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Everything You Need to Know About Amino Acids For Running Performance and Recovery

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
October 26th 2022
01:02:35
Description

What comes to mind when you think about “amino acids”? Are you incorporating them into your diet? Have you considered the performance and recovery benefits of amino acids for your running training?... More

Hey, this is Angelo Keely and you are listening to run to the top podcast. Hello Runners. I am your host, Finma Lanson and this is the run to the top podcast, the podcast dedicated to making you a better runner. With each and every episode We are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connect dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner and every budget. In this episode. I'm talking with Angelo Keely, who is the co founder and Ceo of cayenne, a supplement and functional food company dedicated to helping health and fitness enthusiasts live long fun active lives by providing clean energy, enhanced inclusions. And I'm excited to talk to Angela about today's topic, the importance of protein and amino acids for body composition, fitness and overall health. Because not only is Angelo deeply involved with researchers and with the science around these topics, but in this conversation he's going to make it really easy to understand and explain tactically how runners can use amino acids to improve performance, recovery and longevity.

If you struggle with stomach issues in training or racing or frequently get sick when training hard, adding a high quality probiotic supplement could be the key to relieving both issues. I'll explain more later in the episode and how you can save 10% at P 30 M dot com backslash run to the top. I'd also like to introduce to you a new sponsor of the show. Timeline, nutrition timeline has developed a groundbreaking product called Mid top Your, that actually revitalizes your mitochondria which creates energy in nearly every cell in your body later in the episode, I'll explain the science and how you can get a sweet discount in case you haven't heard. We've announced the dates of our 2023 running retreats this year. We will be back in sunny Orlando for our winter break retreat february 9th through the 12th. This retreat is the perfect opportunity for you to get out of the cold and snow for some amazing runs during a critical spring race training time and also a chance to learn one on one from our amazing team of coaches.

Our second retreat will return to Flagstaff, Arizona july 12th through the 16th. We'll explore some of the most amazing running trails in the U. S. Including the Grand Canyon plus you'll get a taste of altitude to help boost your training for your fall races. To learn more about either retreat, just head to runners connect dot net backslash retreats. Angelo keely, welcome to the run to the top podcast. Finn, thanks for having me man, it's it's an honor and a joy, awesome. Well I gotta say just to kind of kick us off here. I am now in my early thirties and with increasing age comes increasing awareness that I can't get away with everything from a lifestyle standpoint, still progress as a runner. So I think conversations like this one that we're about to have today really interested me and I think they'll interest listeners too because I think as a running community, uh we're the type of people that like to leave no stone unturned when it comes to our training and our our diet and just our quest for more knowledge and performance and we're always on the hunt.

So I think this is gonna be super fun and and thanks for doing this today. Absolutely, yeah, I'm really excited. I mean I'm obviously really passionate about nutrition and performance, nutrition and I haven't had too many opportunities to really talk specifically to a running audience about some of the things we talked about today that I think are really beneficial to them right on. Well before we get into the nitty gritty of how and why runners should care about amino acid supplementation. I'd love to hand out a bit for more context specifically. I don't know if you have an opinion here, but I'd love to get your view on what's led to the present moment where so many people are struggling to achieve a whole foods diet to where they miss or fall short on protein intake and all the amino acid requirements. Like I guess what's what's led to this present moment where um having to be careful and even consider supplementation for things like amino acids has become like a requirement in our culture. You have any thoughts there. Gosh, I have a lot of thoughts and I don't I don't know if there's necessarily one thing I think uh I would take an even bigger step back and I would think about more like the history of humanity and the history of humanity and what diet was like and there's a lot of different opinions and perspectives on this.

Um But we we've gone through different phases as a species in terms of eating anything we can get our hands on including a lot of bugs To um you know to developing agriculture and in developing agriculture allowed us to have a much more consistent food base and much more like stable set of calories. Um and necessarily we started eating a lot more grains and things like that. Um and you know you fast forward that all the way up into the last you know couple 100 years. You know lifespan was a lot shorter. Um 150 years ago. I mean even if you just look at how many Children died before the age of five. And so I think when we look at the last you know 50 years in the last 100 years overall um the you know the access to nutrients, macronutrients and micronutrients in many ways has been expanded um And there's a lot more opportunity to pick and choose what you're going to eat at the same time. There's been kind of the industrialization of food in a new way in which there's a lot more packaged foods and with those packaged foods they become condensed with certain types of nutrients right?

Like like we talked about all the time and kind of the health space like things are really condensed with fats and sugars and salts and things like that that are that are delicious, people want to eat a lot of um and that are you know easy to pack, store and preserve etcetera. So I mean that that's the whole part of the context. Um and so you know, I think in all this, I don't know that I'm not necessarily one that believes that there was like this perfect time when humans ate perfectly and we ate in this way that was fully optimized. I think more there's a lot of different threads going on at the same time. And so the idea of hey why today do I maybe need to think about using let's just say supplements in general um you know, part of that is because well just now we have more information about how much we should eat, you know how much of specific micronutrients might be helpful to us, how much of specific macronutrients might be helpful to us and with that information we can make more informed decisions. So I think that's one element and I feel like I'm going on here, but I got to hold on and I think a whole other piece to it too is um even with that even with a wide selection of food choices we can make the ability to make healthier food choices um lots of great supplements out there all kinds of more contemporary research and large bodies of research in some cases like with amino acids for example, it's it's it's not like a new The new cool thing, it's like 40 year old information.

