Amino Acids Frequently Asked Questions
How quickly do amino acids work?
Amino acids work quickly in the body; after taking an amino acid supplement like BCAA, BCAA levels in the blood peak 30 minutes after consuming. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22569039/)
How many amino acids are there?
There are a total of twenty different amino acids that exist. In fact, all twenty of these amino acids are found in a muscle protein. This is why they’re commonly referred to as the building blocks of protein. Of those twenty, nine are essential amino acids, while the remaining eleven are non-essential.
Essential amino acids (EAAs) contain branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are a group of three essential amino acids are Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine. The remaining six are Lysine, Threonine, Phenylalanine, Methionine, Histidine, and Tryptophan.
The non-essential amino acids are Glutamine, Aspartate, Glutamate, Arginine, Alanine, Proline, Cysteine, Asparagine, Serine, Glycine, and Tyrosine.
What’s the difference between essential and non-essential amino acids?
The difference between essential and non-essential amino acids is that non-essential amino acids can be made by the body, while essential amino acids cannot be made by the body so you must get them from your diet. It is important to get all the amino acids so your body can build the wide variety of proteins it needs.
Additionally, if a protein source is referred to as ‘complete’ that means it contains all nine essential amino acids that can only be obtained through diet. Animal-based foods like eggs, dairy, fish, and meat are all complete, while most plant foods are incomplete.
When is the best time to take amino acids?
As amino acids work quickly in the body and BCAA levels peak 30 minutes after consumption the best time to take an amino acid supplement is just before and during a training session.
Should I take amino acids before or after training?
Amino acid supplements like BCAAs and EAAs can be taken before or after training, however most users consume amino acid supplements before training.
What’s the best amino acid supplement?
The two main amino acid supplements are Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and Essential Amino Acids (EAAs).
BCAA supplements contain a group of three essential amino acids: Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine. These amino acids are commonly taken because they increase muscle protein synthesis (MPS) which can help boost muscle growth and can enhance exercise performance.
EAA supplements contain all nine essential amino acids (including the three BCAAs). EAAs cannot be produced by the body and can only be obtained through diet and supplementation.
For this reason, EAAs are a more complete amino acid supplement and in most cases is superior to a straight BCAAs supplement.
However, there are two situations where BCAAs would be preferable to EAAs. Firstly, BCAAs are a useful supplement for those on a vegan diet as plant-based protein sources are notoriously low in BCAAs. Secondly, BCAAs can be consumed with a weight loss goal in mind. BCAAs can be used to satisfy sweetness cravings while being significantly lower in calories compared to a sugary soft drink.
For a more in-depth look at these two supplements, check out this informative blog: BCAAs vs EAAs. Which comes out on top?.
Do you guarantee your amino acids?
At Bulk Nutrients we have strict quality control systems in place which guarantee the quality of products to the end user. Quality is something which is particularly important to us.
We deal with credible, international suppliers which we have long established relationships with, and we visit these suppliers in person once each year (except in 2020, where COVID made travel impossible). In most cases we visit the factories in which the raw goods are made.
Before we accept any goods, suppliers spec sheets must meet our requirements.
We also conduct independent testing of Glutamine, Creatine, Acetyl Carnitine, and some individual amino acids as well as other goods regularly through NMI or Biotest laboratories in Australia to ensure that spec and microbiological level claims are met. We send many samples of raw and finished products to be analysed each year, far more than the minimum required by food safety auditors. In addition, we have an in-house FTIR Spectrometer that allows us to compare batches and with internationally recognised standard patterns, which we use to frequently check our products.
Are your amino acids sourced from China?
Our amino acids, like 99% of the world's supply are from China. China now has a very high standard of production of pharmaceutical ingredients, with some of the world's best practises. It should be noted that we use the same suppliers as some of the world's biggest and most prestigious supplement and pharmaceutical brands.
Millions of dollars have been spent designing these state-of-the-art facilities, with hundreds of tonnes of raw goods being shipped to the USA and Europe every month.
We know the biggest supplement companies in the world deal with our suppliers as we've had joint meetings with them! The most important thing to note is that at Bulk Nutrients we have exceedingly high standards of supply, with tight ‘supplier agreements’ in place which have many checks and balances. These are not "one offs" but a continual part of our quality assurance programs.
When combined with the checks and balance we have in Australia (including significant investments in lab testing), we are greatly confident with our raw products.
What about the other products you use, how come some don’t say “Australian Made”?
At Bulk Nutrients, we use a wide range of ingredients from around the world. It’s important to state that every single edible product sold by Bulk Nutrients is developed, blended, or packed by us. We look after the processing of every product that we sell, as we always have.
As that processing varies considerably, this changes what we can state on the labels (due to food standards legislation). With products which are “significantly transformed” like capsules, we state “Made in Australia”. Due to recent changes in labelling laws even many of our complex amino acids and extract combinations aren’t listed as “Made in Australia”, however we still formulate, blend and pack everything exactly as we always have.
Something often misunderstood too is that the range of raw ingredients made in Australia is extremely limited. We import amino acids and extracts as these are simply not made in Australia, so if we were to stick to Australian only raw goods, we would have a limited range.
By sourcing raw goods globally, it allows us to combine our local expertise of development and processing while offering a much greater range which is internationally competitive.
What happens if my amino acids are past their "used by date", are they still safe to use?
Good question. The vital part here is "best before" and not used by. All our amino acids are very stable and will last almost indefinitely if stored well. Tests have shown that they are perfectly safe to use after the "best before" unless they have been affected by excess heat or moisture.
Is the colour unchanged, does the product smell as expected? Then they are likely fine to use. In cases where you are concerned that they have changed appearance, you are welcome to contact us to see if we can help.
While amino acids and many other dry powders are usually fine after their ‘best before’ dates, we will always ship out powders which are ‘fresh’. A 12 month or longer period is typical for us.