What are BCAAs?
BCAAs stands for “Branched Chain Amino Acids.” Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. In total, there are nine essential amino acids, but leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the three that are key to helping you maintain muscle. You can buy these in powder form as a dietary supplement.
Of these three, leucine is the muscle-building powerhouse. It is suggested that to benefit from the full effects of leucine, you should consume 2 to 3 grams a sitting, at least 3 times during the day. The standard dosage for isoleucine is 48-72 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This amounts to about 20 grams of combined amino acids with a balanced ratio of leucine and isoleucine.
BCAA supplements have been shown to aid recovery and allow the body to remain in an anabolic state rather than catabolic. They also help tobuild skeletal muscle, maintain muscle on a calorie-deficit diet, and decrease muscle fatigue. They are particularly useful for bodybuilding competitors who take their physiques to the lean extreme.
Peaked your interest? Let’s take a more in depth look at the 4 main health benefits of BCAA
1. Increases Protein Synthesis
Protein synthesis is the metabolic process when your body makes new muscle protein, aka gains. Branched-chain amino acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis,arguablymore so than a normal protein on its own.
2. Reduces Protein Breakdown
Muscle wasting or breakdown occurs when protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis. By increasing your BCAA levels you can slow the rate of protein breakdown. The supplement works by decreasing the activity of the protein breakdown pathway, in conjunction with the slowing of the production of mRNA involved in protein breakdown. BCAAs account for 35% of the essential amino acids found in muscle proteins and 40% of the total amino acids required by your body, so it’s important to replace them along with other essential amino acids.
3. Facilitates a Better Workout
During exercise, your muscles use BCAAs, causing levels of the essential amino acid tryptophan in your brain to increase, which is then converted into serotonin. Serotonin is the brain chemical that is thought to contribute to the development of fatigue during exercise, preventing you from working harder and longer during your workouts. Taking an increased level of BCAAs reduces the amount of tryptophan that gets through the blood-brain barrier, effectively reducing the production of serotonin. This will allow you to keep your intensity levels high, for a more extended period of time.
4. Decrease Muscle Soreness
Some research suggests taking BCAA supplements can help decrease ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’ (DOMS), which develops 12 to 24 hours after exercise and can last up to 72 hours. There is no definitive answer as to what causes DOMS, nevertheless it is believed to be the result of tiny tears in the muscles after exercise. BCAAs have been proven to decrease muscle damage, which may help subdue the intensity of DOMS. A number of studies also show that BCAAs decrease levels of creatine kinase, which is an indicator of muscle damage.
BCAA and Whey
BCAAs start working right away.Insupplement form, they require no digestion and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Compared to whey, they raise the levels of amino acids in the blood more quickly and to a much greater extent than peptide-bound amino acids in proteins. Just a few grams of free-form BCAAs will spike BCAA plasma levels way more than 30 grams of whey protein.
Consuming Branched-Chain Amino Acids Pre-Workout
You can also make BCAA supplementation a regular part of your pre-workout routine. BCAAs bypass the liver and gut, and enter directly into your blood plasma, which provides you with an immediate energy source during high-octane workout. Similarly, the glucogenic amino acids valine and isoleucine can be converted to glucose to give you energy, which can help tackle muscle fatigue during a heavy weights session.
Whatever your goal may be, to build muscle mass or to lose weight, incorporating branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) into your regime, pre and post workout, will support the metabolic processes to help you achieve them, aided by a more efficient workout.
Of course, you can get these amino acids from foods that are naturally high in protein such as eggs, chicken, and fish, but these BCAAs will not hit your blood plasma as fast as BCAA supplements. To help maintain an anabolic state as much as possible you can also drink these supplements in between meals.
Many supplements on the market are long on promises but short on results, but save yourself time and test the power of BCAAs. We sell BCAAs supplements in all of our Choices gyms, why not try them out and capitalise on these many health and fitness benefits!