Um but um yeah, even with all that then we are also inundated with media, right? And we're inundated with um you know, I think a lot of different companies marketing to us, a lot of different influencers and authors and creators marketing to us and they're all telling a different story and um we're not all telling a different story but they're all telling some story and uh there's times in which the stories are very captivating and a bunch of people get on one. You know I mean like keto, right? It's kind of very recent one where keto is so hot and you know, it's actually interesting. Um I mean it's it's helpful to someone in my space who believes that one very important thing to think about your health is protein and amino acids is now, protein is kind of like the hot thing. Again, it's coming back, you know, I don't know, it's quite as hot within the running space, but it's uh it's definitely I was just noticing on the nut butter package I get from my kids that it was it labels the protein on it now um that it didn't used to label that on it.

So, you know, there's just all these different, I think marketing and sales influences that are trying to communicate to us why we should prioritize something over something else. And so in that space it's like, you know, there's a lot to try to to try to figure out. And so, you know, I think the approach, I try to take two things is um what's the most kind of consistent information that's been out there for a long time? That has consistently been shown to be, you know, relatively true in many different studies and cases. And and lots of people have actually tried to apply that information and um and then try to make small, simple decisions that help us help move each person to, you know, a slightly healthier life? And there's, you know, there's I think there's pretty, I actually don't think it's that complicated. There's pretty obvious decisions to make out there and if you're making those, then the most nuanced ones are, you know, they're gonna have an impact, but not as much as like the most basic core decisions for your health. Well, I do ultimately want to get to the conversation specifically on amino acids, but you said a couple interesting things there that I want to just follow up on, Do you do you think if you like look back in human history, do you, can you pinpoint a time in your opinion where there was this golden age of diet and people were doing by and large the right things from a macro and micro nutrient standpoint?

Or has it always been the case that while we have specific problems in this era every generation has dealt with some shortcomings in this area of living. So I think if you limit it only to diet, right? Because as soon as you start to talk about health and how we take care of ourselves, there's all these other issues that emerge and that come up and that impact our lifespan for example. Um You know, it's like childbirth used to be much harder in many cases, even if you're eating really well because there's just all different types of cases and situations in which that that can be complicated. But if you're talking just in case of diet, I don't know if there's a specific golden age, but I do think there's examples of specific groups and civilizations and times throughout history and will go and like try to quote all the individual perfect ones where people ate a pretty balanced diet where they ate a lot of plants that were diverse in micronutrient content. Um and they ate a diverse set of macronutrients.

So they had a good amount of protein and carbohydrates and fat. I would say protein was probably that really key thing. And then how much carbs and how much fat depended on the specifics of their climate of their lifestyle etcetera. Um and they had good access to clean water and um yeah and they, you know, they had like a relatively like not super stressful life. Again, I'm kind of getting out of diet then, but it's it is kind of that simple, it's eating whole foods, a diverse set of whole foods where you get a lot of different micronutrients from them and you have your macros kind of unlock and you're not kind of limited in, you know, to say one specific macro nutrient fascinating. Well, I'm excited to get into this conversation about amino acids and I know that for the rest of this conversation we're gonna be tossing around a lot of terms and I think it's probably good to just set the table with some definitions. So like we'll talk about amino acids essential versus nonessential. We'll talk about anabolic versus cata, bolic etcetera etcetera, etcetera.

Maybe we start with just like an elevator pitch definition of amino acids. Like if you're just talking to the lay person out there that's not rooted in the scientific community, how do you describe amino acids to them? So I I start by talking about protein because amino acids fundamentally are the building blocks of protein. And so what is protein? When we talk about protein? It exists in many places in our life. So it exists inside of us, as many people are familiar as like our muscle is made up of proteins, but also most of our, you know our organs are legitimate proteins are skin hair, skin nails. Um you know actually half of our body is water a little bit more and of the remaining kind of solid dense material, the other half is the half of that is all made up of proteins. Um you know, even when we talk about like D. N. A. That's that's protein and these proteins also exist outside of our body. So they exist in plants, They exist in animals, They exist in all life forms.

And um the building blocks of these proteins are amino acids and the kind of core not to get too heavy, but the core definition that makes this thing an amino acid is that it's a carbon group with this nitrogen molecule. It's like it's really the way that life forms get nitrogen primarily and um without going too far down that chemistry rabbit hole. I think the other really big thing to understand about proteins as they exist in nature as they exist in our body is that they're in a somewhat constant state of breaking down and then re synthesizing and that is called you know, muscle protein turnover, the proteins being turned over and the reason for that. And so basically when it breaks down the proteins in your body break down, they break back down into the individual amino acids and then they re synthesize back again together into a new protein. And the reason why they do that is because you do need to cycle through and get rid of some older proteins, but you also maybe need different proteins at different places in your body at different times.

For example, if I have some kind of like injury or wound, I may have extra need for new proteins there and so the other parts of my body may may spare themselves by breaking down and then serving amino acids to other locations in my body to build new proteins. So one, you know, big thing to understand about this though is that in that process of the proteins breaking down some of the amino acids are lost and when they're lost they're converted into urea, you pee them out basically and thus you need new amino acids, you need to consume new amino acids to replace those. You can build new proteins because if you don't you will die. So when we when we think about carbohydrates and fat and proteins slash amino acids. The primary role of carbohydrates and fats is actually to fuel your body. And many runners are obviously familiar with that, right? You use carbs specifically to fuel or if you kind of have this keto approach, you try to become fat adapted and you know, be able to run off the fats more.

