Some strength-trained athletes use amino acid powder containing a variety amino acids, which help your body build proteins and increase muscle mass. Many amino acid protein powders contain specific types of amino acids called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are valine, leucine and isoleucine.
Benefits for Muscle Recovery
Strength-trained athletes who use amino acid powder may notice improved muscle recovery after strenuous weightlifting workouts, which is beneficial for competitive bodybuilders. Weightlifters who consumed branched-chain amino acid powders three weeks before and during high-intensity total-body resistance workouts experienced decreases in muscle damage and enhanced muscle recovery, according to a study published in 2010 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Elevated Testosterone and Growth Hormone
Taking amino acid powder can affects bodybuilders' hormone levels. Researchers who conducted the study published in 2010 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that testosterone levels were higher in strength-trained athletes who used BCAA powder, which is a benefit for bodybuilders trying to increase lean muscle mass. Another study published in 2009 in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reports that strength-trained athletes who used amino acid supplements had increases in not only testosterone but growth hormone concentrations.
Muscle Mass Increases
A main benefit for bodybuilders caused by improved muscle recovery, elevated testosterone levels, and increased growth hormone concentrations from taking amino acid powder is the ability to increase muscle mass. Strength-trained athletes who took amino acid supplements showed greater increases in muscle mass, muscle strength and power compared with athletes who took placebo supplements, according to the study published in 2009 in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Consuming amino acid powder may help bodybuilders curb cravings and control their total calorie intake when dieting before competitions. Ingesting protein, amino acids or both boosts satiety, improves body composition, and can aid in calorie control and weight loss, according to a review published in 2009 in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. Increased satiety helps bodybuilders drop excess body fat by steering clear of added sugars and refined carbohydrates they may otherwise crave.
It can be difficult to squeeze in a healthy meal containing the right balance of protein and amino acids after strenuous workouts in order to help your body recover properly. However, mixing amino acid powder with water or milk is a quick and easy way to nourish your body until you have time to eat a meal. While amino acid powder is no replacement for a well-balanced meal, it's a convenient post-workout or between-meal supplement that helps fuel your body.
An experienced health, nutrition and fitness writer, Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has worked as a clinical dietitian and health educator in outpatient settings. Erin's work is published on popular health websites, such as TheNest.com and JillianMichaels.com.