I see many advertisements for amino acids and I was wondering what they are and what they actually do. –Khloe
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. In a similar way that it takes many individual bricks to build a wall, it takes many individual amino acids to “build” a protein. A wall can be many different colors, shapes, strengths, etc… depending on the type of bricks that are used and how they are put together. A protein can also have different shapes and functions depending on the amino acids which make it up, and how they are put together.
After a protein is ingested, it is usually broken apart into its individual amino acid components before it is used by the cells. Therefore, amino acids are sold in order to skip the “breaking apart” stage of the protein, and to allow less time between ingestion and usage.
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are a group of amino acids called the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Due to their shape they are the main ones which are thought to be responsible for muscle anabolism. Check out the supplement page for more info on these and others.