Um but amino acids while they can be used actually in a similar way to fats to be used as a fuel source. The primary role is actually to help fuel all of the proteins in your body. So when you eat a protein, whether that's plant or animal, um, or you eat just the actual free form amino acids, you consume them into your body. Those proteins break down into the composite amino acids. Or if you just took amino acids, they're already just there, they enter your blood and then they help your body to build new proteins. So that's maybe it was an elevator pitch. So it's a little bit deeper. But hopefully it gave kind of a core structure to what this whole thing is that we're talking about. No, that made perfect sense in what I want to ask and follow up. I want to talk about the distinction between essential and non essential. And the reason why I want to talk about that is because I think there are a lot of listeners myself included that are familiar with uh creating. We're familiar with B C C A S and all this marketing out there and these products uh enticing us to supplement with that.

And where does that all fit into this equation? And how do you categorize those options out there in the essential and non essential buckets? Absolutely. So what I'll do is I'll explain what essential amino acids are and that's at the same time what non essential amino acids are and then maybe we can come back to and discuss B. C. A. S. And creating and these other marketed amino acids. So essential amino acids. It says it right in the name. They are essential. And the reason for which they are essential is that they're ones that your body cannot synthesize. So when you consume a dietary protein, plant or animal, um it is composed of primarily 20 dietary amino acids is what actually like mix up the proteins inside of it. And um same thing in our own human skeletal muscle, it's made up of 20 amino acids of those nine are essential. You have to actually consume those nine. That on the other hand, the other 11 that make up those 20 while you can just consume them in food and then your body can use them for certain purposes in the body.

Um your body can actually synthesize them as well. So your liver can create the other 11 out of those nine essential ones. So you must get the nine essential ones from your diet. There's no other way around it, whereas the other 11, you know, in creating an optimal diet, you would eat whole food proteins that have these other 11 in them. But you don't need that you honestly need much less of them than you need of the essential. Um and and your body can only your body cannot make the essential ones. The other really important part of this that oftentimes is not. Um spoken about when people talk about this is that the essential amino acids are also the active component of the protein, meaning there, the part of the protein that stimulates the muscle protein synthesis and actually completes the full process of muscle protein synthesis. They've done studies with essential amino acids only uh non essential amino acids and then a mix of the two, like in the same accommodations that would exist in a high quality animal protein and the essential amino acids alone, stimulate all of the muscle protein synthesis.

The non essential stimulate none and the combination of the two stimulate no more than the essential amino acids alone. So it's actually um not only is your body need them because it can't synthesize them, but it's it's the thing that you're that you're eating that's actually making the new proteins be built. You do need some amount of the non essential, but they're not as important. And you know, I think the one other kind of uh idea I would bring into this that I think is probably more familiar to most people as people will hear about something being a complete protein. Um is that a complete protein? Or is it not a complete protein? This is oftentimes the debate between people that are vegan or have plant based diets versus people have animal based diets. So a complete protein is a protein that has all of the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. Me like some yeah, having them in sufficient amounts. So typically um when you are comparing all these different types of food sources, that's something you want to look for us and we can get into this in more details. Does this does this source of protein?

Um is it a complete protein? Doesn't have all the essential amino acids If it doesn't, I may need to combine different type of food sources to achieve that. Yeah. So you talked about a complete protein there is there, can we think about it in a similar way with amino acids? Like is there like a complete amino acid profile or is it okay going back to like these, B C C A. S and creatinine, is it is it does it make sense to take these in isolation in any circumstances? So let's start by comparing uh there there are ideal profiles of essential amino acids. So let's start by comparing plant animal and just an essential amino acid complex and we can kind of see how they would impact the body. And then after that we can come back and talk about BCS and creating I promise we're gonna get to it. Uh So the first thing you want to look at actually, before we even look at the profile of the amino acids is how digestible is the protein. And so the first thing I would say is that all of these options are good options and you can absolutely be healthy by eating a plant based diet only by eating a mixed diet by eating um you're probably eating an animal only diet honestly I wouldn't endorse that but by eating a largely getting most of your protein from animal sources.

And you can also be very healthy by supplementing with essential amino acids as a supplement. So these are all potentially good options. They just some are easier than others, some are harder and it's helpful to understand the difference between them. So with plants they typically um do not have ideal essential amino acid profiles actually. Sorry, take a step back. Let's start with digestion. So the first thing you want to look at is how digestible is the protein when I just actually eat it and consume it. How is my body able to break down the proteins into the composite amino acids? So with plants they tend to be more difficult for human beings to digest them to actually break them down into the composite amino acids. And thus when you eat a certain amount of protein of plant protein, you're not actually getting as much of the amino acids that are necessarily inside it directly into your blood and able to use them With animal protein. They are more digestible and thus it's easier. So that again, this doesn't mean that you can 100% eat plants, you might think I might actually need to eat even more protein because I'm not gonna get quite as many um amino acids effectively from that protein.

