11 Jul Five Fitness Reasons to Consider BCAAs
Hey 8 Mile Ninjas,
Come at you this month with some solid info on branch chain amino acids, aka BCAA’s. Some of you have been asking about supplements, what’s worth taking and what isn’t, and BCAA’s always seem to come up in conversation. I’m going to touch base on some key points as to why they are a good supplement to take & hopefully I can clear up any questions any of you might have had.
BCAA’s are Valine, Leucine, and Iso-leucine which make up 1/3 of your muscle. They reduce fatigue, speed recovery, decrease the loss of other amino acids from muscle during exercise and help the body absorb protein. A deficiency in any of these three will result in muscle loss . BCAA’s are found in foods containing protein, with the highest amounts in chicken, beef, salmon, eggs & whey protein. They can also be supplemented in powder form which is useful for us athletes because free form BCAA’s bypass the liver and gut, preventing breakdown, and go right into the bloodstream where they are ready to be used as energy.
Listed below are some of the major key benefits of BCAA’s:
#1- BCAA’s Enhance Muscle Protein Synthesis
BCAA’s are well known for triggering protein production. When you combine BCAAA’s with resistance exercising, you will receive maximal protein synthesis. It has been suggested that muscle is designed to burn BCAA’s for energy during exercise, so supplementing with them will allow you to work harder and for longer amounts of time. Another great benefit is that if you get injured and have to take time off from training, BCAA’s will prevent muscle loss. Because they trigger protein synthesis even in the absence of training. They can preserve lean muscle tissue which keeps up the metabolism and help prevent fat gain when inactive.
#2- BCAA’s Increase Fat Burning
Studies have shown that people with higher amounts of BCAA’s intake have less body fat, more muscle and better body composition, who doesn’t want that?! Research has shown that the BCAA Leucine, is the key BCAA’s for leanness, but only when combined with other BCAA’s. Leucine increases energy output along with fat oxidation which in turn metabolizes fat at a higher rate leaving you to be a lean mean fighting machine (aka NINJA).
#3- Supports Hormone Balance During Training
From my recent posts, you all know how important balanced hormones are by now. BCAA’s support balance, which plays a role in the athletes ability to respond to extreme training loads. One 3 week study showed that athletes taking BCAA’s during intense training sessions, their testosterone levels increased and their cortisol levels decreased and their levels of inflammation were down, compared to the placebo group. Indicating that the first group was responding to the BCAAA’s effectively.
#4- BCAA’s May Improve Strength Training and Enhance Endurance Performance
Evidence have show that boosting protein intake enhances strength gains from training because BCAA’s improve neuromuscular adaptations. Studies suggests a diet rich in amino acids from multiple sources including meat, eggs protein powders and BCAA’s supplements maximize strength results from training. Now when it comes to endurance training, BCAA’s can help you kick it into high gear. Why? First, BCAA’s can be burned as energy to maintain ATP(the process in which your body uses glycogen as energy in cells) energy levels during glycogen depleting exercise. BCAA’s also enhance the body to burn fat, which in turns opens up another source of energy pools. They also prevent fatigue on the nervous system by inhibiting the uptake of tryptophan, which is used to make serotonin which increases fatigue, in the brain. Scientists who study limits of human performance believe that the limiting factor is actually your brain telling you are done, not your body.
#5- BCAA’s Prevent Muscle Loss
In addition to improving endurance and strength performance, BCAA’s prevent muscle loss during long durations of training. BCAA’s prevent catabolism by improving the overall energy burning pool so that amino acids aren’t released from muscle tissue.
In conclusion what we can see here form BCAAs is, when used during exercise can reduce fatigue, help in fat loss, accelerate recovery, improve the use of fat for energy, help you gain strength and improve your endurance. As athletes we need as much help as we can get and BCAA’s will do nothing but improve your overall health & performance. BCAA’s have been a staple in my supplements for quite some time now and I’ve never had any regrets taking them.
As always, any questions please feel free to ask.
Coach Jamie Justin