After training, your muscles are counting on amino acids from protein to kick-start the rebuilding process. Essential Amino Acids play an important part in this process, and a subset of that group known as Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are favored by athletes for their ability to be absorbed directly into muscle tissue. But how are amino acids used by the body during exercise?
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports analyzes the amino acid response to exercise by gender. Researchers had 8 female and 6 male subjects perform three all out 30-second sprints. Blood leucine concentrations decreased more in males than in females, although muscle tissue levels of the BCAA leucine remained similar. This correlated with a greater buildup of ammonia in male subjects.
True Strength Moment: It turns out that ammonia buildup in the muscles of female subjects was buffered by an increase in glutamine, which is considered a conditionally essential amino acid because, under normal conditions, your body can produce an adequate supply. Situations where supplementation may be beneficial include intense exercise.