And then when you compare it to you know a dietary supplement, like just supplemental essential amino acids, they're immediately available, You don't even have to digest them, they basically just enter your bloodstream. So that's kind of the first level to consider, then the second level behind that is the profile of the essential amino acids that actually build up that unique protein. So the proteins in plants typically are not complete proteins, meaning they don't include all the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts for them to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. What we found over the years to ideally stimulate muscle protein synthesis is you have the amino acids in about the proportion that they actually exist in our human skeletal muscle. So if we broke up the muscle from a human being and you look at what those amino acids were, it would be about that proportion. But then you would have increases of losing At about 40% and you have increases of the solution and unveiling and the listen to these higher amounts.

So I wouldn't worry about this. Like if you're like for more less, if you don't not scientific or hyper interested in this, you have to be worried too much. But like yes these are really ideal proportions. So when you look at plant proteins, they're not like that and thus you you ideally would combine different plant proteins together if you want to optimally stimulate muscle protein synthesis when you eat them. Whereas with an animal protein and they're in different degrees eggs are kind of the best, there's like eggs away protein or whey protein isolate um which are also they're actually not meat based products. Right? These are actually typically vegetarian products as well as if there's people in your audience that are interested in that. But then like chicken breast, steak etcetera, actually have these more ideal amino acid profiles and then when you get to a supplement, like if you look at and they're not all like this. But for example, my company Kiana minnows, we developed this off of all the best research. We we developed it with the exact ratios that have been best studied through working with young active adults with Nasa, with elderly groups etcetera.

That really is like the ideal um proportions to stimulate the muscle protein synthesis. You want to talk about the CIA or you want to ask another question? No, no, no, let's do it, let's do it. Okay, so so the B. C. A. S are really interesting because they are three of the essential amino acids. So those 33 of the ones I rattled off, you know, two minutes ago, loosen loosen and Valin. Those are the three branched chain amino acids. And in research, 40 years ago we discovered, wow these three amino acids are really important for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. And thus when that got discovered the the sports nutrition marketing arms, it kind of goes back to where we started this whole question of like trying to figure out what you should do, took that research and they developed a lot of products around it. Unfortunately what we've discovered over the last 2030 years is that you really have to have all nine. If you only consume the three B.

C. A. S in isolation, they do not contribute, they do not promote muscle protein synthesis and they actually like none. And I could share with you a meta analysis from a couple years ago that compared all the literature on this. But basically B. C. A. S have taken on their own um you know as just pure dietary supplement are basically worthless. Uh That said if we go back to this uh this point I made earlier about certain plant proteins aren't a sufficient. If you were to take a B. C. A supplement while you're taking certain plant proteins and you're kind of really thinking thoughtfully about all the different amino acid compositions of what those plant proteins are versus what the BCS will offer. You could actually end up creating a more ideal protein source by simply supplementing B. C. S on top of a plant based diet. The problem is that's pretty complicated for most people right to try to figure that out. Like well how many B. C. A. Should I take in combination with which plant protein sources? It just, you know, it's it's very it's doable and it could be a solution but it's not um it's not ideal what it's not ideal for most people based off of their own you know capacity to analyze and you know ask compositions of foods.

I think that's gonna be news to a lot of people including myself that when you walk into like A G. N. C. For example and you go down any of the supplement aisles and you see these bins for B. C. C. S. Etcetera. Uh you may be getting sort of a nothing burger there from supplementation. Is that is it fair to make that claim after what you said there? Yeah so I want to be really nuanced. So in the context of trying to like supplement with your diet, that's definitely the case. I think also if you're trying to use B. C. A. Specifically for muscle protein synthesis to actually help you um specifically for stimulating and building more more muscle. The one case the one other case in the in the event will get I think we'll get into this morning we really talk about like well how do you how would you use essential amino acids? For example in the case of running there there is some research although it's it's much less robust than all the research around essential amino acids that the fact that when you're in extended endurance exercise you are primarily and mostly oxidizing oxidizing loosen actually as an energy source than some of the other amino acids.

That potentially there could be benefit to reducing some of your muscle fatigue and some element of energy that you might feel from A B. C. A. But to a lesser degree than what you would get from just taking essential amino acids. So it's it's like, I don't want to say it's like there's absolutely nothing there, there's like something kind of there, but it's so much less robust and so clearly been um shown to be inferior in the last 20 years of research that I can't I would never recommend to someone to go supplement with B. C. A. S. So I just want to make sure that, you know, I'm being more nuanced, not saying there's like nothing there, it's but it's it's I would I wouldn't tell everyone it's a waste of their money. One of the most exciting frontiers in athletic performance research is on the population of good bacteria in your stomach. Often called probiotics. For those that are unfamiliar. Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria and or yeasts that naturally live in your body and that can be used to change or re establish the intestinal flora and improve your health even more exciting for runners is that a lot of research has shown supplementing with probiotics can have a dramatic impact on performance.

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Yeah so you know I think I'll really answer this in the context of a runner or an active person. So if you are a runner or an active person I think the and I would say this is not for like an ultra runner in that case I would I would probably adapt it up but overall I would generally aim for a gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. And when you look at that you know for someone who's £150 that means 100 and 50 g of protein today. Most people look at that and they go whoa I'm not eating that much protein. And they'll say well I thought I was only supposed to eat you know 500.4 g of protein per pound of body wear. That's what the R. D. A. Says those are D. A. Studies are from a very long time ago and they were based on nitrogen balance studies were basically they had people consuming the sources of nitrogen protein etcetera and then measuring all their excrement and P. And everything to see how much nitrogen was leftover etcetera. And the consensus amongst all protein amino acid experts today and really all of the literature of the last 30 years would instead interpret those numbers as the bare minimum.

