Are you looking for a bodybuilding booster? Would you like something that gets you through a powerful workout?
Then BCAA (Branched Chain of Amino Acids) is your best bet. The dietary supplement is creating much hype in the weightlifting circle for its power-packed punch. The supplement consists of three essential amino acids that give your muscles enough energy to prevent fatigue. They improve your performance and help you recover faster after a strenuous gym session.
That’s not all; the supplement is effective for weight loss too. This is why the medical market has dubbed it as one of the best supplements for fitness buffs.
Are you wondering how it does all of this? Then read on to enlighten yourself about the chemical composition, mechanism, and benefits of the drug. We will provide enough information for you to kick-start your daily consumption.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) is a combination of three essential amino acids that are necessary for our muscle growth. They are collectively known as a ‘branched chain’ because of their fork-like shape. This offshoot branch is a unique characteristic found in these three amino chains.
The names of the trio amino acids are:
Each of them is different in composition and function.
Why are they called essential amino acids?
It is because they are among the nine essential amino acids that are not made in the body. Therefore it is essential for you to consume a protein-rich diet for BCAA intake.
- It helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissues.
- For those who work-out, it enhances stamina.
- It supports process of protein synthesis in muscles.
Do you know the importance of protein?
Protein helps in building muscles and tissues. They also help in the growth and repair of these body parts. So where do amino acids come in? They are actually the ‘building blocks’ of protein. Protein breaks down into small chains of amino acids to provide the energy required for the development of muscle mass.
Next, the BCAA are three of the 20 known chains of amino acids. As you already know, they belong to the essential class of amino acids. They work on the body to make it strong and healthy.
What are the known statistics for BCAA?
According to one particular research, the BCAA contributes to building 35% of our muscle mass. This is because the BCAAs are a large section of the body’s total amino acid accumulation. Some research says that they make up for 40% of the essential amino acids that are necessary to keep our body healthy.
Then you should know that most people take the BCAAs because:
- They want to release the tension around sore muscles
- They have to maintain a certain percentage of muscle mass
- It is the biggest contributor to muscle growth
We have learned that amino acids are the ‘building blocks’ of our body. They help in muscle growth and development that makes our body stronger and our physical coordination better. This is probably why nutritionists and other medical practitioners emphasize on taking a protein-rich diet daily.
You might have wondered ‘what would happen if I don’t take my protein?’ The straightforward answer to this inquiry is the deficiency of amino acids. Anytime our body lacks a nutrient, the doctors say that we have a deficiency that we need to fix.
How do we know that we have an amino acid deficiency?
You know how a car starts indicating that it is low on petrol? In the same way, our body will start signaling us through various signs that it has low levels of amino acids swimming in the system.
The most common symptoms of amino deficiency are:
- A weak immune system that isn’t able to shield us from common illness and viruses
- Loss of antibody production in the blood
- Nausea that may lead to frequent puking
- Dizziness and feeling of lightheadedness
- Water retention that may lead to swelling
If you notice any of these signs then you should urgently do some tests to see if this is due to amino acid deficiency. As a precautionary measure, many healthy people take protein supplements like BCAA to maintain their amino acid levels.
Protein synthesis is a biological process that builds protein in the body. Considering the fact that amino acids come together to form proteins, it is evident that branch chained amino acids will have a crucial role in protein synthesis.
Amongst the three BCAAs, leucine is the one that plays an active part in protein synthesis. Research shows that without high levels of amino acids in the body, protein synthesis does not take place.
How does it improve protein synthesis?
There are two main processes that the BCAA leucine participates in:
- It stimulates protein synthesis
- It inhibits the breakdown of protein
In protein synthesis, the researchers usually refer to leucine as an anabolic stimulator. This is because it is able to open the essential mTOR pathways for the protein production. When the pathway opens, the body gets the message that amino acids are ready to construct the proteins. Then by preventing the deconstruction of protein to get energy during exercise or any physical activity, the BCCA are able to keep the muscle mass consistent.
Therefore, this accelerated protein synthesis is the reason why BCAA supplements are able to help the bodybuilders maintain their well-developed muscles.
Okay, so we have told you the basic info about these helpful chains. However, you might want to know how exactly consuming BCAAs will benefit you.
BCAA benefits that help you understand why they are essential for your workouts:
1. Reduce Fatigue
Athletes, bodybuilders and fitness freaks all claim that drinking BCAA supplements have made them resistant to muscle fatigue. Plus, they feel less prone to a mental exhaustion after a strenuous exercise session.
How do amino acids accomplish this? They do this by consistently supplying the muscle with energy. As a result, your body will be able to endure longer sessions of workouts with lesser muscle fatigue.
2. Improve Performance
Since BCAA consumption makes one less tired, it directly impacts your physical performance. When our body goes through continuous rigorous physical activity, it ends up depleting its energy supply. BCAA supplements counter this process by stimulating insulin secretion that refills your glucose and protein stock.
3. Prevent Muscle Soreness
You can get rid of sore muscles by taking BCAA before and after your workouts. The super supplement has the ability to decrease the level of enzyme secretion of creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase. What do these enzymes do? Without going into a lot of details, we’d just like to address that these enzymes accelerate the process of muscle damage.
