BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acids)

Do you want to gain muscle mass? In that case, you may be interested in learning more about the BCAA's or branched amino acids, which are the most important amino acids to gain muscle.

BCAA's

Table of contents

What are the BCAA's?

They are made up by 3 amino acids:

  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Valine

They belong to the so called essential amino acids and we need to obtain them from the diet or supplementation, since the body is unable to produce them.

It is very important to take these three BCAA's at the same time. This is the only way to successfully enhance our ability to gain muscle and to obtain energy during the workout.

Branched chain amino acids also stimulate the release of insulin, which speeds up their transport to the muscle cells. Particularly, leucine can also be used as a source of energy when there is a lack of carbohydrates and fat.

What is the purpose of Branched-Chain Amino Acids?

Branched-chain amino acids are used to form protein molecules in the organism. In turn, protein is the substance that makes up the muscles. Branched chain amino acids, or BCAA's, are broken down during the digestion and absorbed by the intestine. Then, they are immediately ready to perform muscle growth processes.

The branched-chain amino acids are made up by three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids cannot be produced by the body, so we have to obtain them from food or supplementation.

The BCAA's are directly absorbed by the intestine, without being metabolized in the liver. Then, they are transported to the cells through the bloodstream to build more muscle mass. A second important function consists of stimulating the release of insulin.

Insulin improves the amino acid transport, which is particularly important when performing a physical effort, since it allows to regenerate the lost muscle tissue more quickly. Leucine also provides energy in emergency situations.

Who can benefit from taking BCAA's?

  • Athletes who practice strength and endurance sports
  • People who suffer muscle weakness
  • To prevent the deterioration or loss of muscle mass
  • To prevent a protein deficiency in the diet
  • To follow a balanced diet, in the case of vegetarians or vegans

What are the sources of BCAA's?

The three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are mainly together in meat and dairy products. Athletes who practice endurance or high-performance sports or bodybuilding need to take BCAA's, and it is advisable that they do so through dietary supplements.

Why should I take BCAA's?

If the body does not have enough branched-chain amino acids, we will experience the following symptoms:

  • Less strength and worse physical performance

This deficiency can be easily fixed by taking BCAA supplements.

When is the best to take them?

  • The body consumes more energy in physically and mentally stressful situations, so an amino acid supply is necessary to recover properly.
  • They should be taken as soon as possible when we are going to do physical exercise. Vegetarians and vegans should buy BCAA dietary supplements since the main products that have branched chain amino acids are meat and dairy products.

Take BCAA's before/after the workout to preserve and/or regenerate the muscle tissue. They improve the sport performance and help to develop the muscle mass.

Dose of BCAA's

Several studies have proven that taking 4-8g of BCAA's before the workout and 4-8 grams afterwards helps to stimulate the muscle growth processes.

Do they have some kind of side effects?

There are no known side effects or interactions caused by the BCAA's.

What do the experts think?

According to the experts, taking BCAA's is advisable when we perform activities that involve a physical or mental overexertion.

Moreover, it is also advisable for vegetarians, vegans and those who follow a special diet.

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