So that is not an optimal amount of protein and amino acids. That's the bare minimum to not have like significant muscle wasting to have, you know, issues with organs. All the other reasons why you might need protein. On the Other hand, if you really want to have a more optimal lifestyle, I would say even if you're inactive, you're not a very active person, you would still want to have about double that like.7.8g of protein per pound of body weight. Um but if you're a runner, I would definitely advocate for aiming more towards that one g of protein per pound of body weight. And and then if you uh if you run a lot, you know, if you're like pretty intense marathon runner or trainer or an ultra runner in that case, I would be shooting higher or I'd be looking to be supplementing for sure with essential amino acids on top of that, simply because it's an easier way sometimes to get in that amount of protein. Um Yeah, so I think that that's kind of like a broad, a broad picture of how to think about it. Oh yeah, so timing.

So um the thing with protein is that your body doesn't, your body doesn't really store the protein in the amino acids. There is, there is an amino acid pool in your body where you can study, you can you can basically store a certain amount of amino acids that you consume each day, the protein, but it's pretty limited. So ideally, if you actually want to use the protein primarily for building new proteins, um what you would do is you would take whatever that amount is. So let's say you're 100 £50 and you need to get 100 50 g of protein a day, you would want to space it out to like every three or four hours. So you would Take that protein 150. And I think the easiest way of thinking about it is divided by five because that's like three meals and two snacks or people like to fast, you know, maybe it's um, if you like to fast, that's a whole other discussion that we can actually have specifically around, I think fasted workouts and essential amino acids. But assuming you eat about three meals, maybe two snacks, um trying to space that out throughout the entire day is ideal because your body can only use again a certain amount of that protein at one time and basically what it does is the optimal dose of the amino acids, the essential amino acids, which you know, here's here's another um important point as well is that when you consume a ideal protein, whole food protein with essential amino acids, let's just say away protein, half of it is essential amino acids.

So when we say you need 100 and 50 g of protein today, we're really saying you need about 75 g of essential amino acids a day because that's the active component of it, that's actually doing most of the work. So um what we found is that basically The optimal dose of protein, you know, for someone who's 150 lb, taking about 15 g of essential amino acids within that whole food protein or 30 g of protein will maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis and then that process will last for three hours and then it ends. So if you snack in between them with more protein, it doesn't really do anything. Or if you snack in between them with more essential amino acids directly, it won't really do anything. Instead it will just convert those additional amino acids and protein into glucose and to your area. So instead your body ends up going through the process of just converting that into sugar for your body to burn because you can't use all of them a case in which maybe that doesn't matter or could, you know, make even sense for you is if you are overweight and you're really wanting to lose weight, you might actually say, hey, I'm going to up my protein and take way beyond the gram of protein per pound of body weight, I'm gonna do 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight.

And thus it's, it's occupying more of your total caloric intake. And when you eat it, your body, the actually the process of actually having to convert some of that protein into glucose um actually takes a lot of energy for your body and it burns more calories. So on top of the, the additional diet induced thermogenesis, your, your metabolism revs up when you consume protein because it has to convert all of those proteins into amino acids and then back into protein, the body and build that muscle if you consume more than that, it also takes the whole process to convert those proteins into sugars. So if you're trying to lose weight, eating even more protein and having more of that protein, you know, at certain meal times could be beneficial. But for most people, the ideal situation would be take whatever your daily protein intake is and divide it by five and eat that throughout, you know, every three or four hours throughout the day. And everything you said there in terms of timing and number of grams per body weight, etcetera. Is this all pretty in line with what an endurance athlete should be ingesting and following on a day to day basis.

I know you said that like ultra runners are an exception, but like your typical runner that's training for a five k, 10-K marathon, is this like the generally accepted recommendation? Yes. The only, the only thing I would say, you know, for a maybe a more competitive or a someone doing even longer distances is simply to increase your daily protein and amino acid intake. I would still regard for everyone. You would think about it in this kind of timing and these smaller doses, I'd love to also talk for a little bit about specific usage of amino acids before a run, during a run after a run. Maybe talk for a bit about how you think about usage in each of those scenarios, starting with like before the run. Like do you believe in supplementing with amino acids like couple hours or a couple of minutes, even before going out on like a workout. Yeah, so I think this is one of the times where I'm so glad we have a bit more time we have a podcast to talk through it because you know, you're trying to explain it on a bottle or on a website or you know, in really quick marketing and um it's nuanced.

So going back to what I was just saying about how often to kind of eat protein. Um, one part of what I said or I guess one big piece of what I was saying was like, hey, if you eat more than this amount of protein at once, you won't actually get all the benefits of it on the flip side of that, every single time you go more than 3 to 4 hours without consuming amino acids, your body will get go into a net muscle loss and the reason for that and I'm not I'm not trying to scare people, it's not like you're gonna lose all your muscle if you don't wake up in the middle of the night and eat. But that is why like bodybuilders, like, they're so aggressive about their protein intake throughout all the time because that's their only goal, right, is to build muscle. Um So every time you go three or four hours without some type of protein or amino acids, you're going to start to lose muscle. And um if you're coming off of, you know, running training etcetera, you're also going to um b Not preventing as much muscle protein breakdown that naturally occurs for the 24-48 hours after you've already gone on your run.

