Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Indeed, amino
acids are the alphabet of life, combining to form protein structures
including muscle tissue, enzymes and hormones. Amino acids are either
essential (must be derived from one's diet), nonessential (can be
synthesized within the body from the breakdown of proteins and other
amino acids) or conditionally essential (amino acids which cannot be
synthesized in certain situations and therefore must be consumed).
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) are different from the other
17 amino acids in that in one of their roles, they are a primary source
of fuel for skeletal muscles. This makes them of particular value and
importance to elite athletes as far as sports supplements are concerned.
Due to the incredible efficiency of the human body, if adequate
amino acids are not available during an intense workout, the body may
start to cannibalize muscle tissue to make up for the deficit. That's
why pre-workout amino acid supplementation and the postworkout anabolic
window is vitally important for maintaining positive nitrogen balance
and building muscle mass with protein (amino acids) consumption.