Supplement Guide: BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

Getting enough protein in the daily diet is critical to help grow the muscles. Adding branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements to the nutrition plan is certain to profoundly and uniquely affect physical performance and muscle growth that isn’t possible when relying solely on protein powder.

BCAA content in food

What are BCAA?

BCAAs are referred to as the building blocks required for protein. These amino acids are split into 2 major categories: non-essential amino acids and essential amino acids.

Branched chain amino acids include 3 types: isoleucine, leucine, and valine, and this makes up nearly 32% of the protein in the body’s muscles.

Each of these amino acids is rapidly broken down and absorbed while exercising or lifting weights so can benefit a workout and provide the most-effective absorption and muscle recovery.

The benefits of BCAA supplements are wide-ranging and include:

  • Reduced loss of amino acids
  • Enhanced protein absorption
  • Faster rate recovery
  • Much lower muscle fatigue

BCAA supplementation is able to prevent the loss of muscle that can occur at the time of completing a workout session. These supplements are a perfect option to reduce muscle fatigue and increase the performance of a workout. Use the supplements for more effective muscle production and faster muscle recovery.

What makes BCAAs unique?

Branched chain amino acids are primarily metabolized in the muscle tissue, and not in the liver like the majority of amino acids. This makes if possible for the body to make more efficient use of these amino acids as a source of fuel. Energy is created with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is highly beneficial for muscle contraction. Throughout a workout, there is a higher metabolism of BCAAs in relation to the body’s energy needs. So, taking on board the supplement close to starting a workout is a practical choice for increasing the level of energy and gaining more benefits from each rep.

Performance enhancing amino acids

Take BCAAs to benefit the health in a variety of ways. The unique glycogen effect makes it possible to train harder and achieve faster muscle growth. If the supply of glycogen stores is used up, the BCAA supplement can help to up fat oxidation, which is the process used to transfer fat into energy. [Glycogen stores relate to the carbohydrates stored in the liver and muscle tissue, and the most beneficial form of fuel when the muscles are put under increased stress of high-intensity exercise]

Hormonal helpers

The role of anabolic hormones is quite major in the world of muscle development because of their impact on muscle tissue growth or protein synthesis. Three of the major hormonal helpers are insulin, growth hormone (GH), and testosterone. Supplementing with BCAAs before a regular training program can have a positive impact and helps to slowly release testosterone. Without the intake of branched chain amino acid supplements, the testosterone level has the potential to fall to a borderline level after completing the exercise program. But, using the supplemented BCAAs can leave the testosterone high for 2 or 3 hours after exercising.

Branched chain amino acids not only help to up testosterone post-exertion, but can help with reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol is known to break down muscle mass, and a high concentration in the system can even lead to high body fat. Also, a BCAA like leucine has the potential to make the system more sensitive to insulin. A body that is well sensitized to insulin is much more efficient at increasing fat loss and achieving greater muscle growth.

So, the glycogen-sparing, cortisol-blunting impact of the BCAAs is certain to mean they are highly attractive for any regime involving fat-loss when the intake of calories is reduced.

How much branched chain amino acids to take

A preferred time to take BCAAs is pre-working, during working, and post workout. Anyone taking this supplement at 150 pounds or less in weight should take 3 grams (before, during and after exercise). Those above this weight limit can up the dose to 5 grams and taken at the same intervals.

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