If you’re serious about your fitness game—or getting serious—you’ve probably come across these four letters: BCAA. It is known as Branched Chain Amino Acids.
There are many good reasons why branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, inevitably come up in conversations about building muscles and boosting gains. Here’s why they should be a key component of your workout strategy:
WHAT ARE BCAA?
BCAAs are the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which comprise around 35% of your body’s muscle protein. They’re “essential” because your body doesn’t make them on its own—you have to get them from food and workout supplements. Like other amino acids, they’re the building blocks of protein. Muscle protein is in a constant state of turnover, meaning that protein synthesis is occurring continuously to replace protein lost as a consequence of protein breakdown. For the synthesis of new muscle protein, all the EAAs, along with the eleven non-essential amino acids (NEAAs) that can be produced in the body, must be present in adequate amounts.
Leucine is not only a precursor for muscle protein synthesis, but also may play a role as a regulator of intracellular signaling pathways that are involved in the process of protein synthesis But this particular amino may also help preserve muscle glycogen stores, which fuel your muscles and minimize protein breakdown during exercise. Translation? BCAAs can help you get more out of your daily gym sessions.
WHAT DOES BCAAS DO?
BCAAs fuel your skeletal muscles during training, which can help give you the edge you need to push your limits. Supplementing with BCAAs helps preserve your stores of glycogen—the primary fuel your muscles use for energy production. This means your body has a reliable energy source to tap into while you work out, which can keep you going. Plus, abundant glycogen stores keep your body from breaking down muscle protein for energy instead. That’s why BCAA supplements are a win-win for your muscles—they help sustain and safeguard them. That’s potentially more energy, more reps, and more gains.
WHAT ARE BCAAS GOOD FOR?
BCAAs can also help enhance muscle protein recovery after your workout, especially when you consume them with carbs. Emerging research suggests that leucine is the star player of BCAAs when it comes to regulating genetic signaling pathways involved in muscle protein synthesis. That’s why quality BCAA supplements have a higher ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine. A typical daily dose includes five grams of leucine, four grams of valine and two grams of isoleucine.
HOW TO LOAD UP
BCAA supplements can be consumed before, during and after exercise. Whey protein drinks provide the complete spectrum of all three special aminos. For optimal results, use them in conjunction with a healthy and balanced diet. If you’re looking for an extra leucine boost, make sure brown rice and whole-wheat foods are a part of your regular diet. Nuts like almonds and cashews are rich in isoleucine, and for valine, go for dairy, grains, mushrooms, and peanuts. Animal products like red meat, fish, eggs and chicken—and vegetarian alternatives like soy—are all also chock full of BCAAs.
CAN I GET BCAA FROM PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS TOO?
Even though you get BCAA from protein supplements, tends to take a long time to absorb the nutrients. Pure BCAA, by passing the liver, it goes directly into the bloodstream and can boost muscle growth directly. And hence can be used as an immediate source of energy during workouts.
GNC brings to you a range of BCAA with varied proportion. GNC products are a concentrated BCAA complex precisely formulated to provide the body what it needs to enhance power output and support muscle repair following exercise. You can find them in the form of powders or softgels too. They are available in 2:1:1 ratio with more focus on Leucine.
Beyond Raw BCAA Precision also contains salts which help to hydrate the muscles.