If you’re looking to build muscle, burn fat, and just generally enhance your physique, you’ve probably seriously considered using supplements to help you achieve your goal. Whilst there are countless supplements currently available, in terms of muscle growth, health and fitness, and athletic performance, BCAAs, or Branch Chain Amino Acids, are up there as being some of the most effective. Consisting of Leucine, Valine, and Isoleucine, BCAAs get their name because their chemical structure resembles that of a tree branch. These amino acids are known as essential amino acids, due to the fact that the body cannot naturally synthesize them. This means that they must be consumed in dietary form, either from whole foods, or from supplements. If you check the supplement stack of many a bodybuilder, one of the first supplements you come across will be BCAAs. But why are BCAAs so popular and considered so beneficial? Well, let’s take a more detailed look, shall we?
BCAAs enhance protein synthesis
In the muscles, protein synthesis is a very important process in regards to muscle growth and repair, which is why BCAAs are so useful. Studies have found that the three amino acids making up BCAAs, especially leucine, play key roles in the growth and repair of muscle tissue within the body. After we finish training, damaged and broken down muscle fibres must be repaired and replaced by the body in order to yield greater levels of muscle hypertrophy. This is where protein synthesis factors into the mix as the process enables the body to synthesize brand new muscle proteins to replace those damaged during the workout.
BCAAs can enhance fat loss
Another key benefit associated with BCAAs is the fact that they have been found to enhance fat loss in the human body. Those that regularly consume BCAAs, both in supplement in dietary form, have been found to have significantly lower body fat levels than those that do not. Again, it is leucine which is considered to be the star of the show, as this amino acid is thought to enhance the metabolism and subsequently enable the body to burn off more calories. Experts have found that leucine helps improve fat oxidation and energy expenditure, whilst isoleucine has been found to increase glucose tolerance levels within the body. For people looking to burn fat and build muscle, BCAAs are ideal.
BCAAs are convenient
The great thing about BCAA supplements is the fact that they are so convenient. You see, as the amino acids are essential, this means the body needs them, but it cannot manufacture them by itself. They therefore have to be consumed from whole food sources, or via supplements. With BCAA supplements, you simply add one or two scoops to your liquid of choice, give them a good mix, and you are then all set. One serving will provide the correct dosages in a matter of seconds. Best of all, BCAA supplements also taste great as well, so it really is a win-win.
BCAAs improve athletic performance and keep fatigue at bay
Another reason why BCAAs are so incredibly popular in the health and fitness community, is because they have been found to help reduce fatigue and improve athletic performance. One key reason for this is that the BCAAs themselves, can actually be utilized as a primary source of energy for the body, meaning that ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) levels remain intact for longer. ATP is a key energy source used by the muscles during strenuous activity, so is you can preserve ATP levels for longer, this means that the muscles will have more energy, so your workouts and athletic performance will improve. Another key way in which BCAAs can assist with athletic performance is because they help to strengthen the central nervous system. BCAAs strengthen the CNS and prevent it from fatiguing as they help to inhibit tryptophan uptake to the human brain. Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, which is a chemical that is responsible for feelings of tiredness and lethargy. Put simply, BCAAs allow for more energy for the muscles, plus they help to stimulate the CNS, to improve mental alertness and to reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
BCAAs reduce DOMS
DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is not a very pleasant experience, especially if you’ve trained legs a day or two ago. DOMS can cause your muscles to feel stiff, painful, and tender, which can not only affect your mobility, it can also affect your future workouts as well. BCAAs however, have been found to help strengthen muscle fibres, which subsequently results in a noticeable reduction in DOMS all over the body. This in turn means that you can train harder and more effectively, and you can recover quicker as well, and will obviously experience far less pain in the process.
BCAAs improve other aspects of health and well-being
Not only can BCAAs be used to help increase muscle mass, enhance post-workout recovery, and increase energy levels, BCAAs can also improve other aspects of physical health and well-being as well. You see, BCAAs have been found to help improve liver function and protect against liver disease, they promote cellular health and function, they help to boost the immune system, and they can even improve cognitive function as well. Put simply, when you consume BCAA supplements, not only are you helping to improve your physique, you are also helping to improve other aspects of your health as well. BCAAs often correlate with longevity, and it is very easy to understand why that is.