Last updated: August 14, 2021

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It has happened to you that during the first day at the gym you come back with so much pain that you don't want to exercise again, ever! Fortunately, there are amino acids, supplements that can speed up your recovery.

Amino acids are a dietary supplement that helps exercisers' bodies regenerate their muscles more quickly and painlessly after a long training session.

Although amino acids have the primary function of rebuilding muscle fibres, there are some with very specific purposes. That is why we have put together all the information you need about each one so that you can choose the one you think best suits your lifestyle.




Summary

  • Amino acids are a dietary supplement that works as a complement to the natural regeneration of muscle fibres that are broken down during toning exercises.
  • They are recommended for people who exercise regularly and are looking to regenerate muscle fibres that have been broken down by their workout more quickly, without the need to eat too many protein foods.
  • Each type of amino acid has a particular purpose, so it is important to know whether you want to burn fat or increase your muscle tone to start consuming the ideal one for you.

The Best Amino Acids: Our Picks

Buying Guide: What you need to know about amino acids

Amino acids are present in proteins and function as a link to deliver nutrients to the body. They can be consumed as a supplement and are used by athletes to recover after training. They are a great dietary alternative, but before you go for one, consider the following factors.

What are amino acids and what benefits do they offer?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein found in foods such as fish, meat, eggs and pulses, and are responsible for transporting and storing all the nutrients that enter our bodies.

They help repair tissues such as skin, bones, hair or muscles, and there are two different types, essential and non-essential. When the amount of amino acids consumed through food is not sufficient, they can be supplemented in the form of a supplement.

Amino acids can also maintain and enhance the immune system, protect muscle mass and help neurotransmitters, enzymes and hormones to be secreted correctly.

Athletes consume amino acids because after any kind of toning exercise, muscle fibres break down, there is a lot of soreness and the recovery process is slow, so they help them regenerate faster.

Advantages
  • They help muscle recovery
  • With their consumption you can gain muscle mass without eating too many carbohydrates
  • They reduce muscle soreness after a workout
  • They help to obtain energy from glucose
  • They help to eliminate fat deposits accumulated in the body
  • They can be taken on an empty stomach
  • They are available in powder, tablet or capsule form
Disadvantages
  • They will never replace natural proteins in food
  • Depending on their version and quantity, they can be somewhat expensive
  • If their consumption is not controlled, tolerance develops
  • If the body gets used to them, doses have to be increased to see results
  • Their abuse can affect the functioning of the heart or blood pressure
  • They can cause gastrointestinal problems

Amino acid variants

Within the category of essential amino acids are the Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acids).

These amino acids stimulate the release of insulin, which can be converted into energy for longer endurance in all kinds of heavy workouts such as cycling, weight training or crossfit.

Branched Chain Amino Acids work like bricks that are responsible for rebuilding muscle fibres that are broken down during a session of weights, squats or any other exercise that has to do with toning the body's muscle mass.

This is why athletes seek to consume these branched amino acids to recover after a heavy workout in which there was a lot of muscle wasting.

Although the consumption of branched amino acids is recommended for all types of people as long as it is monitored by a nutrition specialist, it is important that athletes over the age of 35 turn to them as at this age, muscle building starts to become more complicated.

Young people can also take them if they are looking for a supplement to help them build muscle mass.

Some amino acid presentations can be vegan (Photo: Ben_Kerckx / Pixabay)

Amino acids for burning, toning, sports or low-calorie diets - what should you look out for?

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, amino acids have the function of transporting nutrients to the body, and one of the processes in which they have a great influence is the regeneration of broken muscle fibres.

Although it is a supplement mainly used by athletes because after training, muscles suffer a lot of wear and tear and need to be restructured, there are some types of amino acids that have different objectives.

Below we explain the characteristics of the different functions of the amino acids that you can find on the market, so you can identify their characteristics and find out which one works best for you, depending on the goal you want to achieve.

Burners: These amino acids have the main function of burning fat more easily because they help metabolise carbohydrates, proteins and fat faster. Some contain caffeine and herbal extracts, can be taken in the morning and come in different flavours.

One of the advantages of burners is that, even if you over-exercise, they prevent muscle over-exertion, so you experience less soreness after your workout.

Toning: These amino acids whose main function is to help the body gain muscle mass, are used by bodybuilders looking to bulk up their arms or legs.

There are different flavours and some do not have sugar or caffeine, so they are taken during training, every 20 minutes. They provide enough energy to endure strength or endurance exercises, as they delay muscle fatigue.

Sport: These amino acids are designed for high-performance athletes who are involved in running, marathons, swimming or other sports disciplines that require too much physical effort and need a boost to regenerate their muscles without so much pain.

They come in different flavours, can be consumed during the exercise session or half an hour after finishing training, improve the immune system and it is advisable to take them with plenty of water.

Diet: Amino acids can also be consumed during low-calorie diets, as they help control appetite and cravings. This is because they can regulate the secretion of leptin, known as the hunger hormone.

