Everything about Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
August 3, 2021
August 3, 2021
Whether you want to sail through your HIIT sessions or lift the heavyweights every day of the week, BCAA is what you need. BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins. Your body needs amino acids to build new muscles and repair the old ones. There are twenty amino acids in total, out of which our body can produce only eleven. The other nine amino acids have to come from our diet or in the form of supplements.
BCAAs are the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, which comprise around 35% of your body’s muscle protein. They are essential because, unlike other amino acids, our body cannot produce them.
BCAAs help to preserve your stores of glycogen, which fuels your muscles during workouts and prevents protein breakdown. They also speed up muscle protein recovery post-workout or training. Leucine is considered the most important one out of the three as it activates and stimulates cell growth.
Research suggests that BCAAs can fight fatigue during exercise so you can go longer and stronger. When your muscles get tired after continuous exercising, BCAAs provide additional energy to your muscles. BCAAs also block tryptophan; a chemical that enters the brain and causes fatigue. BCAAs ensure greater mental focus during exercise.
BCAAs ensure greater output during exercise. It delays fatiguing and exhaustion of muscles. Research shows that 10 weeks of BCAA supplementation (12 g/day) resulted in a 19% increase in all-out sprint peak power and a 4% increase in average power. BCAAs supplementation can improve both aerobic exercise capacity and anaerobic performance.
High volume intense training can lead to fatigue and immune suppression. Research shows that cells in the immune system use BCAAs as fuel to regenerate them efficiently. A strong immune system ensures quick recovery and protects the body from any harmful infections.
High-intensity exercise such as marathons or mountaineering can lead to muscle breakdown. BCAAs preserve muscle mass during high-intensity activities and exercises. BCAAs ensure that the body does not consume its own amino acid (protein) stores.
Leucine, in BCAAs, initiates muscle protein synthesis, which is necessary for muscle building. Dairy products, eggs, fish, and poultry are high in BCAA content.
BCAAs prior to and post-exercise may reduce muscle soreness. BCAAs intake also reduces muscle damage during high-intensity training. It ensures that you recover faster and suffer less muscle soreness during exercise.
BCAA can help you lose weight. BCAA and Leucine help to reduce excess fat and normalize visceral fat.
BCAAs are protein builders. They help to repair and build new muscles in the body. A well-balanced diet contains all the essential amino acids required for muscle building.
BCAAs help in regulating blood sugar levels. They utilise a large portion of blood sugar during workouts and help to regulate it.
Getting BCAAs from food is a great way of providing your body with all the essential nutrients. There are a variety of vegetarian and non – vegetarian sources of BCAAs.
BCAAs are proteins and perform the same function as any other protein in our body. BCAA supplements are mostly for people involved in intense athletic exercises or weight lifting. They need quick protein synthesizers to improve their performance and fasten the recovery process.
BCAA supplements come in pill or powder form. You can consume BCAA with other supplements such as glutamine and creatine. Supplements are a great way to get the required nutrients immediately. However, please note that supplements are often under scrutiny for their harmful ingredients.
Research shows that there is no evidence that amino acids like BCAA when taken in the form of supplements work better than the ones derived from food. BCAA supplements may reduce muscle soreness and enhance your performance in the gym, but a well-balanced diet rich in protein does the same work.
Whole food protein may be better than any supplement. Food not only contains protein but is rich in other essential nutrients as well. Most importantly, you know what you are consuming and are safe from the side effects of the supplements.
If you are meeting your daily protein requirement, there is no need for additional BCAA supplements. However, if you do decide to take BCAA supplements, there are no great side effects of it either. Consult your Nutritionist first; Check the Company, read the label well for its ingredients and Nutritional values before buying your supplement.
Here we are talking about BCAA supplements and their daily dosage. Depending on your workout regime, your daily dosage should be 5-10 grams per day.
Females following a normal gym schedule should stick to 3-5 grams a day. In simple words, you can take BCAA powder once or twice a day. You can take up to 12 grams a day if you are into rigorous training. Divide your intake into 4-5 serves in a day.
The recommended dosage for men can be 15-20 grams in a day. If you are not exercising strenuously, you can stick to it two times a day. If you are an athlete, you can increase your dosage per day to 6-8 serves of 5 gm each.
BCAAs can be taken before, during, or after the workout. BCAAs rapidly increase amino acid levels in our blood, promote protein synthesis and prevent muscle breakdown. When taken before the workout, they provide extra energy to perform and post-workout they help the muscles to recover. You can also take BCAA in between meals if your protein intake through diet is less.
BCAAs are essential for people engaged in high-intensity training or prolonged workouts. You can take BCAAs if you are on a restricted diet and are unable to fulfil your daily protein requirement. 4-10 grams of BCAA dosage is healthy for normal adults even if they do not work out or engage in rigorous physical activities.
If you lead a completely sedentary lifestyle, taking BCAA supplements is not a good choice. Rather, try to take in BCAA from your food. Various vegetarian and non-vegetarian food options are a rich source of BCAAs. There are plenty of benefits of taking BCAAs, but supplements may not be for you. You can derive all the benefits of BCAA supplements from a well-rounded diet as well.
The body can not produce BCAA. So, one can get it from diet or supplements. Its supplements may not be good for people who lead sedentary lifestyles. However, they help reduce muscle soreness during strenuous workouts. Coupled with the right diet, BCAA supplements taken additionally as per prescribed dosage may help protect against muscle damage and speed up muscle recovery.
A. It prevents muscle loss. BCAA helps you to work out longer and therefore, lose more fat without losing muscle mass. Also, it keeps you energetic and reduces sugar and junk food cravings. It increases protein synthesis, which helps you during workouts. It reduces the level of serotonin in the body, which helps to keep focus during training. To sum it up, it is great for gym-goers or people engaged in high-intensity physical activity, as it aids fat loss. Thus, one gets a leaner and toned body faster.
A. 5-12 grams of it is adequate for a sedentary to regular lifestyle need. However, for gym-goers, athletes, or people who are into active cardio workouts, 10-20 grams are required on a daily basis. For the former, a balanced diet can provide the right amount of BCAA. Anything over and above, it is good to add supplements from reputed brands.
A. If it is consumed in large quantities without guidance, it may increase the risk of increased insulin resistance which may lead to type 2 diabetes. Other common side effects are nausea, dehydration, headache, fatigue, and sleeplessness. Studies show that people with liver ailments, kidney disease, heart disease, and who drink excessive amounts of alcohol, can develop complex health risks with BCAA supplements.
A. It is good for everyone. A healthy diet rich in protein provides the daily requirement of BCAA. For people who are engaged in strenuous physical exercise, BCAA supplementation is recommended. It helps to prevent muscle damage, soreness and ensures quick muscle recovery while curbing cravings and increasing energy during a workout session.