BCAAs or No BCAAs?
Asking that question is like asking do I want to recover or do not want to recover? I choose this subject because it is very important to me and my body. As a strength athlete and a father proper nutrition and supplementation is a must. If you are an athlete of any form, then you should know that recovery is an essential process to gaining lean muscle, gaining strength, prolonging your life and helping your energy levels elevate. If you already understand the benefits of BCAAs please read this blog anyway and pass the information on to help someone else. Education is a wealth in this fitness world.
If you want to make those gains the best thing you can do is educate yourself about Branch Chain Amino Acids or as many of us know them as BCAAs. Here are a few benefits to using BCAAs.
1. An Indicator of Lean mass in young and middle-aged adults has been BCAA Metabolites.
2. Making sure that every meal has a threshold dose of essential amino acids that contain BCAAs have been proven to have less visceral belly fat and more muscle mass.
3. Protein synthesis and Muscle cell breakdown is triggered and inhibited by BCAAs
4. Insulin sensitivity and Glucose uptake in healthy people has been improved by BCAAs.
5. BCAA intake with other therapeutic actions may improve metabolic markers in diabetics.
6. Using BCAAs during exercise, working out or training plays an huge role in Muscle and energy production.
7. A higher dietary intake of BCAAs is identified as a predictor of longevity and many other health benefits.
8. Using BCAAs during or after an intense workout can help to reduce muscle soreness afterwards during the recovery process.
9. BCAAs will help you with motivation to train even while you are already tired or sore.
Ok so let’s get back to the basics. I can ask a lot of folks in the fitness industry this question all the time just to test things out. What are the BCAAs made up of? Out of the 100 people I asked 63 people had no idea what BCAA’s were made up of. Out of those 63 people 22 said they only used it because they were told to take them when they went to the store to by supplements. The other 41 said they got them because they were to help with recovery. This is why I do these blogs, to help educate anyone I can to help them succeed as much as they can with the right education.
So what are the BCAAs made up of?
They are made up of 3 essential amino acids, Leucine, Isoleucine, and valine.
Why are they essential? Because your body is not able to make them out of other amino acids which means you can only get them through the food you eat and the proper supplementation.
Just to stress their importance, BCAAs make up of 40% of all nine essential amino acids required daily.
There are different ways to get your BCAAs, so don’t worry about not finding them when most of them are in your refrigerator. High Protein foods are where you can find it the most, mainly in Chicken, beef, salmon, eggs and whey protein. As an athlete the fastest way to get it in your system is by supplementation. By supplementation I mean free form BCAAs because they go directly into the blood stream by bypassing the liver and gut tissue.
BCAAs make the job of turning each amino acid into energy during exercise easier by having a branched chain. By doing so they make up 35% of all muscle tissue. So to slow down the breakdown of muscle cells and prevent muscle loss, you should play key to making sure to have more BCAA in the muscles so that they will be used for energy not your muscle cells.
Now like most people we need to know if it is actually worth it before we spend the money.
Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to this question. I have heard the should I’s, the what if’s and the I dunno’s. I will say one thing not every supplement is for everyone but make sure to read these facts. One fact is you won’t know it works till you try it. Plus all of these questions lead to one thing “do your research” I mean educate yourself, Google it, ask trainers, ask doctors or ask sports professionals. The help and information is out there as long as you look for it. Use this blog as a starting point to help you research as well. There is loads of information regarding BCAAs. One thing I will say that even though there is tons of research regarding BCAAs effects on your body after training and when you are not training at all, there is not much evidence that shows that they lead to greater muscle mass gains in the long term.
There is one piece of evidence though that shows having a high BCAA intake and a protein intake formula that essential to your body to make muscle and strength gains with training. For example I use a BCAA hyperblend at least 2-3 times a day usually during training and my daily protein intake is about 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. So 227lbs x 1.5 grams would be 340.5 grams of protein daily not including my BCAAs. The reason I do this is that it has been proven that with a high protein and BCAA intake combination you will see a greater muscle mass and strength gain with resistance training.
Keyword is “Training” so don’t go home and sit down on the couch all day and drink protein shakes thinking this is helping you. If you want to make progress you have to put the protein and BCAAs to work.
The best part about BCAA intake is they can be easily used during exercise to speed up recovery, improve fat burning for energy and reduce fatigue.
So below are 10 reasons to help you understand the BCAA processes and why you should use them.
