Branch Chain Amino Acids, what are they? and how do they benefit you?
A branch chain amino acid is an amino acid having aliphatic side-chains with a branch.
There are three BCAAs Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine:
- Leucine is an essential amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins.
- Isoleucine is an essential branch chain aniphatic amino acid and is important in hemoglobin synthesis and regulation of blood sugar and energy levels.
- Valine is a branched-chain essential amino acid it promotes muscle growth and tissue repair.
These three aminos are essential as the body is unable to make them out of other amino acids so they have to be ingested through food or supplements.
With these brief explanations we can already see the benefits that bcaa's will give us if we take it during or even after various forms of exercise.
How will they benefit you:
- As mentioned bcaa help with protein synthesis and combining it with resistance training will aid with muscle building and recovery.
- While bcaa help with recovery they also help minimize muscle loss as they still trigger protein sythesis without exercise so they are perfect when you are trying to recover from an injury.
- Recent studies also show bcaa can help with fat loss and people with higher bcaa intake in their diets have less body fat and more muscle
- Bcaa's will benefit you if you are doing resistance training or endurance training. As studies reveal that 4g of leucine a day can greatly increase strength levels and reduce fatigue as they help preserve muscle glycogen stores, which keep your body from breaking down muscle protein for energy.
- Bcaa can be burned as energy to maintain ATP energy levels during glycogen depleting exercise and can prevent muscle loss during ultra endurance excercise
So in a nutshell bcaa will help build muscle, reduce muscle breakdown, prolong exercise capacity and spike muscle protein synthesis.
Yes if you are taking a protein shake it will have these 3 essential aminos in it but that does not mean you won’t benefit by adding bcaa's to your current supplement intake especially having them during or after your workout, as we all know timing your nutrient intake is key to how it can best benefit any diet.