BCAA´s (branched chain amino acids) are Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine, which form a third of the total amino acids that make up the muscle. They are called essential because the body does not synthesize them on its own and they must therefore be obtained through the diet.
Principal functions of BCAA´s:
- They have an anti-catabolic function. Amino acids form part of the muscle, and are also destroyed when we practice sport. Taking BCAAs will help your body to recover after exercise, quickly rebuilding those proteins that were damaged following same. They reduce muscle degradation and the release of enzymes promoting a hormonal environment favourable to muscle regeneration. The BCAA´s will reduce protein degradation and thereby lead to greater muscle gain.
- Prevention of fatigue: a lack of BCAA´s in the blood during lengthy exercise alters the relation between the BCAA´s and the tryptophan thereby causing the entry of the latter into the brain. This translate into a higher level of formation of the neurotransmitter serotonin which induces sleep and reduces the excitation of neural motors and also the appetite.
- The decline of BCAAs in plasma, during prolonged exercise, alters the tryptophan-BCAA relation, which causes the tryptophan to enter the brain. Increased concentration in the brain promotes the formation of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which induces sleep and reduces excitation of the neuronal motors, and also reduces appetite, thereby reducing performance.