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The Building Blocks of Life
The building blocks of life possess the unique power to help you…
- Keep building muscle throughout your life — regardless of your age
- Avoid adult onset muscle loss (sarcopenia)
- Live your life to the fullest
There are 20 primary amino acids in your body's proteins, 9 of which are essential to your diet because your cells cannot manufacture them. These Essential Amino Acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, and tryptophan1) are also known as the building blocks of life.
What's so important about Essential Amino Acids?
Consider the following:
- Muscle is the main reservoir of amino acids in the body2
- Muscle needs protein to grow, but the body cannot produce protein on its own
- Muscle is always in a state of breakdown and synthesis or "turnover," which is an important process to rid the body of old damaged muscle fibers and replace them with new healthy fibers2
- Essential Amino Acids are the cellular building blocks of protein2
- Muscle serves many important metabolic functions beyond supporting physical movement
The role of Protein Synthesis
Our muscles are in a constant state of being broken down and reproduced. Likewise, all proteins in the body are continuously breaking down and new proteins being synthesized. Our muscle fibers start to function less effectively as the proteins within the fibers get damaged, at which point the protein breakdown process kicks in to shed those fibers and produce new ones.
Approximately 20% of amino acids released through the process of protein breakdown are irreversibly oxidized and therefore not available for reincorporation into newly synthesized proteins2. In order to maintain a constant lean body mass, these amino acids must be replaced, either by synthesis or via dietary protein or amino acid intake. In order to gain muscle protein, the rate of synthesis must exceed the rate of breakdown. However, this process requires nutrient intake or new amino acids to provide what's needed to produce that protein.
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