What Are BCAA’s?
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce naturally, meaning we must get them from our food/dietary supplementation. Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are the 3 amino acids that are considered to be the BCAA’s. These three amino acids are delivered into your muscles through your bloodstream to be further metabolized. Once in your muscles, these amino acids stimulate protein synthesis, which means the creation of proteins. This process rebuilds and repairs muscles and tissues.
Functions of BCAA’s
BCAA’s can serve many different purposes in the human body and within the cellular tissue, as BCAA’s compose 30-40% of the essential amino acids that make up muscle tissues. It is important that we have an adequate amount of BCAA’s in our diet and supplementation.
Some functions of BCAA’s are:
- Prevent muscle proteins from breaking down.
- Used as an efficient energy source during exercise.
- Can also reduce both markers of damage as well as Delayed-Onset-Muscle Soreness (DOMS)*.
Studies report that continuously drinking BCAA’s either pre, during or after exercise, the concentration of BCAA’s in your bloodstream increase. This brings many benefits, such as efficient energy source during exercise and suppressed lactic Acid/DOMS* production for improved endurance.
*Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise.
Are BCAA’s necessary to supplement?
If you are someone who is trying to enhance protein synthesis, muscle recovery, as well as help, minimize muscle breakdown, BCAA’s will help you out in that regard. BCAA’s won't be the biggest factor in muscle growth specifically but will aid in speeding up recovery and help to enhance performance. Here are a few scientific benefits of taking BCAA’s.
- Muscle damage develops delayed onset muscle soreness: a syndrome that occurs 24-48h after intensive physical activity that can inhibit athletic performance. Other recent works indicate that BCAA supplementation recovers peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation in response to mitogens after a long distance intense exercise, as well as plasma glutamine concentration. BCAA’s also modify the pattern of exercise-related cytokine production, leading to a diversion of the lymphocyte immune response towards a Th1 type. According to these findings, it is possible to consider the BCAA’s as a useful supplement for muscle recovery and immune regulation for sporting events.
- Chronic BCAA supplementation improves sprint performance variables in endurance cyclists. Additionally, given that BCAA supplementation blunted the neutrophil response to intense cycling training, BCAAs may benefit immune function during a prolonged cycling season.
- This randomized crossover study examined whether (EAA/BCAA) supplementation with 2 different concentrations of leucine affected post-steady state exercise MPS, whole-body protein turnover, and mammalian target of kanamycin 1 (mTORC1) intracellular signaling. The effects of essential amino acid (EAA/BCAA) supplementation during moderate steady state (ie, endurance) exercise and post exercise skeletal muscle metabolism. The findings suggest that increasing the concentration of Leucine in an EAA supplement consumed during steady state exercise elicits a greater MPS response during recovery.
- Data suggests that BCAA supplementation results in significantly greater muscle NH3 production during exercise. Furthermore, the increased intramuscular and arterial BCAA levels before and during exercise result in a suppression of endogenous muscle protein breakdown during exercise.
What to look for when buying a BCAA
When buying BCAA’s make sure you look at the nutritional label and choose a product that has a 2:1:1 Leucine, Iso-leucine, and Valine ratio or higher. Ex. 2.5g Leucine, 1.25g Iso-leucine, and 1.25g Valine.
If you are an athlete who is geared toward more endurance sports, you would want to look for a BCAA formula mix with Electrolytes or Beta–Alanine 3.2g as an additive. This will help with lactic acid buffering as well as replenishing electrolytes lost during exercise.
For someone who is looking to improve their recovery as well as an output of energy for lifting weights, find the highest BCAA dose paired with Glutamine. Ex. 5g Leucine, 5g Glutamine. The Glutamine will help with post-workout soreness (DOMS).
BCAA’s come in a wide variety of flavours and sizes so be sure to choose something you wouldn’t mind drinking day after day while training. It is key to examine the label to ensure you are getting the best BCAA for your specific needs and goals.
The difference in BCAA and EAA
BCAA: There are three Branched-chain amino acids, namely Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAA’s are considered to be essential amino acids as they cannot be synthesized by the body and must, therefore, be obtained from food or supplementation.
EAA: There are 9 total EAA’s that our body cannot produce so we need to supplement them or get them from food. Within these 9 EAA’s we have the 3 BCAA’s.
Essential Amino Acids
- Isoleucine *
Dietary supplementation of essential amino acids (EAAs) has been shown to promote health span. EAAs regulate glucose and lipid metabolism and energy balance, increase mitochondrial biogenesis, and maintain immune homeostasis.
BCAA’s trigger protein synthesis and inhibit the breakdown of muscle cells. This is really enhanced for individuals who lack a healthy, well-balanced diet. BCAA’s can give you the added benefit of helping your body to stay in a more anabolic state while training fastest. In healthy individuals with a well-rounded diet, BCAA’s aid in glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity, which are both important factors in maintaining an overall healthy body and lean muscle tissue.
Supplementing with BCAA’s is an easy way to test your endurance performance limits by helping your body burn fuel more efficiently. By taking BCAA’s daily or during your workouts you will be able to:
- Decrease muscle soreness.
- Accelerate cell recovery.
- Train longer, more frequently and harder.
- Prevent catabolism in fastest states.
- Help with protein synthesis.
This can improve performance and increase strength. BCAA supplementation is a no-brainer when it comes to supporting performance in long-duration endurance sports, as they protect the muscle and aid in providing the body with an added fuel source. Although supplementing with BCAA’s is not necessarily needed in order to survive, they do promote many benefits that may help you to perform better, and live a healthier life.
When shopping at Platinum Supplements, we will evaluate each individual client to their specific goals. Once the evaluation has been done we will pick the accurate supplements solely based on your goals. This allows us to not waste money or time by picking the right products for the individual. We hope this short and brief blog has answered some of your questions on the benefits of Branched Chain Amino Acids and supplementing with BCAA’s.
For more information about BCAA’s, nutrition, training, and supplementation visit us in-store or contact us via Facebook, Instagram or give us a call!