael. “The Protein-Combining Myth.” NutritionFactsorg. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.

Published by Tarek Makled

My name is Tarek Makled. I am an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Functional Range Assessment Specialist, Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist, and a Licensed Kinstretch Instructor. I am also Adult First Aid/CPR/AED Certified.

2 thoughts on “Amino Acid Supplementation

  1. is it ok to get some of my protein from whey protein powder? I have tried to reach my goals with food alone and even with some of your suggestions, I still struggle to get as much protein as I should. are their any brands you might recommend?

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