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BCAAs is an acronym for branched-chain amino acids which compromise three essential amino acids i.e. valine, isoleucine, and leucine. These are particularly essential because the body cannot make them from any other compounds within the body but they have to be ingested through food or supplements.
BCAAs make up 40% of the daily requirement of amino acids making them important for a healthier lifestyle, particularly for exercise and fat loss. They are found in protein foods such as beef, chicken, salmon, whey protein and eggs. BCAAs supplements are ideal for athletes because, upon consumption, they go straight into the bloodstream bypassing the liver and gut tissue.
BCAAs, as the name suggests, has a branched side chain that makes the job of synthesising each amino acid into energy during intense workouts much simpler. A higher content level of BCAAs produces higher muscle gains and slows down the breakdown of muscle cells.
Benefits of BCAAs
Studies have shown that a high BCAA content combined with a sufficient total protein intake produces the highest increases in muscle while training. BCAA supplements, when used during workouts, reduces muscle soreness, improve fat usage for energy, accelerate recovery and reduces fatigue. Additional benefits include:
1. Better Muscle Protein Synthesis
BCAAs are ideally suited for triggering protein synthesis and when combined with resistance training results in maximum protein synthesis which is essential for building muscle. During training, muscles burn BCAAs for energy.
In addition, when inactive due to either an injury or otherwise, BCAAs help to minimise muscle loss. Even while inactive, BCAAs still trigger protein synthesis which helps to keep metabolism up and preserve lean muscle tissue and help reduce fat gain.
2. Older people can also build muscle
Typically as you age, it becomes harder to build muscle because once you hit 35, protein synthesis activation is impaired. This condition together with reduced dietary protein content contributes to sarcopenia and muscle loss.
BCAAs supplements which are leucine-enriched have been shown to increase and extend protein synthesis in older people and with resistance training are able to put on muscle.
3. BCAAs help reduce fat loss
Studies have shown that people who incorporate more BCAAs content in their diet have more muscle, less body fat and better body composition. People who have a higher BCAAs intake have a significantly lower chance of becoming overweight than those who have a lower BCAA content.
The amino acid leucine is credited with body leanness. Leucine helps in fat oxidation and increase energy expenditure while isoleucine improves glucose tolerance. A higher mobilisation of fat facilitates a more flexible metabolism which enables fat loss through diet and exercise.
4. Decreases muscle soreness
BCAAs have shown that they reduce muscle soreness and accelerate recovery after strength training both in trained and untrained individuals. BCAAs supplements when used after workouts help preserve muscle fibre integrity and reduce the effects of muscle soreness. You can, therefore, train and exercise more frequently at a higher intensity.
So what do you have to lose? Give BCAAs a try and start smashing your workouts. Our favourite BCAA’s can be found here