From early on in our fitness education, we’ve been taught the importance of amino acids, and how they interact within our bodies. We know they’re the building blocks of protein, and that they play a critical role in the body’s metabolic functions. Before you start getting flashbacks from high-school science class, let’s explore the expanded variety of amino acids you can come across within the sports nutrition sphere.
Which Amino to Choose?
The supply (and demand) of amino acids seems to be growing daily. With so many stand-alone amino acid varieties now available to help boost your workouts and recovery, it’s becoming tough to discern which will be of benefit and why.
Many whey proteins, like Allmax Nutrition’s ISOFLEX supply an inherently strong amino acid profile, with upwards of 30 grams in each serving. Now this is perfect for fulfilling many of our recovery requirements, but some particular amino acids are well worth loading up on in order to get that extra edge in your workout.
Why Choose Taurine?
Taurine is one of the most widely used amino acids. In fact, it is second only to glutamine as the most plentiful amino acid in the body, present in the central nervous system, the brain, and of course within our muscle tissue. It can be found naturally in many foods such as eggs, milk, fish and various meats. However, during times of extreme physical exhaustion the body does not produce enough and supplementation is required, hence the reason why Taurine is considered to be a “conditionally essential” amino acid.
Its popularity stems from its ability to increase muscle size and strength, while also inhibiting muscle tissue breakdown.
Similar to Creatine, Taurine acts as a cell volumizer, drawing water and other nutrients into muscle cells resulting in greater muscle fullness and size, while also increasing recovery and growth. In turn, this same process substantially hydrates the muscle tissue, which allows for an increase in protein synthesis and a decrease in muscle breakdown.
Regulating Mineral Balance
Taurine’s ability to regulate water and mineral salts in the blood, while maintaining movement of potassium, magnesium and sodium across cell membranes helps to prevent muscle cramping during intense exercise. Add to this the fact that Taurine also plays a role in muscle contraction by enhancing the ability of the muscle to generate force (by increasing the uptake and release of calcium ions), and it’s no wonder why you will find Taurine in many premium pre-workout products on the market today.
Taurine For Focus
All of this being said, one of the most noticeable benefits of Taurine for the avid gym trainee, is its ability to provide focus. As a metabolic transmitter used in brain function and to stabilize cell membranes in both the heart and the brain, an efficacious dose of Taurine provides substantial mental focus.
So next time you find yourself peering over a shelf full of amino acids, grab a bottle of Taurine, you won’t be disappointed.