What are Branch Chain Amino Acids?

What are Branch Chain Amino Acids?

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Branched-chain amino acid, otherwise known as BCAA, is a term given to a select few amino acids which have been proven scientifically to help athletes and bodybuilders to recover faster, and thus improve their workout and physique. The amino acids that are known as BCAA are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.

Leucine is important as it is not produced in animals and is found in plants. What Leucine does is that it stops muscles from degrading, and promotes muscle growth. This is important for people who undergo weight training, and for athletes, because Leucine allows the protein to utilize properly and not be deemed by the body as an excess of amino acids. Among the three types of BCAA, this is the most important of the lot, as its function makes it a highly invested amino acid, even to the point where science has gone on to make it into a pure concentrated form known as Leucic acid. However, due to the high price of research and the availability of Leucine in protein shakes and BCAA, it is not common in health supplement stores. It is also an amino acid which is transported not by water, but rather by fat. A lack of body fat below 7 per cent could result in an inefficient absorption of this amino acid. The amount of Leucine to ingest per day should range from 15mg to 24mg per kg of body weight.


Isoleucine has a similar character trait as Leucine as it is also transported via fat, and is also not available in animals and only found in plants. However, Isoleucine is available in egg whites and thus should highlight to you the importance of its existence even to a growing baby. The function of Isoleucine differs from Leucine. Its main purpose is to enhance muscular endurance by promoting muscle recovery after the stress or otherwise known as a workout. It is also a vital key in the construction of haemoglobin in the body, and thus this is important for training, as haemoglobin is needed by red blood cells to transport oxygen to all parts of the body.

Isoleucine is also vital to ensure that the blood level is kept stable and not spike and fall with the consumption of low glycemic index products like sugar and white polished rice. A gauge of how much Isoleucine you should consume as a supplement should be around 10-12mg per kg of body weight.

Last but not least, Valine. Valine can be found in fish, mushrooms and peanuts. Its key purpose as an amino acid is in repairing and growing of the muscle tissues which is a vital role in gaining weight with an increase in muscle mass. Valine aids the body with its ability to be broken down by the muscle as energy and thus reserve glucose to be pushed into the muscle as glycogen.