news for athletes and exercisers has never been better.
Case in point: Investigators at the College of New Jersey studied the effect of a pre-exercise energy sport drink on the acute hormonal response to resistance exercise in eight experienced resistance-trained men. The subjects were randomly provided either a placebo (a carb drink) or the supplement (a combination that included branched chain amino acids and creatine) and they drank it 10 minutes prior to exercising. The men then performed 6 sets of no more than 10 repetitions of the squat at 75 percent of their 1 repetition maximum (1RM) with 2 minutes of rest between sets.
The men who supplemented with the amino acid formula could do more repetitions and lift heavier weights than those on the carb-placebo drink. Equally impressive, the enhanced exercise performance resulted in a significantly greater increase in both growth hormone and insulin concentrations, indicating an augmented anabolic hormone response from supplementing with the amino-acid formula. (1)
There is more: amino acid supplementation works as a treatment for “cachexia,” the life-threatening muscle loss that occurs with cancer and other diseases that cause muscle-wasting. Nutritional supplementation with amino acids has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in poorly controlled elderly subjects with type 2 diabetes. And, amino acids are being studied in cardiovascular diseases, which show it might improve well-being, enhance physical function, and improve recovery from exercise. (2)
For years, Parrillo Performance has recommended that active people, from bodybuilders to endurance athletes to exercisers, supplement with amino acids. Here is an overview of what a solid amino acid supplement program should entail – and why:
Parrillo Performance provides an important mixture of amino acids – the branched chain aminos – in its Muscle Amino Formula™. The time to use this product is immediately before and after training as well as with meals. Hard dieting is a great time to supplement with branch-chain amino acids. During times of energy insufficiency (dieting), your body will actually break down its own muscle to use as fuel if no other is available. Catabolism is a dreadful metabolic state that occurs when glycogen stores have been depleted and fat oxidation has maximized. Metabolically, your body requires a certain level of glucose (blood sugar) to be maintained in order for the brain to function. While body fat provides a long-lasting energy supply, fat cannot be converted into carbohydrate by the human body. But protein (amino acids) can. Under adverse conditions, carbohydrates are exhausted and your body breaks down protein stores (muscle tissue) to convert into carbohydrate to supply energy. Branched chain amino acids are effective because they form a substrate for growth and are metabolized as fuel directly within muscle cells. A handful of Muscle Amino Formula™ capsules will help prevent the onset of catabolism and has both anabolic and anti-catabolic properties. Hi-Protein™ and Optimized Whey™ are fortified with extra BCAAs for just this reason. We suggest two or more with every meal. Remember that BCAAs require insulin for absorption into muscle cells so take them with food or a protein and/or carb drink rather than on an empty stomach!
Don’t Forget Growth Hormone Releasing Aminos
Certain combinations of specific amino acids, such as those found in Enhanced GH Formula™, are shown to enhance GH release (8). Probably the best way to use these is on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, right before a workout, and before bed. (MCTs, like CapTri®, can be a potent stimulus for GH release.)
Our supplement contains arginine pyroglutamate and lysine monohydrochloride, two potent amino acids, when isolated and grouped together and taken on a regular basis have been shown to promote the secretion of growth hormone in the body. Growth hormone is the mightiest of all hormonal secretions as it increases mass and decreases bodyfat simultaneously, and aids in joint repair!
Arginine has a number of other important functions in the body, including the fortification of the immune system. In studies with animals and humans, arginine has been found to improve wound healing and bolster immune responses, plus reduce the incidence of infection following surgery.
Arginine has other duties, as well. It is required to manufacture creatine, an important chemical in the muscles that provides the energy for contractions. In addition, Arginine apparently helps prevent the body from breaking down protein in muscles and organs to repair itself when injured. Meat, poultry, and fish are good sources of arginine, as are numerous supplements, including our Enhanced GH Formula™ and our Ultimate Amino Formula™.
Glutamine & Ultimate Amino Formula™
Glutamine is another important amino acid. It is the favored fuel of your immune system. This means you need it when you’re ill, stressed, or recovering from surgery. Researchers have discovered that many athletes are deficient in glutamine – a shortage that makes them vulnerable to infections.
Glutamine is technically described as a “glucogenic,” meaning that it assists your body in manufacturing glycogen, the chief muscle fuel. Also, supplemental glutamine has been shown to elevate growth hormone levels – and may even curb the desire for sugary foods.
Each capsule in our Ultimate Amino Formula™ contains 103 milligrams of glutamine. We recommend that you take two or more capsules of this supplement with each meal. That should supply a gram or more daily – which is appropriate for athletes and active individuals.
So – there are plenty of wonderful benefits to supplementing with amino acids, especially if you want to maximize performance, muscle development, and overall well-being.
1. Hoffman, J.R., et al. 2008. Effect of a pre-exercise energy supplement on the acute hormonal response to resistance exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 22:874-882.
2. Strasser, F. 2007. Appraisal of current and experimental approaches to the treatment of cachexia. Current Opinions in Supportive and Palliative Care 1:312-316.
3. Isidori A, Lo Monaco A, Cappa M. 1981. A study of growth hormone release in man after oral administration of amino acids. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 7: 475-481.
4. Valls E, Herrera F, Diaz M, Barreiro P, and Valls A. 1978. Modification in plasmatic insulin and growth hormone induced by medium chain triglycerides. Span. Ana. Ped. 11: 675-682.