BCAA- The Star Player In The Supplementation Genre
Posted on November 19 2018
With so many supplements out there to choose from, BCAA has emerged as a fantastic supplement in the fitness world which is growing in popularity as an intra-workout supplement too.
The Commonly Heard Acronym In The Fitness World
BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are termed so because of their structure, which includes a side chain of one C-atom and 3-H atoms. BCAA represents 3 specific amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine out of the 20 different amino acids and is the most important of the 9 essential amino acids.
Basically, BCAAs are essential amino acids which means the body can’t manufacture them and they have to be consumed through diet. They are the unique group of all amino acids because they are the only amino acids burned by muscles as fuel, thus both blood and muscle levels of BCAA decrease after exercise.
BCAAs compromise approximately 35% of all muscle tissue and make up a high proportion (40%) of the daily requirement of essential amino acids, which indicates their importance. BCAAs are the most effective supplements in the sports nutrition industry.
BCAA Stands Out As The Best Intra Workout Supplement
An intra-workout supplement is something we can take during our workout. The intra-workout supplement provides the body with a constant supply of amino acids, which contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
Studies favour BCAA as the best intra-workout supplement for these reasons:
1. BCAAs help to keep our body fueled with certain nutrients over a period of time.
2. Although consumed both as a pre and post workout supplement, BCAAs show special benefits when consumed as an intra-workout supplement. By providing an ample supply of amino acids, they are particularly relevant for long and intense training sessions.
3. BCAAs not only help in getting the most from our workout but also protect our body against muscle breakdown.
The Efficacy Of BCAA Supplementation
Adding high protein in our diet isn’t always possible. A BCAA supplement makes this job simple for us by amplifying the goodness of that amino to our muscles.
The efficacy of BCAA supplementation is at the best pertaining to its enhanced muscle growth with resistance exercise.
The muscle growth purely relies on the net muscle protein balance, which means the muscle protein synthesis should be higher than the muscle protein breakdown. Despite providing the building block for making new proteins, BCAAs act as stimulating compounds for the molecular anabolic pathways in muscle. BCAAs are effective for stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and inhibition of muscle protein breakdown.
The key factor behind BCAAs ability to minimize the protein breakdown lies in its ability to preserve the muscle glycogen stores.
How Does BCAA Minimize The Protein Breakdown?
BCAAs provide the complete spectrum of all 3 amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine and help to get the more out of our daily sessions.
BCAAs ability to preserve the muscle glycogen store is the secret behind its ability to prevent the protein breakdown.
Did you know? Glycogen is the energy driver during your exercise. Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates. Our body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in our muscles, liver, red blood cells and kidneys. Since glycogen that is stored in the muscle is not capable of being transported to other areas of the body to provide fuel, it serves as a form of energy store for muscle itself. Intense workouts demand high levels of glycogen stores for energy.
Studies have shown that high-intensity exercise can deplete the glycogen stores in just 20 minutes. During the workout, we often ‘hit the wall’ and feel exhausted. This happens when an easily approachable source of energy for muscles, glycogen is depleted. Then muscles start breaking down the muscle protein for energy instead!
Unlike all other amino acids, BCAAs have a unique capacity to rapidly stimulate the muscle protein synthesis, especially when consumed as an intra-workout supplement. By providing the muscles with an abundant supply of essential amino acids, which is a chief requisite for stimulation of muscle protein synthesis, BCAAs prevent the muscles from reaching the catabolic state (muscle breakdown). The longer and harder the workout, the more BCAAs are used in the muscle.
Get Ready For The Intense Workout
One common experience with gym-goers is feeling fatigued during workouts. This happens due to the rise in serotonin levels.
During endurance training, tryptophan increases (an essential amino acid which chemically changes into serotonin) and produces more serotonin in the brain. Higher levels of serotonin cause inhibition in the intense workout from making you feel fatigued.
BCAAs compete with the amino acid tryptophan from entry into the brain, where they are converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin and extend the ability for the intense workout.
In addition to this, BCAAs help reduces ‘pain and soreness’ signals from the brain. This helps to add mental clarity during the strenuous workout.
Activation Of Muscle Building Machinery via 3EAAs
An essential amino acid and the primary BCAA.
Major regulator of the muscle protein synthesis.
The most efficient at metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy due to its highest rate of oxidation.
The precursor to alanine (glucogenic amino acid) and glutamine, which convert to glucose for energy.
Induces glucose uptake into the cells thereby boosts the energy levels.
Plays a role as an anti-catabolic agent.
Helps recover from strenuous activity.
Involved in the biosynthesis of glutamine and alanine.
By supplying the muscles with extra glucose for energy production, it prevents the breakdown of muscle.
Regulates the immune function and helps to recover from tissue damage which results during strenuous physical activity.
Effectively maintains the nitrogen balance in the body.
A Look Around On BCAA
1. Supports the body's anabolic response to training.
2. Improves hormonal balance.
3. Enhance strength gains.
4. Helps to build lean muscles.
5. Decrease muscle soreness and accelerate recovery.
6. Prevent muscle loss during long-distance exercise.
7. Benefits sportspersons who have more of hand and leg coordination.
BCCAs are win-win for your muscles. They sustain and safeguard them.
In the end, if you want to get more out of your daily sessions, be sure to sip on the right intra-workout blend!