Amino acids are a group of chemical compounds which are characterized in that they each have at least one amino group (-NH2) and one carboxyl group (COOH) in their structure. Amino acids are essential for the human body because they form the smallest subunit of proteins. This means that proteins consist of amino acids.
Furthermore, they are needed for the construction of messenger substances, hormones, enzymes etc. There are about 400 known, naturally occurring amino acids. In order to be able to maintain various processes and the structure in the body, humans need about 20 amino acids.
They are the so-called proteinogenic amino acids. These 20 proteinogenic amino acids all have at least two carbon atoms (C). Based on the position of the amino group on a certain C-atom, the amino acids can be divided into three classes: Alpha-amino acids: Amino group on the second carbon atom, all proteinogenic amino acids belong to the alpha class, e.g.
glycine Beta-amino acids: Amino group on the third carbon atom Gamma-amino acids: Amino group on the fourth carbon atom, are not proteinogenic amino acids, but some of them are nevertheless present in the human body, e.g. gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, a messenger substance in the brain)
- Alpha-amino acids: amino group on the second carbon atom, all proteinogenic amino acids belong to the alpha class, e.g. glycine
- Beta-amino acids: amino group on the third carbon atom
- Gamma-amino acids: amino group attached to the fourth carbon atom, are not proteinogenic amino acids, but some of them do occur in the human body, e.g. gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, a messenger substance in the brain)
Although the amino acids of the presented classes are similar, they differ in their behaviour in acidic or basic environments depending on the structure of the side chains.
This is built differently in the different classes. Some of the proteinogenic amino acids can be produced by the body itself, but this is not true for all of them. The amino acids that humans do not produce themselves are the so-called essential amino acids.
They have to be taken in through food. For the adult human being these are the following amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, methyonine, threonine, valine, lysine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. An exception is cysteine, which can actually be synthesized by the body itself.
However, as it is also an indispensable source of sulphur, it must still be taken. In babies, the essential amino acids histidine and arginine are added. As already mentioned, proteins are built up from amino acids by enzymes building the amino acids in chains one after the other.
The sequence is different for each protein and determines the function and the application of the finished protein. The exact sequence is determined by the DNA. If the human organism does not have enough amino acids available, the construction of proteins can no longer proceed correctly.
Normally the essential amino acids are contained in the diet. Especially in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes and soya, furthermore in cereals and pasta like noodles, amino acids are present. In cases of malnutrition and in special situations such as during the targeted build-up of muscle mass, the demand for amino acids is particularly high.
In this state, amino acid tablets can be taken in addition to a healthy diet to promote muscle building. One should only take amino acid tablets when one has already optimally coordinated one’s nutrition and strength training. Only then can it make sense to take food supplements such as amino acid tablets.
Compared to other amino acid products, these are in higher doses. Amino acid tablets contain special types of proteins that the human organism can effectively absorb. In this way the body is provided with the basic building blocks for muscle building.
This supply of proteins makes it possible for the muscles to grow well. The amino acids contained in the amino acid tablets can be absorbed immediately and do not have to be removed from the overall diet. As a result, they are quickly absorbed into the blood and are therefore quickly at the place where they are metabolized.
Compared to other products with amino acids as the main ingredient, amino acid tablets are easy to handle. They are also suitable for quick intake in between (e.g. in the gym). The tablets are best taken with a glass of water.
The optimal time for taking them is before or after muscle training, so that the amino acid tablets can unfold their effect at the right time. Compared with amino acid capsules, amino acid tablets have some differences. The capsules usually have a gelatine shell, inside which the actual active ingredient is located.
This can be in liquid, solid or powder form. Once the capsule has reached the stomach, it is dissolved by gastric acid and the sealed active ingredient can escape. The amino acids are then absorbed through the stomach lining.
Tablets, on the other hand, do not have a solid shell, but consist only of compressed active ingredient powder. They also dissolve in the stomach and can unfold their effect. Since the capsules are usually made with animal gelatine, they are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Instead, amino acid tablets should be used in this case. So far, no great difference has been found between the effects of capsules and tablets. One should familiarize oneself with the topic before taking amino acids.
Amino acid tablets are only useful for competitive athletes who train a lot and intensively. As the name suggests, amino acids as food supplements can only have a supplementary effect and in no way replace a healthy and balanced diet. Excessive intake will therefore not have a better effect, but is rather counterproductive.