So when you think about protein and amino acid nutrition generally on a day to day basis as a runner, it is really helpful to be consuming essential amino acids in the form of protein or dietary stuff on every 3 to 4 hours because it's going to ensure that you're really nurturing your muscles and nurturing your recovery and ensuring that you're not losing um muscle and I don't mean like because most runners are trying to get jacked, but actually like pure muscle performance is going to be supported by that. So if you um If you aren't running and you just fast, right? So you you have dinner at eight p.m. and then you go all the way until noon the next day and you don't eat any food. Then what you're gonna be doing is you're gonna be running short on your glucose stores because your body's using glucose, this goes right to I think many people think about running like how you kind of burn through your glucose after a certain amount of time. Will you burn through your glucose when you're running? But you also just do it. If you stop eating I stop eating then I'm gonna use up all my glucose stores and once I use up all my glucose stores, then I actually start using amino acids and breaking down muscle to supply that as well.

So if I if I bring that into the concept of running and training, what I would say is if you are someone that likes to run in a fasted state, meaning you don't eat you know, within like say an hour before or the last time you ate was like more than two hours before I would highly recommend taking essential amino acids before you run. And the reason for that is going to be because it is going to actually fill your blood with those essential amino acids and when you start running what happens is um even if you've eaten your body's gonna start oxidizing those amino acids at at at at a much more advanced rate to supply your muscles with what they need to function like your mitochondria and your muscles need a lot more lucid at that time. Do you oxidize at a higher rate to supply it and thus it's going to give you that that that sense of energy and reduce fatigue for your muscles. But on top of that, if you haven't eaten for a long time, your body is literally going to be searching anywhere in your body to try to find sources of energy to fuel itself and you're gonna be breaking down even more muscle.

So the benefits of taking essential amino acids before you run naturally will help give you more energy to help reduce muscle fatigue. But like it's it's you know, probably twice as impactful if you're trying to run in a fasted state. 11 question I wanted to ask you off that and I'm just thinking about runners out there myself included a lot of us do our morning run in a fasted state because we've slept for eight hours, seven or eight hours and haven't had a meal. So I'm assuming that like this five mg supplementation of amino acids in the morning is like the perfect use case. Um but are you I know bodybuilders do this, are you a proponent for any runners out there, like waking up in the middle of the night to supplement to maintain that 3-4 hour window or is that just absurd? Uh It's not absurd I think. Well, I think it's I mean that's really for someone who like their primary goal is to build a lot of muscle, I'm assuming in the context of this conversation and the people that were talking to on this podcast are people that love to run, like you said, they're prepping for a five K or 10-K, maybe half marathon a marathon.

And their goal really is to run with more ease and with more confidence, improve their performance, avoid getting injured, you know, reduce the fatigue that they're experiencing. I think that for that group it doesn't make sense to be waking up in the middle of the night and taking amino acids. One thing that could make sense is if you, you know, on the day maybe when you have like your your longer, let's say you're prepping for a marathon and it's your the day of the week, when you're doing your longer run, it could make sense to take another serving of essential amino acids before you go to bed. That would potentially help improve your recovery and your overall prevent more muscle protein breakdown, reduce soreness and and basically improve the health of your muscles while you're sleeping, but it would be it would be because you pushed your muscles so hard that day and really you just wanted to make sure that you're giving your muscles everything they need to recover better and you're not doing it to like try to um ensure there's no muscle wasting and like getting jacked, which you know, a bodybuilder literally they will that thing earlier where I said like, hey, try to divide your protein intake, you know, divided by five A bodybuilder will like yeah, they literally do like three hours I guess.

They do it like eight times a day, right? They divide 24 hours by eight by three and get 88 servings of protein a day. But they have different goals, right? Most listeners of this show are going out on runs that range from 20 minutes in duration to say roughly four hours, maybe a few exceptions in there, but that's general averages. Do you have any recommendations on whether or not to bring amino acids on your run in the same way we're bringing like a water bottle and energy gels. Is there a role for amino acids to play mid run? Yeah, absolutely. So again, if you're, if you're fasting, if you're waking up first thing in the morning and you haven't eaten anything, I would recommend taking essential amino acids before you run. If you're running, you know, 20 if you're running an hour or less, I don't think you need to supplement with additional essential amino acid. You're basically gonna be getting, you're gonna have what you need to complete that run for every additional hour. I would be aiming to supplement with 5 to 10 g of essential amino acids per hour.

And the reason for that is because you are greatly increasing the oxidation of the amino acids during that period. And it will thus be able to support you from having additional muscle fatigue while you're actually running. So it'll make you feel like you have more energy while you're running. Um secondarily when you increase the oxidation of the amino acids and especially loosen during a run and during these extended runs like over an hour what happens is loosen and tryptophan actually operate on the same pathway. And when you decrease the amount of loose scene you basically increase the amount of tryptophan relative to it in the blood that crosses the blood brain barrier and then it basically converts into um five HtP which then converts into serotonin. And that serotonin makes you feel sleepy and soft. And so sometimes people think that bonking is actually just when you hit the wall from from carbs but it's also potentially from central fatigue which is actually where you're you just get tired because you're flooded with serotonin as a narrow transmitter.