They are very good for supplementing the calories that are not being consumed from food, so they can be eaten when hungry, without fear of cardiovascular risk or loss of muscle mass or strength.

Burners Toning Sport Diet
Presentation Capsule Tablet, capsule or powder Tablet, capsule or powder Tablet, capsule or powder Tablet, capsule or powder
Time of consumption Before training Fasting Before training Every 3 or 4 hours
Main function Burn fat Prevent injury Reduce muscle fatigue Reduce appetite

How much do amino acids cost?

High performance athletes, people who like to run marathons, are cyclists, or those who enjoy going to the gym for long training sessions, are better off buying amino acids in a 3-6 month supply.
Therefore, you can find amino acids in powder form from $450.00 MXN, and amino acids in capsules of 30, 60 or up to 500 pieces, at a price between $350.00 MXN and $200.00 MXN per container.

High-performance athletes turn to the consumption of amino acids to regenerate their muscles faster (Photo: Bru-nO / Pixabay)

Purchasing criteria

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, amino acids are dietary supplements for people interested in muscle toning exercise.

Although their main function is to supplement the regeneration of muscle fibres that are broken down after a weight training or cycling session, there are some factors that need to be considered when purchasing any type of amino acid.

If you are just entering the world of amino acids, we made a short list of the factors you should consider before buying any type.

But don't worry, we will explain each of these characteristics so that you don't get confused and choose the best option for you.

Type of amino acids

The most important question for you when it comes to taking amino acids should be: "What do you want to achieve? To help you figure that out a bit, we've put together a list of possible actions to take, so we invite you to pick one and find out which type of amino acid is right for you.

It is very important to remember that amino acids alone will have no effect if you don't train hard, don't push yourself or don't change your eating habits for the better. Only by making adjustments to your lifestyle will you start to see results.

Increase your size. If you intend to become a bodybuilder or increase your muscle mass, it is important that you consume amino acids that will give you enough energy to do strength or endurance exercises that will allow you to bulk up your arms or legs without over-fatiguing your muscles.

Fat burning. Fat-burning amino acids, also known as fat burners, help metabolise carbohydrates, protein and fat faster, so they can be taken in the morning and sometimes contain caffeine or herbal extracts.

Doing sport. Those for high-performance athletes improve the immune system, reduce muscle fatigue when training and can be consumed during the exercise session. It is only important to take them with plenty of water.

Dieting. On the other hand, amino acids for low-calorie diets regulate the secretion of the hunger hormone, can be ingested only when you feel very hungry, do not generate cardiovascular risk and there is no loss of muscle mass or strength.

The variety of amino acids you can find on the market is very wide, so choosing the right one to achieve your goals is essential. (Photo : niekverlaan / pixabay.com)

Lifestyle

Although the lifestyle of an exerciser is what we now call fitness, it is not the same to be an office worker who cares about the health of his body as it is to be a national team member who is about to participate in the Olympic Games.

That's why it's important to know what kind of lifestyle you have, in order to know which type of amino acid is right for you. Here are some of them, hopefully you can identify yourself.

Office fitness. These are people who don't spend all their time exercising but are interested in slimming their figure and having a healthy lifestyle. This type of person can go to their nutritionist to find out what type of fat burning amino acids they should consume.

Gym trainer. These are men or women who intend to become trainers, marathon runners, mountain bikers or bodybuilders. They could start taking amino acids to help them increase their muscle mass and perform better in their workouts.

Performance athlete. High-performance athletes need amino acids to give them the energy they need to perform a lot of physical effort and regenerate their muscles without so much pain. This is because sport is their profession and they dedicate themselves full time to training and even participate in national games.

Presentation

Amino acids come in various forms, with capsules, tablets and powder being the most common. These formats exist with the intention of adapting to people's lifestyles or to the time of day when they are to be consumed.

Capsules or tablets. This is arguably the easiest way to take amino acids, as they can be consumed anywhere and only require water to swallow. It is advisable to take them in the morning or mid-workout.

Powder. Powder is also easy to consume if carried in a container and taken during a spin class or during breaks between sets of weight training. Unlike capsules or tablets, it has to be prepared in advance in a bottle or shaker.

Depending on the exercise you are going to do or the presentation you are more comfortable with, we recommend you to choose the presentation of your amino acids.

Quantity

This criterion can cover two types of quantity, on the one hand it refers to its duration of 1, 3 or up to 6 months, and on the other hand to how many capsules or grams should be taken in a day.

The duration of the amino acids per time will be indicated on the packaging. If it is powder for 30 servings and you take two a day, it will only last for 15 days, but if the box says that it is recommended to take 1 capsule a day and includes 60, it will last for two months.

It is recommended that you take 5g of amino acid powder 2-4 times a day maximum or as needed. In other words, they can be taken before, during and after training or when muscle soreness is too much.

Amino acid capsules work differently depending on your lifestyle, but the common denominator is to take two 1500g capsules 2 to 3 times a day.

(Featured image source: Monfocus / Pixabay.com)

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