1) Muscle building between Old & Young Equalized with Leucine-Enriched BCAAs. If you take Leucine after strength training it can increase the protein synthesis by about 145%. Which is why it has become a trend lately to take leucine alone without the other BCAAs. Through research if you take Leucine out of balance with the other BCAAs it can create a blood amino acid level imbalance which can reduce the anabolic response. Which is why a lot of BCAAs are at a 3:1:1 ratio (3 leucine, 1 Isoleucine and 1 Valine) has been found to show the best results for muscle development. For older people it is principal to take Leucine with other BCAAs, because creating a muscle-building environment in the body as you age is important. It can be hard to do since as you get older your protein synthesis activation is impaired usually dropping off after 35 years of age. Reduced protein synthesis causing a decreasing in the muscle building effect along with a lower protein diet with aging usually contribute to muscle loss and sarcopenia. A BCAA mixture with a high Volume of about 40% being leucine can help for those loss not to happen. The high leucine BCAA mixture can help to elevate and prolong the synthesisation of the protein after resistance training. So for older people training for muscle gains make sure to have a protein that is enhanced with Leucine.
2) BCAAs=Strength Improvements In recent studies proper supplementation of protein was found to lead to a larger strength development with training. The high protein diet with BCAAs helps to increase your strength gains by the BCAAs helping to improve the Neuromuscular adaptations.
3) Enhanced protein Synthesis in muscle. As we know BCAAs trigger protein synthesis. Using BCAAs with resistance training creates max protein synthesis because the two trigger something else. That trigger is called the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 signaling pathway that is essential to muscle building. A BCAA mixture along with alanine, aspartate and glutamate are brought into the muscle tissue for energy. The muscle is designed to burn BCAAs for energy during exercise creating a large quantity of energy for performance. On another positive of BCAAs is, say you are taking a break to heal up and recover. If you increase your BCAA intake it will help minimize your muscle loss, at the same time preserving lean muscle can help prevent fat gain while you are inactive by keeping the metabolism up. So overall use your BCAAs for better muscle growth and to keep the lean muscle during down time.
4) Decrease muscle soreness. Muscle soreness is a very, researched issue with muscle growth, strength growth and all over the fitness world. It has been shown on both sides of the working out and non-working out groups that BCAAs are worth the time and money to reduce DOMS(Delayed onset Muscle Soreness) from both strength and cardio exercises. Dosages of BCAAs help with preserving the muscle fibers and help you accelerate through the recovery process faster so you can train at a higher intensity level more frequently. This way you can train more and reach your goals.
5) Fat Burning Support Leucine has always been thought to be the magic item for leanness but in reality it only works that well together with the other BCAAs with a high leucine ratio. Isoleucine will improve Glucose tolerance and leucine will increase energy usage and fat oxidation. More fat movement allows for a better metabolism which enables fat loss from training and diet. So if you are looking for fat loss, look at eating High Protein/BCAA foods.
6) The Fountain of Youth! Most people do not know this but BCAAs work in other ways then in the fitness world. BCAAs are used in conjunction with or in medicine to treat liver disease, prevent sarcopenia with aging and to help reduce the mortality risk with cancer. BCAAs also increase the formation of new mitochondria which has an anti-aging effect. So in all tell everyone you want to stay healthy and you that BCAAs keep you young and improve your health.
7) Hormonal Balance Hormone balance plays a huge role in the body’s way to respond to training loads. Most people don’t realize this body your body produces hormones every day and even more frequently as you work out. BCAAs help to regulate your hormonal balance as well has help to recover your body. The regulation is important to how you react to the exercise. Too much can throw off many things like your inflammation of the tendons to too much cortisol produced or to little testosterone.
8) Enhance endurance and decrease fatigue. BCAAs can be burned as energy to maintain ATP Levels while also enhancing the fat burning process to create more energy in the body as well. BCAAs will also help to prevent fatigue on the nervous system by preventing the brain from taking in tryptophan. Tryptophan creates serotonin, which increases fatigue and tiredness. So in general BCAAs help to test your endurance performance by helping you to burn fuel more effectively.
9) Diabetes While isoleucine can increase glucose tolerance by itself, the whole trio of BCAAs can improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic rate for improved body composition. As a warning though BCAAs should not be used as a treatment of Diabetes because diabetes have a dysfunctional BCAA metabolism so it can elevate insulin levels. Diabetics should focus on optimal body composition through exercise and diet along with working with their doctors to cure diabetes. So in general if you are not a diabetic you can focus on getting the high BCAA intake in fold and use BCAAs in training to help reduce diabetes risk and support insulin health.
10) Long Duration Exercise BCAAs help to prevent muscle loss during a ultra-endurance exercise like a marathon as well. You can experience a muscle protein degradation and metabolic stress from muscle damage. So BCAAs will prevent catabolism by improving energy burning levels so that the amino acids stay within the muscles. Make sure when you are doing an endurance even or a long event you include your BCAAs to protect the muscle tissue.
I hope that I have provided some Education to help everyone understand some of the positive aspects of BCAAs and how they are important to our bodies. As for suggestions of BCAAs I would suggest what I use BCAA Hyperblend and BCAA Hyperblend Energy from Top Secret Nutrition