THE BENEFITS OF BCAA
The BCAAs are made up of three essential amino, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are essential because the body is unable to make them out of other amino acids, meaning they must be ingested through food or supplements. The BCAAs make up 40 percent of the daily requirement of all nine essential amino acids, indicating their importance
The BCAAs are found in foods containing protein, with the highest concentrations in chicken, beef, salmon, eggs, and whey protein. They can also be supplemented, which can be useful for athletes because free form BCAAs bypass the liver and gut tissue and go directly to the blood stream.
As their name suggests, BCAAs have a branched side chain that simplifies the job of converting each amino acid into energy during intense exertion. They make up about 35 percent of all muscle tissue. The more BCAAs that are present in the muscles, the more they will be used for energy, slowing the breakdown of muscles cells and preventing muscle loss
The 5 Main Benefits of BCAA
The advantages of supplementing with BCAA are pretty incredible. From fat loss, to muscle gain, to mental sharpness — these aminos are extremely popular in the world of professional athletes and bodybuilders due to their impressive performance
Here are some of their key benefits:
ENHANCED MUSCLE GROWTH
BCAAs enhance muscle growth in 3 ways: (1) They give you the energy and endurance to train harder and longer for increased muscle gain. (2) They decrease muscle soreness and recovery time needed, so you are not only able to train harder and longer, but also more often. (3) The supplements boost your levels of the anabolic (a.k.a. “muscle building”) hormones testosterone, insulin, and growth hormone (GH) — giving your body an increased ability to build muscle
REDUCED MUSCLE LOSS
As I said above, BCAAs increase muscle-building anabolic hormone levels. They also REDUCE the catabolic hormone Cortisol, which — adversely — breaks down muscle tissue. Increased anabolic hormones, and decreased catabolic hormone, means your body can keep more of the muscle you build without breaking it down to use it as energy.
INCREASED FAT LOSS
Speaking of energy, let’s talk fat loss. BCAAs have demonstrated the ability to simultaneously reduce fat and grow muscle. They do this through a process known as “nutrient partitioning”, during which BCAAs steal energy from fat cells and give it to undernourished muscle tissue. In other words, think of BCAAs as a tiny army dedicated to protecting your muscle tissue. During times of caloric reduction — when your body needs energy, like during a workout — they shield your body from breaking down your muscles for energy, and instead tell your body to burn your fat in order to feed your muscles. Pretty slick, huh? In addition, BCAA — particularly Leucine — signals the brain to decrease
IMPROVED ENDURANCE & CONCENTRATION
When you exercise, the hormone “serotonin” tells your brain that you are fatigued. However, when you supplement with BCAA, Valine — one of the 3 amino acids of which BCAA is comprised — fights with serotonin for entry to the brain, thus delaying it from delivering its message that your are fatigued. This allows you to exercise longer without feeling exhausted or weak. But what about mental fatigue? BCAAs work to combat that, as well. However, this time the levels of exercise-induced 5-HT are reduced in the brain, keeping you mentally sharper. For this reason, many people consume BCAAs at the office throughout the day for mental alertness.
DECREASED MUSCLE SORENESS & RECOVERY TIME
BCAA enhances not only muscle growth, but also muscle repair — getting you back to the gym faster. Their ability to decrease muscle damage during exercise can lead to reduced muscle soreness.