How Amino Acids Affect Your Gains

We know that protein supplementation is an effective way to build muscle. Certain amino acids help your body produce protein in addition to developing healthy tissue in your skin, bones, hair and muscles. They’re also essential for eliminating waste from your body associated with metabolism.

Amino acids can be found in many foods including eggs, meats, chia seeds, soy, buckwheat and whey. Aside from being necessary for basic health, amino acids play several roles in the cellular and molecular makeup of your body. We can find benefits in both muscular growth and exercise performance from these important nutrients.

Let's take a look at how different amino acids affect your gains and why they matter when it comes to developing a strong, healthy physique.

Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine

Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and fall into a subgroup of the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). Your body produces energy by breaking them down during exercise. Having a sufficient amount of BCAAs in your system prior to working out helps protect your body and reduces recovery time.

Other supplemental benefits of BCAAs include increased focus, higher energy levels and improved strength. There are a number of BCAA supplements available on the market today. However, much has been debated around how effective BCAAs are versus EAAs (essential amino acids). This helpful article explains the major BCAA vs EAA differences.


Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which means that your body can produce it, but activities such as exercise deplete your reserves. It’s the most prevalent amino acid in your skeletal muscle. Taking glutamine supplements before and after training helps with building muscle, exercise recovery, and energy preservation.


Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid. In this case, your body synthesizes it from phenylalanine, another type of amino acid. Tyrosine acts as a precursor to the production of certain neurotransmitters that are related to weight loss and fat burning in addition to controlling focus, motivation, mood and movement.

The production of these neurotransmitters is decreased when you restrict your caloric intake, which can result in stress. Therefore, the supplementary use of tyrosine can combat this effect and keep you in the right mood to continue working out during periods of time that are otherwise difficult to stay active in.


This amino acid forms carnosine in your body as a reaction to histidine. Beta-alanine is considered nonessential, but has a number of benefits when it comes to your workout. Research has found that supplementation can increase carnosine levels by over 60% in just four weeks, which in turn can improve exercise intensity, strength building and endurance.


Citrulline is also nonessential and is produced by your body by a combination of other amino acids. Your body requires adenosine triphosphate and phosphocreatine to provide energy for muscle contractions during exercise. Citrulline increases the production of these two components.

Once processed by your body, citrulline is converted to arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide, which optimizes nutrient delivery, blood flow and waste removal. This makes citrulline an effective energy and strength booster, as well as helping with building muscle mass.


Carnitine is synthesized in the kidneys and liver from lysine and methionine, making it a nonessential amino acid. During weight training, carnitine enhances anabolism by replicating the effects of testosterone in your muscles.

Taking carnitine supplements during cardio and dieting helps increase fat burning without affecting muscle breakdown. This makes it great for enhancing your gains and recovery.


The correct usage of supplements, along with a balanced diet that provides these amino acids can greatly improve your workouts while also contributing to overall good health. Be sure to read up on the dosage and timing guidelines for amino acid supplements to get the most out of them for your gains.

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