Are you looking for amino acid supplements? If so there are several options in the dietary supplement market for $115 billion (2018). Some of the main options include freeform amino acids, which are single amino acids. The other main option includes amino acid blends like branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). In this case, the body must first break down the different aminos before it can digest/absorb them.
Fun Fact: The human body has 20 main amino acids. It’s critical for the body to have all of them in order to get different benefits from the aminos. While BCAAs have been trending in recent years they’re just one-third of all the amino acids we must get from food and supplements.
A big question is whether or not people should take amino acid blends like complete proteins. These foods/supplements include all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) in the human body. The human body can certainly benefit from such foods. For example, there’s no question that beef, chicken, eggs, soybeans, and cheese are healthy foods.
They’re also complete proteins so you get all the EAAs you need. However, the situation might be different if you take dietary supplements with amino blends. These include complete proteins, BCAAs, and so on.
What Are Freeform Amino Acids?
These are single amino acids compared to amino blends. The human body contains 22 amino acids. However, since a few are rare the total count is often set at 20. This includes 11 non-essential amino acids (NEAAS) that the body produces naturally.
Meanwhile, there are also 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) that people must get from food and supplements. These are usually the aminos included in dietary supplements since they must be consumed externally.
However, you can also find NEAA supplements. There are various reasons people consider these. They include if people want to build lean muscle mass. In that case, you must get all 20 amino acids. If you lack any due to bad diet, health conditions, stress, etc. then you should consider NEAA supplements.
When you get amino acids from foods/supplements there are two main kinds? Complete and incomplete proteins. A “complete” protein has enough of all 9 EAAs that you need for the day. For example, you could eat enough meat, eggs, soybeans, or dairy to get all the EAAs you need.
Another option is incomplete proteins through food/supplements. For example, you could eat a meal with whole grains, nuts/seeds, or beans. These are high-protein foods but don’t include enough of all EAAs.
This helps to explain the difference between single amino acids and amino acid blends. The blends include 2+ amino acids while single/freeform amino acids contain one just one kind. It’s important to know the difference whether it’s related to food or supplements.
The old saying “The more the merrier” might seem to apply when taking amino acids. For example, amino supplements that contain complete proteins might seem to provide the same health benefits as complete proteins from food.
However, it’s important to find out whether or not that’s the case. For example, consider that supplements aren’t whole foods or even “natural” since they’re made in a factory.
Are Freeform Amino Acids Necessary?
Simply put, “freeform” types of amino acids are simply dietary supplements with one amino acid. This differs from others like BCAAs and other blends that contain 2+. It might be tough to determine whether or not blends are better.
Here’s why. In terms of getting all your daily aminos, complete proteins are generally a better choice versus incomplete proteins. For example, you can get all your EAAs for the day by eating scrambled eggs for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch, and cottage cheese for dinner.
The process is tougher if you consume incomplete proteins. For example, you’d have to go with options like whole-wheat bread + peanut butter, beans + rice, and whole wheat naan + hummus. These are healthy options but you simply have to consume more food.
The story is different when you pick dietary supplements. The reason is freeform aminos don’t require digestion. They’re “pre-digested” and can produce all the needed enzymes required for digestion and protein development.
In this case, food is digested correctly. The body produces everything it needs for good health. The main cause of many serious diseases is not digesting enough carbs, proteins, and fats. This can cause symptoms like:
- Low/high blood sugar
- High cholesterol
When the body doesn’t get enough protein/amino acids this can cause various health issues. They include a weak immune system and disease. In the case of whole/partial proteins stay undigested they get into the digestive system in a state that’s unstable.
They then float around and cause various unwanted health conditions. They include various allergic reactions related to sinuses, skin, etc. Meanwhile, freeform AAs make stuff like muscles, hormones, and enzymes.
When shopping for amino acid supplements it’s important to pick true freeform aminos. It’s highly recommended to look for capsules that contain white powders. If they’re not in this form, then they’ve likely reduced soy/milk proteins.
Top Vegan/Vegetarian Protein Sources
Fun Fact: ½ cup of firm tofu includes 12g of protein. Besides that, it’s a complete protein. Soybeans are easily the best protein source for vegans/vegetarians. The reason is it differs from other beans since it’s high in “methionine,” which makes it a complete protein.
There are also many ways to consume soy. Some of the many options include soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers, fried tofu, and miso soup.
This is a good option because it contains 2+ whole grains. The best option is easily Ezekiel Bread. It’s based on a “recipe” in the Bible. It includes four grains and two sprouted beans. In terms of protein and aminos, it’s easily one of the top plant-based foods.
All three are relatively high in protein. This is especially compared to most plant-based foods, which often aren’t high-protein. If you want the most protein from grains then make sure to go with whole grains. That’s because refined versions include less protein.
While this food is high-protein it’s not actually wheat as its name suggests. It’s actually a cousin of rhubarb. You can find many buckwheat products on the product including oatmeal-like groats and pancakes.
Buckwheat is a superfood. Besides being high-protein it’s also believed to provide several health benefits. They include lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. The main takeaway here is that it’s good for the blood!
This might be a surprising one since it’s less-known versus other grains/cereals. In fact, irony is quinoa has been labeled a superfood during the past decade, yet has been consumed in the Americas for thousands of years.
Fun Fact: NASA hopes to grow quinoa during long space missions. Besides being a complete protein you also get other nutrients like iron, manganese, magnesium, and fiber. It’s a good option along with freeform amino acids.