So by supplementing with essential amino acids before if you're fast and you have an eight protein in a while like it's been eight hours. And then during every hour you will both help prevent the fatigue that comes during the run physically from your muscles getting tired because they're not having a breakdown supply the blood with more amino acids and from you'll be preventing the amount of serotonin, that extra serotonin that gets produced in your brain. That makes you feel tired, wow about post run. What are the post run benefits of like a media supplementation? The post run benefits are really they're they're twofold. One is for recovery. So taking amino acids before during and after all, help to prevent muscle protein breakdown, and the breakdown is actually where you get a lot of the soreness from. So it'll help prevent the amount of soreness that you experience. Um but it'll also help promote more muscle protein synthesis. And I think this is a way in which it's really different from, say, resistance training when you when like bodybuilders perform all these really intense resistance training exercises.

The primary goal is actually to build more muscle mass. When runners go to run, their goal is not to build a ton of muscle mass, right? You want to stay light and agile. Um but you want to improve the endurance of your muscle and the efficiency of your muscle and the amino acids consuming them right after the run by promoting more muscle protein synthesis. It basically helps rebuild and build more new proteins at the level of the muscle itself and thus makes it healthier. Secondarily one of the other most important benefits of running. And this is both for kind of overall fitness and health now, but for, you know, the whole length of your life. And my running can be a great habit for ultimately promoting longevity is not just, you know, cardiovascular health, but the other thing that running does is that it helps to develop new mitochondria mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell that actually helped fuel the muscles. Um it helps it helps to create new mitochondria and to improve the health of the mitochondria. What that fundamentally means is when I eat sugar or I eat fat and my body takes that sugar that fat and tries to convert it into a T.

P. The mitochondria is the level of the cell that actually converts those raw energy sources into a teepee for my body to fuel itself. If I have more mitochondria more healthy mitochondria, it's easier for me to do that. And thus I'm able to convert raw energy sources into my native human energy that I actually need. And that's why, you know, runners, you know, as they age, they typically can feel better and be healthier and be more active, et cetera because they actually have more and healthier mitochondria, essential amino acids perform that same role even on their own. If you just have been studies that have been tons of studies specifically in humans with this, but actually a lot on in in vitro and specifically with animals where taking essential amino acids um promotes mitochondrial at the rate as as good of or better than caloric restriction or fasting which are often times promoted. It's like these ideal ways to promote new and healthier mitochondria. So when you combine that, they have studied this, when you combine the benefits of the Ea is directly with um running in a post run situation, it greatly enhances the number of and the health of those mitochondria.

So there's there's there's several things that it does and why it could be beneficial after your run. I think kind of a simple way that sum it up for people. Most people are either going to eat some what you know before they run, if there may be like an afternoon run or maybe they had a snack or something. If you had a high protein snack or kind of a well balanced snack and then you go for a run. I would look at taking the essential amino acids. Um and this is assuming that your run is less than an hour afterwards. If you are going for a run first thing in the morning, I would definitely recommend that you consider taking them before or any time you're gonna be in a fasted state. If you're gonna run for an hour or more, take more essential amino acids and then at the end of your run either take a dose of essential amino acids or eat a very protein rich meal that's very high in essential amino acids. Two more topics that I want to touch on before we close up. Um this is a little bit beyond running in current lifestyle benefits. I'm aware that it's it's harder to build and maintain muscle as we age.

You know, Sarko pena is a big issue, but I also understand that we have the power to determine some of these outcomes and these health spans earlier in life. So guess what I want to ask is can you talk about the role that amino acid supplementation plays in securing like a longer health span, you know, like a quote unquote, better future for us as we age? Yeah. You know, I think one of the most overlooked benefits of muscle until I think often times people are like in their fifties or sixties and suddenly the doctor starts telling them about it then, is that muscle is basically the, not basically it's the most important asset that you take into your your later years. Um and that is because muscle is really important obviously for maintaining activity levels. It is very important for maintaining cardiovascular health. It's key to your, to your overall metabolic health. You know, it's what helps modulate your glucose levels. Um and on top of that people don't realize is that muscle and maybe that we kind of touched on this earlier, but this is a great time to really, you know, dial it in that muscle is the one part of your body of proteins that you can spare.

So if I have um an injury or I suddenly am in some kind of really intense stress response and I go into a cata bolic state meaning that like I'm in a more muscle breakdown and I'm in positive anabolic, we talked you contest these words earlier, but anabolic means you're building muscle. Catafalque means you're breaking down muscle, um or you're breaking down proteins, my liver, my heart, my kidneys, they can't like spare amino acids, they need amino acids from somewhere. And so where do they get those from from? They get them from your muscle. Your muscle is the reservoir of amino acids for the rest of your body for any time that you don't eat protein or amino acids or you're in some kind of severely injured state or you're recovering from a chronic illness etcetera. And this is why sometimes in older age, you know, someone is skinny and frail and they break their hip or they suffer with some kind of chronic illness and they end up passing away because they simply don't have enough muscle to live off of.

