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What Are BCAAs and Are They Worth It? HomeGym101

All amino acids synthesize protein in the body.

They also make up the muscle tissue.

So, one may wonder why people only use BCAAs as supplements and not the other amino acids.

The answer is because the body synthesizes BCAAs in a particular way. 

The liver metabolizes most of the other amino acids to produce energy. But, the muscle tissues of the body metabolize BCAAs.

This direct metabolism by the muscles helps in producing energy in a faster way.

The muscle cells produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP provides the energy needed for physical activities.

For example, the body needs extra energy for contracting the muscles during a workout. ATP provides this extra energy. 

Simply put, the three BCAAs get directly metabolized in the muscle tissue. This makes them an instant source of energy, especially during intense physical activity.

During the period of training or work out, a person requires higher levels of energy.

We know that the rate of metabolism of BCAAs is higher.

So, it becomes very effective in providing the required amount of energy when taken as a supplement.

BCAAs provide easy metabolism, release instant energy and enhance muscle mass.

Thus, it has become the most popular workout supplement in recent times. 

A physically active person is always looking for ways to improve his or her performance. Improved performance can help people in reaching the next level.

For instance, an athlete looks to improve his or her speed. A weightlifter looks to lift weights of a higher threshold. 

We have already discussed BCAAs can help in producing extra energy. They also help in enhancing performance. This is due to their specific way of metabolism. They also help in increasing the period of performance.

During workouts, the glycogen in the body is depleted. Then, BCAAs improve the rate of fat oxidation. This enables individuals to continue performing without getting tired.

BCAAs also have the ability to spare glycogen during a workout. The body prefers to use glycogen as a fuel for muscle activity during high-intensity activities or workouts.

Glycogen is stored as carbohydrates in the liver and muscles. BCAAs help in making glycogen available when needed.

It also preserves the level of glycogen in the body. Thus, BCAAs should be taken both before and during the activity. 

BCAAs also help in better recovery by lessening the level of soreness in the body after intense physical activity.

During the activity, muscles often get small tears because of continuous use.

BCAAs can help reduce these tears. They also aid in faster recovery because they lessen the loss of protein in the muscles. 

The human blood has enzymes called lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase present in it. These enzymes can cause damage to the muscles if they are at high levels.

BCAAs also help to reduce the level of both enzymes present in the blood. This helps in protecting the muscles from damage. 

Additionally, BCAAs help in alleviating fatigue.

When the body is undergoing an intense workout, the levels of BCAAs in the body gets reduced. The body has certain compounds that increase fatigue and lethargy.

These are  ‘tryptophan’ and ‘serotonin’. While working out, the quantity of ‘tryptophan’ and ‘serotonin’ increase. This causes fatigue. Consuming BCAAs supplements during the workout helps in fighting physical lethargy. 

Blomstrand , Hassmén , and Newsholme conducted a study called  Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on perceived exertion during exercise.

The results of the study showed that BCAAs helped in reducing mental fatigue by around 15%. The rate of exertion was less by 7%.

BCAAs also lower the level of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness). DOMS means fatigue and soreness sets in at a later time.

DOMS can set between 12-24 hours of physical activity. It may last up to 24-72 hours. Consuming BCAAs helps in reducing DOMS. 

The human body uses protein to repair and build muscles. The human body is capable of doing this without the need for any supplement. Adding supplements makes this process faster and more efficient. 

BCAAs help increase muscle mass in the body.

BCAAs can improve the ratio of testosterone to cortisol in the body. Testosterone and cortisol are hormones present in the body.

Both function in different ways.

Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that helps in improving muscle strength. It also aids in muscle growth.

Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that degenerates muscles. It makes the muscles break. To improve muscle growth, the level of testosterone should be high and cortisol should be low.

BCAAs help improve the level of testosterone.

It also reduces the level of cortisol when taken during resistance and strength training. This helps in increasing muscle mass and reducing the rate of muscle break-down.

In recent times, the impact of BCAAs on fat loss has come into the limelight.

BCAAs help in suppressing appetite and reducing cravings.

It can help in fat loss especially when the person is on a calorie deficit diet. A calorie deficit diet is one where the intake of calories is lower than the total calories spent by the body.  

This does not mean that one can consume junk-food rich in calories along with BCAAs and the fat reduces on its own. 

BCAAs only aid in fat loss when the body is already in a calorie deficit mode. In a calorie deficit mode, the amount of carbohydrates in the body would be lesser. 

BCAAs spare glycogen and enhance the sensitivity of insulin. This results in lower fat.

As seen earlier, BCAAs have the ability to build and preserve the muscles. This ensures that the muscles and tissues remain healthy during a fat loss program.

BCAAs provide a double advantage – aiding fat loss and protecting the muscles.

As a cherry on top, BCAAs taste sweet and can be a treat for those who consume it because it satiates the sweet-tooth. 

Apart from being a workout supplement, BCAAs also have many other benefits.

BCAAs help improve breathing by increasing the level of oxygen in the body.

They also help in lessening the amount of carbon dioxide.

They help maintain the health of the liver and kidney by providing the required level of amino acids.

BCAAs helps in maintaining the protein content in the body.

BCAAs also enhances the level of albumin in the body. Albumin is a protein present in the body that helps keep fluid in the bloodstream. 

BCAAs are also good for the heart because they improve both heart rate and heart function.

It will not be wrong to say that it is one supplement that has many benefits for the human body. 

Now that you are well aware of the benefits provided by BCAAs, let us know more about BCAAs supplements.

The body needs a balanced diet. So, we cannot always eat foods rich in BCAA. Thus, BCAA supplements come into the picture. 

BCAA supplements are available as either powders or tablets.

The best time to take the supplement is before the workout or during the workout.

We can take supplements up to three times a day.

The quantity of supplements depends upon different factors. These factors are the height, weight and physical activity levels of the individual. 

Most supplements have the dosage printed on the product labels. It is crucial to follow the correct dosage.

If you are consuming BCAAs through whey protein, please make sure that the whey protein is non-GMO. It is better to use a supplement with ingredients from sustainable sources. 

BCAAs do not have any major side effects.

They are safe for most people. People with pre-existing health conditions should consult a doctor.

If a person has rare congenital diseases or conditions like ALS, the body cannot break down BCAAs. This can result in complications.

It is better to consult a doctor if there are any pre-existing health conditions. 

If one is following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it is important to read the label for the ingredients. There may be some supplements that are not vegan or vegetarian.

BCAA supplements are safe when taken in the correct dosage. 

BCAAs can be an incredible supplement because of the many benefits that they offer.

These benefits are better performance,  faster recovery, building muscle mass and fat loss. 

The exciting thing when it comes to BCAAs is that a lot of research is underway to use it in a more effective manner.

Modern-day world is extra competitive. 

Athletes are setting the bar higher with each performance.

Regular fitness enthusiasts are aiming to increase their reps every day.

A supplement like BCAAs can help you in reaching your fitness goal.

The extra boost that BCAAs provide to the muscles can become the game-changer in years to come!



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