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Amino Acids - Pills or Whey?

I’ve heard for quite some time that amino acids are the building blocks for muscle growth, so I’ve made a conscious effort to look for amino acids in food and in supplements.

I’ve read that cottage cheese has all the essential amino acids, and many animal proteins have amino acids.

After reading the back of my whey protein tub, I’ve noticed that it has quite a lot of amino acids. The bad part is I read the back of the whey tub after I bought a bottle of Amino Complex 1500 mg amino acids from the Vitamin Shoppe. Even in the recommend dose of 5 horse pills doesn’t equal 1/2 of what 1 scoop of whey protein offers.

As far as AA, is whey protein sufficient? Are there pills that are better? Is the AA not readily available in whey? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

pborkstrom

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Proteins are made up of amino acids. Whey powder, milk, eggs, meat, etc all have high concentrations of amino acids (since they are high in protein). The Vitamin shoppe stuff could be useful if they are BCAA’s or if they are free form aminos.

otherwise, they are probably pretty expensive and inconvenient for what you are getting out of them.

Hey, there, pborkstrom, and welcome to T-Nation!!! I see it’s your first post. (grin)

UB07 is correct in what he told you. The best approach is to eat some quality protein at every meal. Doing so will provide your body with all the amino acids it needs to build muscle. After you optimize and refine your diet, there may be some opportunities to add in some BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) prior to your workout or in semi-fasted state cardio.

Supplements ENHANCE or COMPLEMENT a well-designed diet. They can’t fix a poorly designed diet.

Keep reading. There’s a ton of good information here on the forum and in the article library about diet and nutrition and eating to meet your goals.

If you have any other questions, though, don’t hesitate to ask! (grin)

Thanks for all the posts, I’m glad that there are plenty of enthusiasts out there willing to help:

I guess I didn’t go over my diet - I eat basically Body for Life style. That is where I started when getting into training (about 15 months ago), and have since deviated from the training routine, but sill hold fast to the diet strategy. I eat 6 meals about 250-400 calories every day for 6 days, and throw in a free day (to keep me in this long-term)

I have about 2 MRP shakes and 4 whole food meals - all CLEAN (complex carbs, ‘good’ fats, and lean protein). I eat veggies at least 2x a day. My diet is pretty much under control, but I guess I’m wondering about before/after resistance training.

Regards,

Phil

I almost forgot:

I believe the amino acids from the Vitamin Shoppe are both EAA and BCAA. Here is the breakdown:

http://tinyurl.com/3ddvo8 (that’s a link to the VS)

I had my wife read the amount of AA in a serving on the AA pills as I compared them to the AA in the whey protein, and the whey protein had 2x what the pills had. In light of pre/post training, I’m trying to find out what is optimal.

Regards,

Phil

Liver tabs - look it up, cheap and chok full of aminos and other goodies. I buy the ones made by Universal, vitamine shoppe can order them or you can order on-line.

A

[quote]pborkstrom wrote:
I’ve heard for quite some time that amino acids are the building blocks for muscle growth, so I’ve made a conscious effort to look for amino acids in food and in supplements.

I’ve read that cottage cheese has all the essential amino acids, and many animal proteins have amino acids.

After reading the back of my whey protein tub, I’ve noticed that it has quite a lot of amino acids. The bad part is I read the back of the whey tub after I bought a bottle of Amino Complex 1500 mg amino acids from the Vitamin Shoppe. Even in the recommend dose of 5 horse pills doesn’t equal 1/2 of what 1 scoop of whey protein offers.

As far as AA, is whey protein sufficient? Are there pills that are better? Is the AA not readily available in whey? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

pborkstrom[/quote]

BCAA’s are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.

Phil, what are your goals? Are they body composition goals or performance related? Are you eating at maintenance calories or at a caloric deficit? What’s your body fat percentage? How many grams of protein are you getting per day and how many grams of fat? Are you getting some polyunsaturated fat in the form of flaxseed or fish oil, and are you getting some monounsaturated fat in the form of olive oil? Have you optimized PWO nutrition, meaning, are you eating a 2:1 ratio of starchy carbs to protein in your whole-food PWO meal? What kind of resistance training program are you following currently and how much cardio are you doing?

And finally – the most important question – are you making steady progress towards your goals?

It’s a lot of questions, I know, but BCAAs and EAAs could/should be added in as part of a larger plan that involves performance related or body composition goals … and where there is a need!

As far as my goals - to look like one of those twits in Men’s Health :slight_smile: Seriously, to be lean w/defined muscle. Currently, I’m at about 165 lbs, 5’9", and 16-17% body fat. I have a bit of extra fat in my back and a wee-bit in front of the abs.

Depending if I had a lot of water or if I ate approx. 1900-ish calories the day before, I can see my top 4 ab muscles w/o flexing. My waist is 34" (down from 39"). I can see my shoulder muscles defined as fibers and not just a knot that holds my arm to my body.

I’d ultimately like to get to 10% body fat as being lean is my primary goal.

I seem to have a bit of trouble getting lower than a 34" waist. It took about a month to go from a 34 1/2" to a 34" waist, but I’m still plugging away. I don’t really carry much visible fat elsewhere (even though I know it’s still there), and my upper body is clearly defined in the major muscle groups.

