What amino acid supplement should you pick? There are many options including one called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). This is a blend of three aminos that are essential amino acids (EAAs). Fun Fact: The powerhouse amino Leucine was discovered in cheese in 1819. EAAs must be consumed with food and supplements. However, you can also boost your BCAA intake through supplements. This includes several options like tablets, capsules, and powders. BCAAs have been trending in recent years due to branched-chain amino acid benefits. So it’s much easier to find BCAA supplements on the market than in the past.
BCAAs are quite popular among athletes and bodybuilders due to the benefits it provides for muscle building/repairing. BCAAs can offer other benefits but some of the main ones are muscle-related. When building lean muscle mass it’s important to have enough of all 20 amino acids. That includes the essential amino acids (EAAs) like the ones in BCAAs. However, there’s some debate among health experts about how critical BCAAs are versus the other EAAs. In other words, should you focus more on BCAAs or all the EAAs? This is a big issue to consider to get the best results from your workout program.
What in the World Are BCAAs?
These are amino acids that can be used either before after, or even during workouts including high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These aminos are well-known to boost workout performance. It’s important to know what BCAAs are all about and how to use them effectively.
BCAAs aren’t just used for workout performance but also workout recovery. This is an important aspect of training. That’s because it can speed up the process of “tear and repair.” When you do a tough workout it results in small tears in muscle tissues.
This might seem like a bad thing. However, we’re not talking about pulled muscles or torn tendons. These are microscopic tears in muscle fibers that need time to heal. You can start feeling the effects of this tissue damage within one day of your workout.
Protein/aminos can help with the muscle healing process. For example, when you’re sleeping your body works overtime to repair damaged muscle tissue. This explains why you shouldn’t just consume enough aminos but also get enough sleep. If you take these two steps, in particular, you can speed up the recovery process.
While BCAAs can help with building and repairing muscles, it’s important to make sure you’re using the supplements safely to get the best results. For example, researchers are still studying the long-term effects of taking BCAA supplements, and as the old saying goes “more research is needed.”
BCAAs are made up of three amino acids that are all EAAs. The process is complex in how BCAAs help to build muscle mass. That said, the main takeaway is that they’re critical for the process.
One of the main reasons is Leucine. The daily amount of this amino needed (about 40mg) is higher than all other EAAs. Leucine is considered as the quarterback/center of EAAs. The other two BCAAs are Isoleucine and Valine.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids Benefits
Besides building muscle many weightlifters/bodybuilders want to burn fat at the same time. Branched-chain amino acids benefits this area. When doing workouts people need higher blood sugar levels for different metabolism functions. The body processes sugar so the protein synthesis continues.
BCAAs are effective to help make sure blood sugar metabolism builds lean muscle versus fatty tissue. The result is that it’s easier to build muscle and burn fat, which can sometimes seem quite tough to do.
This is easily one of the branched-chain amino acids benefits and one of the main goals of athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders. The fancy term for muscle building is “protein synthesis.” This is processing protein to increase lean muscle mass.
BCAAs are critical for the process of muscle-building. This happens because BCAAs can help to make the process more efficient. This results in more muscle, which is a plus when you’re weightlifting. It’s not only important to build muscle but to do it more efficiently for optimum gains.
After a brutal workout, it’s normal to experience sore muscles. After your muscles start feeling sore they tend to take up to 72 hours (3 days) to hell fully depending on the damage. BCAAs can help to speed up the recovery process. That’s because the aminos can help to reduce factors like a lactic acid buildup.
They boost blood-sugar metabolism and muscle growth. This helps to lower pain due to muscle soreness and it’s done naturally. The faster you can recover from your last workout the faster you can get back into the gym. That means more muscle/strength gains.
Yet another possible benefit of BCAAs is to delay fatigue. There are certain aminos including BCAAs that can achieve this goal. If your brain doesn’t get the signals that you’re tired it can extend your workout sessions and thus muscle/strength gains.
Branched-Amino Acids Benefits | Do You Only Need It to Build Muscle?
There’s no question that BCAAs have become one of the most popular supplements on the market in recent years. You can now find lots of BCAA tablets and protein powders, for example. However, like protein powders themselves, there’s some debate about how effective these aminos are.
For example, one issue to consider is this is an amino blend but not a “complete protein.” In other words, there are 9 total EAAs and BCAAs only include one-third of them. When boosting your aminos you must be first getting enough of all EAAs.
If that’s not the case then extra BCAAs won’t mean much. In other words, BCAAs aren’t important but so are the other 6 EAAs needed for muscle gains.
There are even some health experts who argue BCAA supplements aren’t needed at all. One reason is you can get these aminos from real foods, which are always a better source of nutrients versus supplements.
What are some options? You could get your BCAAs through foods like meat, fish, eggs, quinoa, soybeans, and dairy. These are all complete proteins that provide all 9 EAAs and enough of them for the day.
BCAAs are trending, but that doesn’t mean they should be your go-to supplement. Such products should only add to your daily diet of real food, to begin with. You could go with a pre-workout protein shake during the day and BCAA tablets or liquid aminos with your meals.
However, make sure that you avoid using supplements like BCAAs to replace whole meals. This isn’t a good idea since you should still be getting your nutrients from real food.
Besides protein, you should also make sure you’re getting good sources of carbs and healthy fats as well. While protein is critical for athletes and weightlifters don’t just consider branched-chain amino acids benefits.