They don't have the composite amino acids that are in the muscle to fuel all the other organs and to maintain immunity and to maintain gut health and maintain all these other things that you need in your body for amino acids. So just say like protein is protein and amino acids are so, so key to ensuring that you have lots of muscle going into your older years and that doesn't mean again like being a strength athlete or being a bodybuilder, but it really does mean thinking about maintaining a lean muscular physique even as a runner right, like not just trying to be thin and light, but really maintaining enough significant muscle mass so that um you can be strong and healthy later in your life. But one of the issues is that you brought up encyclopedia is that at the age of 40 it progressively gets much, much, much harder every decade after that gets progressively harder to maintain and to build muscle. And the reason for that is because our body's ability to break down, going back to the the, you know, the comparison of plant versus animal versus essential amino acids, the ability of our body to break down whole food proteins into the constituent amino acids becomes greatly reduced.

We simply don't have our enzymes don't work as well, our body just doesn't work as well doing it. And on top of that we are more anabolic li resistant. We simply aren't as sensitive to the amino acids to those essential amino acids stimulating new muscle protein synthesis. So we end up having to eat a lot more protein and the quality of the protein becomes a lot more important and so starting to supplement with, you know, even for non athletes and non runners, starting to thinking think about supplementing with essential amino acids as a dietary supplement at age 40 and then it is very helpful and then every decade after that becomes, you know that much more of something you might want to consider because your body doesn't have to digest the whole food protein and break it down into amino acids. And because the composition of you know, a supplement like economy nose is specifically formulated to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and so it overcomes much of this anabolic resistance that you would typically have at later stages of life.

Right on. Well Angelo, I think a lot of listeners out there have been enlightened by this conversation and they're probably starting to think about ways they can take action and incorporate amino acid supplementation into their own lifestyles. And I guess I have two final questions here that can kind of be paired together. The first is if I'm a consumer, if I'm a runner listening to this podcast, what should I be looking for when it comes to the formulations and proportions of one of these supplements and um feel free to obviously tie in what you're working on as you describe what to look for. Yeah, so I mean, I think number one most important is if you're gonna take an amino acid supplement, ensure that it has all nine amino acids, all nine essential amino acids. So just immediately pass over B C A s I would say. But there, you know, the several brands out there, like look for something that has all nine essential amino acids. The second thing I look for is does it have extra ones that maybe you don't need?

So some uh supplement companies will add additional assets that aren't necessarily bad but you don't necessarily really need them and you maybe don't need them in that dose. So I would really just look for a product that just has the nine essential amino acids and doesn't include others of the non essential and then in terms of the proportions it's really what I spoke to before. You want to you basically want to look for something that has the core formulation of what human skeletal muscle looks like and then increases in the losing the losing is really important especially for a runner because that's the one that you're gonna oxidize more of and that someone is going to support so much of your recovery and the muscle protein synthesis and preventing muscle protein breakdown. Um And then it also has those increased amounts of the solution veiling and the license. So you know I think obviously I'm he owns my company that our formula is based off this. So you could look at what our label is. It's that So look for that basically. Um Yeah that's you know I'd say it's the main guy and so I mentioned the only other thing too is if it's important to you?

Um you know look look for clean label, there shouldn't be a bunch of other weird additives to it. You know, there's gonna be some form of flavors. We use natural flavors. Um you know, we try to use uh we don't add sugar to ours and that's I think that's really up to the athlete to choose how much sugar carbs they want to control and and add to their own training regimen. Um yeah, so I would just look for a clean label and proportions that look like that right on. Well, we will obviously make sure to put all the relevant links in the show notes, including um a link to Keown's products. This has been an awesome conversation. I've learned a ton Angelo before we go. Is there anything else on your mind that we didn't cover or just that you wanna leave listeners with before we close up? I think swinging back all the way to the very beginning in this context of like, ah there's all these things to do and think about with nutrition and people marketing things and stuff. I would just say like, go run, go, have fun, you know, run, have fun, enjoy your runs. Um don't overthink this stuff, you know, it's like try to just the highlights, this conversation, gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Use essential amino acids to help you get there if you need to um and like run and have fun, enjoy your life, awesome message. And and for listeners, we also in addition to all the links, we will make sure to have a bullet point list of all of Angelo's key takeaways here today. So if you want those SparkNotes um they'll be with you after listening to the show. But uh Angela thanks again, Pleasure to have you and thanks for what you do with Cheong. Thank you fan hope you enjoyed that conversation with Angelo. Before we go, I wanted to share my three favorite action items and takeaways forerunners from that episode First, Angelo relayed the recommendation that runners should consume one g of protein or a half gram of essential amino acids per pound of body weight per day. Second Angelo suggested runners should be consuming 1/5 of their daily protein and essential amino acid needs every 3-4 hours in order to work towards a balanced energy and mood and healthy building of muscle for running.

And finally, the fact that consuming essential amino acids prior to during and after prolonged endurance exercise will help reduce muscle breakdown during exercise. It will reduce fatigue and improve soreness and recovery. Thanks for listening to the run to the top podcast, I'm your host, Finn Melanson. As always, our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode. Please consider connecting with me on instagram at Wasatch Finn and the rest of our team at runners connect. Also consider supporting our show for free with a rating on this Spotify and Apple podcast players. And, lastly, if you love the show and you want bonus content behind the scenes experiences with our guests and premier access to contests and giveaways, Then subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners connect dot net back slash podcast until next time. Happy Training.

Everything You Need to Know About Amino Acids For Running Performance and Recovery
Everything You Need to Know About Amino Acids For Running Performance and Recovery
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