Branched Chain Amino Acids are an essential requirement in our diets as they are not created by our bodies.  They have recently gained popularity within the fitness arena and are generally available in powder or pill form.  They are also found in many other supplements such a as pre-workout and protein supplements.  However, this does not have the same effect as concentrated sources such as BCAA tablets or powder as the amino acids in protein supplements have to be broken down and thus are not as efficient.

They are considered useful to people trying to gain mass as well as for people whole are looking to lose fat whilst maintaining muscle.

bcaa powder

How to use BCAAs

When on a cutting diet/calorie deficit, your body gets into a state where it is breaking down fat and some muscle. This is know as a catabolic state, the opposite of anabolic.  Muscle breakdown takes place basically because your body uses the tissue (amino acids) for energy.

BCAAs reduce the protein breakdown

BCAAs help reduce the breakdown by serving as the body’s source rather than it being extracted from precious muscle tissue.  They also signal the release of insulin allowing the use of amino acids and glucose in the blood for energy.

BCAAs increase protein uptake

BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis more than regular protein because they are already in a broken down amino acid state.  because of this, the rate of protein synthesis increases as well as the amount of synthesis any single cell can perform.

Other BCAA benefits

BCAAs can reduce levels of tiredness which will of course improve your workouts.  Because of this, it is often recommended that they are taken before workouts and are included in pre-workout drinks.

They have also been shown to reduce the soreness or muscles.  This means that workouts can be more extreme as you can push yourself further.

bicep curl

Side effects

As BCAAs are naturally found in sources of protein, there are very effects.  It is not recommended that pregnant women consume BCAA supplements as there has been a lack of evidence suggesting that it is safe for them to do so.

Conclusion

Supplementing with BCAAs can result gains both in strength and muscularity.  Consuming Branch Chain Amino Acid before a workout will improve performance whilst reducing fatigue.  They are required through you diet as they cannot be produced by the body and are also required for recovery after excercise.  BCAAs are crucial for muscle growth.

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