This process inhibits your muscle damage that is a major cause for sore muscles.
4. Maximize Muscle Mass. Minimize Body Fat
HOW can BCAA enhance your weight loss efforts?
During your exercise sessions, your body breaks down proteins and fats to get the energy to perform the physical activity at hand. The BCAA preserves the proteins and accelerates the process of burning fats. As a result, you get that lean sculpted body that many dream of.
We know that the branched chain of amino acids has a unique skeletal structure. Furthermore, they also have a different metabolism process than the other amino acids.
How? Well, amino acids are digested in the liver with the help of enzymes and the bile. However, unlike their siblings, these chains of amino acids head straight to the muscles after intake. Consequently, it means that it is the muscles and not the liver that metabolizes these nutrients. This direct connection between the BCCA and muscles mean that your body gets instant energy in a short time.
By now you might be thinking about how exactly the supplement works in our body. Which chemical reactions does it participate in?
The branched chain amino acids work to accelerate:
- Protein synthesis
- Stimulation of insulin
- Production of other non-essential proteins like alanine and glutamine
- Glucose metabolism
- Cell signaling that improve motor coordination
The best part is that their special metabolism process causes all these reactions to occur in the targeted muscles. This is why the optimal time to consume them is before or after your gym sessions.
Are you thinking about taking bcaa dietary supplement?
BCAA supplements are available in pill and powder forms. Many people take the latter by including them in juices and protein shakes.
Your BCAA intake wholly depends on what you want out of it. The amount may vary according to your goals and needs. Furthermore, your gender and body weight are also variables that you must look into before taking the supplement.
According to a recent study, on an average, a person must take 65mg of BCAA per pound. While bodybuilders and sportsmen should take:
- 3 grams pre, during and post-workout sessions if they weigh 150 lbs. or less
- 5 grams pre, during and post-workout sessions if they weigh more than 150 lbs.
Since women and men are anatomically different, there is a slight variation in their doses.
- Women must take minimum 9 grams
- Men must take a minimum of 12 grams
If you are looking for a heavier dose then we suggest that you consult the doctor first.
What else? Like with most drugs, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need to avoid using this supplement.
Most people may wonder if BCAA has any natural food sources. The answer is yes, it is available in protein-rich meat and greens.
According to medical experts, on an average day, women must eat 46 grams of protein and men should have 56 grams. This is the required amount of protein nutrients for your normal body functions.
Where do they get this protein?
Here is a list of Branched Chain Amino Acid food sources:
- Lean cuts of meat
- All raw dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese
What about the vegans and vegetarians?
They can get their daily intake of protein from:
- Organic beans
Is this enough? Yes, for a person who doesn’t participate in any extra physical activity these food sources are enough to neutralize amino deficiency.
However, bodybuilders and athletes must take BCAA supplements because they need more protein than the average person.
Why do you exercise? The primary reason you exercise is to lose weight and be muscular.
A regular dosage of this bodybuilding pre-workout supplement offers just that. Not only will you be able to see the results through a well-sculpted, six-pack body. You will also be able to feel them in the way you perform in the gym or out on the field.
Fitness gurus claim that this supplement gets you closer to your fitness goals. It makes runners run faster, weightlifting easier and exercising less stressful.
Branch chain amino acids are probably the safest over-the-counter supplement available on the market. It might be due to the fact that they are some of the essential nutrients for our body.
Does that mean no side effects? Well, kind of.
The most likely consequence of BCAA is:
- Loss of coordination
- Slow motor skills
These side effects occur due to the rise in ammonia levels in the plasma. Hence, medical experts advise users to take the supplement in moderation. The high dosage or long-term use might be harmful to the body and cause a loss of muscle coordination.
Other than that, the drug is safe to use by healthy adults.
So, are you ready to become a lean, mean muscle machine?
- Combination of bcca and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor suppresses the cumulative recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma: a randomized control trial.
- A multi-nutrient supplement reduced markers of inflammation and improved physical performance in active individuals of middle to older age: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
- The total bcca requirement in young healthy adult men determined by indicator amino acid oxidation by use of L-[1-13C]phenylalanine.
- New therapeutic strategy for amino acid medicine: notable functions of branched chain amino acids as biological regulators.
- Regulation of the branched-chain alpha-ketoacid dehydrogenase and elucidation of a molecular basis for maple syrup urine disease.
- Neutral amino acid transport at the human blood-brain barrier.
- Selective expression of the large neutral amino acid transporter at the blood-brain barrier.
- Amino acid transporters and nutrient-sensing mechanisms: new targets for treating insulin-linked disorders?
- Combination of branched-chain amino acid and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor improves liver fibrosis progression in patients with cirrhosis.
- Effect of protein ingestion on splanchnic and leg metabolism in normal man and in patients with diabetes mellitus.
- Substrate turnover during prolonged exercise in man. Splanchnic and leg metabolism of glucose, free fatty acids, and amino acids.
- Purification and properties of the catalytic subunit of the branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase phosphatase from bovine kidney mitochondria.
- Branched-chain amino acid metabolism.
- Exercise training increases branched-chain oxoacid dehydrogenase kinase content in human skeletal muscle.
- Suppression of glycogen consumption during acute exercise by dietary branched-chain amino acids in rats.