I do cardio at least 2x a week, but usually ends up 3x a week. On the weekend, I try for a 30-60 mile bicycle ride. During the week, I do cardio at 5:30 AM on an empty stomach (the elliptical machine) for 25 minutes on varying intensity. I do not eat for 1 hr after my weekday elliptical cardio workout. I really push it, and feel I have a great handle on my cardio.

Weight training - I train 4x a week in the evening. I usually double up cardio in the AM and weights in the PM 1 time a week. I usually do upper in 2 different groups - chest and triceps in 1 group, and back, shoulder, and biceps on another group.

I usually get to one of these 2x a week and alternate which group gets to get trained 2x a week. I do legs/abs 1 day a week. I hate legs, but they are big and will add to the lean mass, so I deal with it.

I train hard. I train for about 1- 1.25 hrs when I do weights and get the good stuff in - legit squats, wide grip pull ups, dumbbell/barbell bench, dips…you know the compound exercises.

Now for the pre/post workout stuff - DON’T HATE - I usually take a dose of Methyl EFX before, and finish off w/ 2 scoops of whey protein and 5g of L-Glutamine immediately after.

About 30 min after that, I eat a whole food meal - whole grain wheat bread and 1/4 lb lunch meat or a turkey burger on whole wheat bun. Keep in mind, I’d like to get lean primarily, well-defined muscle 2nd (the 1st 2 usually go hand-in-hand), and ‘big’ 3rd. Hopefully this helps.

OH - back to the AA - I’m not necessarily looking on how to get the most AA, but just the optimal dose, in the optimal form, at the optimal time. Thanks!

-phil

[quote]Amsterdam Animal wrote:
Liver tabs - look it up, cheap and chok full of aminos and other goodies. I buy the ones made by Universal, vitamine shoppe can order them or you can order on-line.

A

pborkstrom wrote:
I’ve heard for quite some time that amino acids are the building blocks for muscle growth, so I’ve made a conscious effort to look for amino acids in food and in supplements.

I’ve read that cottage cheese has all the essential amino acids, and many animal proteins have amino acids.

After reading the back of my whey protein tub, I’ve noticed that it has quite a lot of amino acids. The bad part is I read the back of the whey tub after I bought a bottle of Amino Complex 1500 mg amino acids from the Vitamin Shoppe. Even in the recommend dose of 5 horse pills doesn’t equal 1/2 of what 1 scoop of whey protein offers.

As far as AA, is whey protein sufficient? Are there pills that are better? Is the AA not readily available in whey? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

pborkstrom

[/quote]

Hey AA,

I looked up the dosage on the Universal Liver Tabs and they say anywhere between 2-6 tabs per meal. What dosage do you use? Also, do you take them pre and post workout? Thanks a lot, bro.

-Revo

Forget about those liver tabs then. Just stick with a good meal plan and you will be fine. The mere size of these suckers would have probably made you run for the hills anyway.

[quote]pborkstrom wrote:
As far as my goals - to look like one of those twits in Men’s Health :slight_smile: Seriously, to be lean w/defined muscle. Currently, I’m at about 165 lbs, 5’9", and 16-17% body fat. I have a bit of extra fat in my back and a wee-bit in front of the abs.

I take about 15-18 throughout the day but you can’t go by what I do since my food intake and supp requirements are different from most. I take 6 immediately following my training along with my whey/oats/creatine and glutamine shake. I take 2-3 with a few of my meals as well.

Liver tabs are by no means a magic supplement. You are not “on it” and are not going to blow up. Just a solid old school building block of a supplement plan. Plus they are cheap, it is like eating beef in a pill, 500 tabs for like 12-15 bucks or something. I used to get suckered into buying expensive aminos like most people.

A

[quote]Revo09 wrote:
Amsterdam Animal wrote:
Liver tabs - look it up, cheap and chok full of aminos and other goodies. I buy the ones made by Universal, vitamine shoppe can order them or you can order on-line.

A

pborkstrom wrote:
I’ve heard for quite some time that amino acids are the building blocks for muscle growth, so I’ve made a conscious effort to look for amino acids in food and in supplements.

I’ve read that cottage cheese has all the essential amino acids, and many animal proteins have amino acids.

After reading the back of my whey protein tub, I’ve noticed that it has quite a lot of amino acids. The bad part is I read the back of the whey tub after I bought a bottle of Amino Complex 1500 mg amino acids from the Vitamin Shoppe. Even in the recommend dose of 5 horse pills doesn’t equal 1/2 of what 1 scoop of whey protein offers.

As far as AA, is whey protein sufficient? Are there pills that are better? Is the AA not readily available in whey? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

pborkstrom

Hey AA,

I looked up the dosage on the Universal Liver Tabs and they say anywhere between 2-6 tabs per meal. What dosage do you use? Also, do you take them pre and post workout? Thanks a lot, bro.

-Revo[/quote]

AA,

 I've been to your city - quite beautiful!  I visited Alkmaar and Amsterdam last year on business.  I went to the kaas market in Alkmaar, and to the Van Gough museum in Amsterdam.  Absolutely lovely.

I’m not trying to emulate anyone in particular or necessarily find out what anyone is doing personally, I’m mostly looking for the optimal form and timing of ingesting Amino Acids. Maybe I could determine for myself if I knew how exactly the body uses amino acids w/relationship to resistance training. Are pills good? Is food enough? Is liquid best? It’s the Amino acids stuff I’d like to know.

Regards,

Phil