“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Robin
What are BCAAs?
Branched chain amino acids (or “BCAAs” for short) are one of the most powerful weapons in defending your body. This group of three essential amino acids – valine,leucine, and isoleucine – are known to possess both anabolic and anti-catabolic properties.
BCAAs make up 40 percent of the daily requirement of all 9 essential amino acids which indicates its importance to your body.
Benefits of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Because BCAAs simplify the job of converting each amino acid into energy during intense exertion, supplemental BCAAS are very beneficial for athletes. They make up approximately 35 percent of all muscle tissue and the more they are present, the slower the breakdown of muscle cells.
BCAAs may be beneficial to you in the following ways:
- enhances muscle protein synthesis
- elevates and prolongs protein synthesis in both young and old
- increases support for fat loss
- balances hormone levels during intense training
- improves strength development during training
- enhances endurance performance
- decreases fatigue during training
- decreases muscle soreness during frequent training
- prevents muscle loss during long periods of exercise
BCAAs are also found in foods containing protein. Highest concentrations are found in beef, chicken, salmon, eggs, and whey protein.
BCAAs can be taken at different times of the day for different benefits. Five to 10 grams per serving can be taken as follows:
- Morning Meal – acts as a great addition to breakfast (especially with a protein shake) as the catabolic overnight fasting state will be turned into an anabolic environment for your muscles.
- Pre-Workout Meal – stimulates the nutritive muscle blood flow in addition to exhibiting anabolic and anti-catabolic properties.
- Post-Workout Meal – assists with recovery from workout as this is the time muscles are most responsive to protein supplementation.
- Before Bedtime Meal – protects the body from the upcoming catabolic fasting state.
Side Effects of BCAAs
For most adults, BCAAs are safe. Please be aware that loading excess BCAAs may deplete brain tryptophan and tyrosine concentrations. Special precautions should be taken by pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as children. Those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), branched-chain keto-aciduria, chronic alcoholism, and diabetics should also talk to their physician before taking BCAAs. Stop using BCAAs at least two weeks prior to scheduled surgery as it may interfere with blood sugar levels during and after surgery. As with all supplementation, you may want to consult with your physician before taking. If you are on prescription medication or have any major illnesses, please check with your doctor first.