When life gives lemons, instead of preparing lemonade, why not ask for something rich in Proteins?
Proteins are the chain of amino acids that help in optimum muscle growth. They play a major role in building, repairing and even in maintaining the muscle tissue. The amino acids present in proteins are of 20 types, of which 9 are essential amino acids and in these essential acids, there is a key trio that helps in maintaining the muscle: Leucine, valine, and isoleucine. Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAA) is all about this trio!
If you are serious about your fitness game, you have most probably, came across this four-word term – Branched-Chain Amino Acid (BCAA). It is remarkably popular among the bodybuilding fraternity and athletic population for all the good reasons. But if you are oblivious to this supplement, we have got you covered! There are many reasons why this supplement has been researched and its regular use is supported more than any other supplements in the market. So, here is what you need to know before you pop a BCAA supplement into your mouth.
Before digging deep into BCAA, there is something you need to be aware of. Aforementioned, BCAA is made up of three types of essential amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. Among these, Leucine is the muscle-building powerhouse. It is a star player which regulates the genetic signaling pathways that leads to the synthesis of protein. That is the exact reason why good quality BCAA supplements are generally rich in leucine and have a higher ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine amino acids (generally the ratio is considered as 2:1:1). A typical daily dose of BCAA includes 5 g of leucine, 4 g of valine and 2 g of isoleucine. As a matter of fact, Branched-Chain Amino Acids are the largest collection of the amino acids in the human body.
They account for up to 35% of muscle proteins and 40% of the total amino acids required by our body. Now, let us look into why the body needs BCAA supplementation.
- BCAA supplementation fuels your skeletal muscles during training. This helps you in gaining the edge you need to push your limits. BCAAs are also useful in maintaining the muscle mass even while you are on a calorie-deficit diet.
- Glycogen is the primary fuel that is used by your body to generate energy. It helps you in building strength and reducing the fatigue. BCAA, the bulking supplement, preserves the stores of glycogen. It provides a reliable energy source to tap into, while you are sweating out the work. It also protects your muscle protein from breaking down even if dieting is on cards.
- Dieting gets rid of extra weight, but do you know it might shave some size from your biceps too? Although dieting cuts down the fab and makes you look awesome onstage, on the beach and attract jealous looks from your friends, it can take a chunk out of your muscle mass for the production of energy. BCAAs play role in stopping the muscle wasting, protecting muscle proteins and muscle mass against the catabolic effect caused by dieting. These are the reasons why taking BCAA supplements are as important as working out. In a nutshell, BCAA supplements are a win-win for the muscles. They protect them, sustain them and safeguard them.
Along with pre-workout benefits of Branched-Chain Amino Acids, there are a few post-workout benefits too.
- BCAA decreases muscle soreness. The soreness developed in the muscles after 12 hours to 24 hours of workout is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). BCAAs, along with decreasing protein breakdown during the workout, decreases muscle damage caused during the exercise. This helps in reducing the severity and length of DOMS and reduces muscle soreness.
- BCAAs are known to reduce exercise fatigue. Commitment to workout is not a walk in the park. Workout gives you a well-built body but at the same time, the tiredness and fatigue too (especially if you are a newcomer in bodybuilder or fitness community). Who comes to your rescue? It is the BCAAs. These supplements decrease the muscle soreness from exercise and also help reduce the exercise-induced fatigue.
- BCAAs helps in treating the population with liver problems too. It improves the health of people suffering from chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis. As Cirrhosis get severe, it could turn into Hepatic encephalopathy. BCAA benefits people suffering from this disease too.
Myths and Facts:
BCAA is in limelight due to its mounting effects about for and against its benefits. At the same time, it has myths and facts revolving around it too.
- Myth: BCAA is better than whey protein to maximise muscle protein synthesis.
Fact: Research proves that chugging just BCAA without partnering it with any sufficiently dosed, good quality protein source, could be inferior to ingesting a nominal dose of whey proteins.
- Myth: BCAA are pointless since you can get sufficient BCAA through food sources.
Fact: The proteins in the food you eat need to be processed to certain degree to raise plasma amino acid levels unlike BCAA. BCAA supplements provide rapid elevation of plasma amino acid levels.
- Myth: BCAA is calorie-free.
Fact: Amino acids provide as much energy per gram as proteins (4 cal/g). BCAA, being a bunch of amino acids, provides the same energy as any proteins. To say the least, every 5000 mg of BCAA blend could offer 20 calories per serving.
- Myth: Drinking BCAA during the fasting period increases the muscle protein synthesis.
Fact: Muscle building is the work of all the essential amino acids. So, consuming BCAA during fasting period will not magically boost your muscle building process.
Whether you are working out to lose your weight or for gaining those bulky muscles, supplementing your body with BCAA can do wonders. They can make your gym workout more effective too and cut down post-workout fatigue. So, instead of counting on the supplements which are on short end, start using BCAAs and experience its power!