The Benefits of Adding a BCAA Supplement
|By Petra Trudell, Managing Editor on Saturday, January 11, 2014|
|BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids, can add to your success when training. Learn more about what they are and how they can help you meet your fitness goals.||
Amino acids are an essential component of proper nutrition to keep the entire body functioning optimally. If you're training, BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids, are of particular importance for your success.
If you feel your results have hit a plateau and want to take things up another notch, it's time to consider the support of BCAAs.
What Are BCAAs?
As you may already known, amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein. Their are nine essential amino acids the body needs on a daily basis to develop and maintain lean muscle mass while supporting the functions of the major organs, among other benefits.
Branched chain amino acids are considered proteinogenic amino acids and have a different chemical structure than other amino acids. The three BCAAs are isoleucine, leucine and valine. We normally get BCAAs from foods that are rich in protein, namely meats like beef as well as dairy products. You can also get BCAAs from certain types of legumes. For a stronger dose, many people turn to supplements for their added benefits.
What Do They Do?
If you're looking to make greater gains and increase size in the gym, BCAAs can help you get their faster. The job of BCAAs is to support the growth of lean muscle mass by assisting in proper recovery after training. This stimulates protein synthesis and prevents the breakdown of the muscle, which stops you from gaining more mass. They can also help prevent muscle soreness in the days following your workout -- the more sore your muscles, the more likely you are to skip out on a training session. A 2010 study published in the International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism supported this theory. Subjects took 100 mg/kg body weight of BCAAs before completing seven sets of 20 squats and experiencing significantly less muscle soreness.
BCAAs won't prevent injury completely, though. Only you can do that by knowing your limits.
BCAA supplements are also said to improve endurance during training, allowing you to push yourself further. They do this by inhibiting production of serotonin within the brain. Serotonin is released during exercise and can contribute to fatigue. A three-day study published in 2011 in The journal of sports medicine and physical fitness showed BCAA supplementation (300 mg/kg body weight) helped deter fatigue and enhance lipid oxidation during and after strenuous exercise.
How to Use BCAA Supplements
BCAA supplements are typically taken before and/or after working out. They're usually taken between 30 minutes and one hour before you begin your workout to provide natural energy enhancement and then immediately after completing your workout.
You can find BCAA supplements in capsule and powder form. Powders can be added to your pre- or post-workout beverage, which can save you the time of taking extra pills. These supplements range in potency and it's best to always start with a lower dosage to test your tolerance and increase gradually.
While they're generally recognized as safe, it's always best to speak with your primary care physician before beginning a BCAA supplement regimen. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn't take BCAA supplements, as not enough information is available concerning possible side effects. BCAA supplements may also impact blood sugar levels, so those with diabetes should also consult their physician before adding a supplement to their routine.
Shop our entire selection of BCAA products at eVitamins to get the results you’re looking for. Let us know how they work for you!
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