If you’ve ever seen someone in the gym throwing back a bottle of brightly coloured water between sets, chances are they are consuming Branch Chain Amino Acids.
BCAA’s are quickly becoming the must have supplement in every gym bag and we are going to delve into exactly why that is.
More research is coming out about the increasingly popular supplement than ever before and it is moving away from its image of only being for hardcore bodybuilders and making its way into the online shopping orders of everyday gym goers and fitness enthusiasts, and for good reason.
What exactly are BCAA’s?
Branch chain amino acids are composed of the three essential amino acids, Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine. They are regarded as essential because our bodies can’t produce them naturally and therefore must be obtained through our diet.
BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue, boosting their recovery and repair after strenuous physical activity.
Unlike other amino acids, BCAA’s aren’t processed within the liver, but instead sent directly into your bloodstream, and therefore, straight to your muscle cells, helping further prevent muscle breakdown and promoting muscle protein synthesis.
When to take for optimal results
A BCAA supplement can be consumed at any time of time to reap its rewards, but we suggest taking them throughout your workout, allowing you to get the most of out their performance boosting properties, for the reasons below.
#1 Reduced fatigue
As you exercise and progress through your workout, your body will break down amino acids that are already in your system.
This breakdown leads to the production of another amino acid called Tryptophan which is then converted into Serotonin. It is this increase in Serotonin that results in you feeling fatigued. (1)
However, it has been shown that the consumption of BCAA’s can help fight of feeling of fatigue and improve mental performance, allowing n you to push harder for longer.
#2 Prevent DOMS
DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is the sensation of muscle pain and stiffness often felt the days following intense physical activity, caused by micro tears in the muscle tissue.
Its been shown that the inclusion of BCAAS intra workout can help prevent or dampen the effects of DOMS by reducing muscle breakdown during exercise. (3)
#3 Prevent Muscle wastage
Our bodies are constantly in a state of breaking down and producing muscle proteins. Your muscles will start to waste or breakdown when the level of protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein production aka. protein synthesis.
By consuming BCAA’s you can prevent this imbalance from occurring and avoid your muscles from going into the catabolic state of muscle loss (4)
#4 Avoid Crashes
Supplementing with BCAA’s can also be beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight. Not only will they help preserve muscle mass in a calorie deficit for the reasons above but with their ability to maintain blood glucose levels, you are less likely to have crashes when dieting that can lead to hunger and cravings. (5)
Method of Consumption
However you want to take your BCAA’s, here at TPW we have an option suitable for everyone.
Great for sipping on during your workout giving you a constant stream of BCAA’s when you need them most. Our BCAA powder is intsantised, meaning it dissolves effortlessly in your water for clump free refreshment and are available in a range of different flavours to keep your taste buds excited
Our tablet form of BCAA’s go through he most vigorous of testing to ensure they are worthy of the TPW seal of approval.
Each tablet of BCCA Complex and BCAA Ultra 5:1:1 contains 1000mg of the branched chain amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine in a ratio of 2:1:1 or 5:1:1, respectively, to meet your training needs and deliver optimal results.
As mentioned earlier, we need to consume branch chain amino acids through our diet, with foods and supplementation. Most foods high in BCAA’s however are meat and dairy based, making them an unsuitable option for Vegans.
Our new Vegan BCAA therefore is an ideal alternative and a gym bag must have for any Vegan, vegetarian or people with a dairy intolerance, to keep their levels of amino acids topped up and keeping your body fuelled for your next workout, ready to build muscle.
- Meeusen R, Watson P, Hasegawa H, Roelands B, Piacentini MF. Central fatigue: the serotonin hypothesis and beyond. Sports Med. 2006;36(10)
- Portier, H., Chatard, J. C., Filaire, E., Jaunet-Devienne, M. F., Robert, A., & Guezennec, C. Y. (2008). Effects of branched-chain amino acids supplementation on physiological and psychological performance during an offshore sailing race. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 104(5)
- MacLean DA, Graham TE, Saltin B. Branched-chain amino acids augment ammonia metabolism while attenuating protein breakdown during exercise. Am J Physiol. 1994;267(6 Pt 1)
- Louard RJ, Barrett EJ, Gelfand RA. Effect of infused branched-chain amino acids on muscle and whole-body amino acid metabolism in man. Clin Sci (Lond). 1990;79(5)
- Layman DK. The role of leucine in weight loss diets and glucose homeostasis. J Nutr 2003;133:261S-267S