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March 17, 2008 at 4:56 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Amino Acids and Weight Loss: Build Muscle and Lose Fat

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Amino acids are compounds in protein that work to repair and build muscle. To understand how amino acids work in the body, we must first understand the role of protein.

Why Protein?

Protein is an important part of anyone's diet. However it's much more important for those looking to build muscle or lose weight. Our muscles are 75% water and 20% protein, and the remaining 5% is made of carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. This is why drinking water is so essential, and why consuming lean protein is a great way to maximize your workout routine. As we lift weights, the muscle fibers, under strain, actually tear. This makes your body work to repair the damaged muscle, and in doing so, builds it up. Protein is made up of strings of amino acids, hence their importance in muscle building and weight loss.

What Are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are strings of compounds produced in the body and obtained through food. Non-essential amino acids are those produced by the body and, although the name sounds otherwise, we need them. Essential amino acids are not produced in the body and therefore must be obtained through diet. There are twenty standard amino acids; our bodies need all of them for optimal function.

Three Amino Acids For Optimal Weight Loss

Studies have shown three amino acids in particular to be great for weight loss.

  • Carnitine produces energy for the heart and other muscles. It ensures the conversion of fat into energy and then transports waste out of the body. Athletes often use carnitine to increase their energy and stamina and lower blood levels of fat.
  • Phenylalanine works to suppress the appetite by raising levels of norepinephrine, similar to the way diet pills do but without the depressing crash when stopped.
  • Triptophan has been shown to lower carbohydrate cravings, making it very effective for those who crave sweets and other high carb foods.

Build Muscle, Lose Fat

Remember that protein builds muscle. Building muscle increases metabolism. Metabolism burns fat. Protein is harder for your body to digest than fat or carbs because it requires more energy to digest; your body burns more calories when it digests protein. Protein also helps to suppress the appetite, making you feel fuller, longer. While cardiovascular exercise burns calories and fat, protein and muscle mass aids metabolism and helps burn fat as well. By combining a diet rich in lean proteins with strength training and cardiovascular exercise you can optimize your body's potential to build muscle and lose weight. Be sure to listen to your body; often when lifting weights we will crave protein. Be sure to satisfy that craving.

Sources:

http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/aa/aa.html http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/aminoacids/pages/carnitine.html http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/aminoacids/pages/phenylalanine.html

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