Branched_chain_aa

Understanding Supplements-BCAA’s

Posted on by in Nutrition

BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids and is increasingly being recognized as an important supplement in the field of sports nutrition. In short the term refers to three essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine.

Amino acids are widely known as the building blocks of protein. When protein food is eaten it gets digested into individual amino acids and short chains of amino acids that are sufficiently small to be absorbed into the bloodstream. They are then used by the body to build and repair tissues amongst other things.

Amino acids are split between those classed as essential and those labelled non-essential. This simply means that essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, whereas non-essential amino acids can. There are nine essential amino acids and each must be obtained from the diet. The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Non-essential amino acids are just as important as the essential variety and the term simply means they can be made by the body from vitamins and other amino acids. The non-essential amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, cystine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine.

The BCAA’s are especially important to athletes because they are metabolized in the muscle rather than the liver. This means that they can be used either to build new proteins or be burned as fuel to create energy. Supplementing with BCAA’s has been shown to result in measurable gains in both muscle strength and size. Taken before a workout BCAA’s can improve performance and delay the onset of fatigue. They also operate as anabolic agents allowing the body to burn fat and not muscle.

BCAAs and Muscle Growth.

Generally, after a session of resistance training the body is in a catabolic (the breaking down of muscle tissue) state, with a protein synthesis deficit. This is because post exercise the MAPK signaling pathway (the body’s own way to signal muscle growth) is activated. While this is a pathway that will increase protein synthesis, it is not as effective as when combined with the BCAA signaling cascade.

The two pathways act independent of each other. Because of this, when adequate amounts of BCAAs are ingested post workout (usually in the form of a post-workout drink) the body is placed in a greater state of hypertrophy with a positive amount of protein synthesis. This is extremely important for athletes because it will decrease recovery time as it increases the rate at which lean body mass is gained.

Are BCAAs found in food?
Yes. BCAAs are found in protein-rich foods. The higher the quality of the protein source, the higher amount of BCAAs. Out of all the protein sources whey protein has the best BCAA content.

Are BCAA supplements safe to use?
Studies have shown that supplemental intake of the BCAAs in the range of 5-20 grams per day in tablet form and 1 to 7 grams per litre in liquid form with no adverse side effects. Higher intakes should be avoided due to the possibility of competitive inhibition of the absorption of other amino acids from the diet and the risk of gastrointestinal distress.

As a supplement that has no reported side effects, branched chain amino acids offer many benefits to the serious bodybuilder.

-David

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26 Responses to “Understanding Supplements-BCAA’s”

  1. Walter

    22. Jul, 2011

    I really appreciate what you post. You have a new subscriber now!

  2. Henry Cho

    21. Oct, 2011

    Theres too many damn vitamins to chose from

  3. Tiffani

    24. Oct, 2011

    Good post. Its realy good. The info help me quite a bit

    • Justus

      01. Jun, 2012

      I want to send you an award for most helupfl internet writer.

  4. Eli Flores

    29. Oct, 2011

    Getting your dose of good vitamins is one of the key factors to living a healthy life and achieving your fitness goals. For me, branched chain amino acids have always proven to be extremely beneficial and effective

  5. Chris

    30. Oct, 2011

    Hey, I saw your tweet and liked the post.. Nice work, I read that you’re new to blogging.. Keep it up because it seems like you know what your talking about..
    Cheers

  6. Justin Pearce

    09. Nov, 2011

    “Generally, after a session of resistance training the body is in a catabolic (the breaking down of muscle tissue) state, with a protein synthesis deficit. This is because post exercise the MAPK signaling pathway (the body’s own way to signal muscle growth) is activated. While this is a pathway that will increase protein synthesis, it is not as effective as when combined with the BCAA signaling cascade.” Uh oh somebody went to college lol
    JP

  7. Francis

    17. May, 2012

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick shout out, I am a new reader and love your posts. I cant wait to see what workouts you suggest

    • David McCready

      17. May, 2012

      Thanks for the feedback Francis

  8. Donielle

    19. May, 2012

    I have a feeling that this is going to be one of the top fitness blogs pretty soon!

    • David McCready

      19. May, 2012

      I appreciate your kind words Donielle! And I have the same feeling ;)
      Cheers!

  9. Anton Zucco

    20. May, 2012

    Hello thanks for this very good article.

  10. Raymond

    25. May, 2012

    This website could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its niche. Great blog!

    • David McCready

      28. May, 2012

      Thanks Raymond, I appreciate it!
      -David

  11. Saka

    31. May, 2012

    Excellent post. Very Helpful. Thank you!

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    03. Oct, 2012

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  13. Troy Zboral

    24. Dec, 2012

    Voice of America (blog)

  14. Optimum Nutrition

    30. Mar, 2013

    Couldn’t agree more, good read

    • David McCready

      30. Mar, 2013

      Thanks for the the feedback

  15. Elisabeth

    16. Apr, 2013

    Very nice blog post. I definitely appreciate this site.
    Keep writing!

  16. David McCready

    16. May, 2012

    Thanks Omar, I must say I have been around the block but I learn something new pertaining to fitness each and everyday.

  17. David McCready

    16. May, 2012

    Glad to hear it, make sure you subscribe and get your free report!

  18. David McCready

    17. May, 2012

    Thanks Heather.. I’ve got your meat-head right here =D

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Alfonso - 14. May, 2012

    Bookmarked!! I really like your site!

  2. Omar - 15. May, 2012

    Just dropping a line to say I appreciate you posts and you clearly have an unerstanding of BCAAs

  3. Heather - 16. May, 2012

    Great article boo! looks like you can still write pretty good for beaing a meat-head lol XxXo