BCAA – Branch Chain Amino Acids and Their Role in Muscle Training
BCAAs or branch chain amino acids are amino acids that are especially important for athletes due to their benefits in muscle training. BCAAs are metabolized in the muscle, instead of in the liver, so they are immediately used to create new proteins once they are absorbed. The additional protein can help boost performance, strength and muscle build. Studies also show that sufficient supply of BCAAs help reduce fatigue while doing anaerobic exercises and endurance sports. This means BCAAs can serve as fuel for the muscles especially during intensive muscle training activities.
The three types of BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are all an essential amino acids that humans cannot synthesize, therefore must be obtained through a diet or supplement. The three have the following benefits:
• Maintains blood sugar levels and can increase growth hormone production.
• Can increase endurance levels, giving you energy and strength.
• Has the ability to suppress catabolism.
• Good sources for this nutrient include: Eggs, chicken, fish, lentils, almonds and cashews.
• Promotes muscle recovery after physical exercise
• Regulating blood sugar levels, as well as energy levels
• Increases muscle protein
• Good sources for this nutrient include: Cottage cheese, sesame seeds, fish, chicken and lentils
• Has a stimulating effect which is used for muscle metabolism.
• Maintains the nitrogen balance in the body.
• Increases your energy source in the muscles, giving your strength and power.
• Good sources for this nutrient include: Dairy, mushrooms, soy, peanuts and grain.
A lot of research has been conducted to determine the true effects of branch chain amino acids when it is taken in dietary supplements. One study showed that 2.2 grams of BCAA taken three times a day showed improvements in red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and fasting glucose as well as decreases in creatine phophokinase. It also proved effective in alleviating inflamed muscles rather quickly. Another study also showed that the three amino acids also helped boost post-exercise muscle strength recovery. These are all benefits that are helpful in high performance athletes who need muscle training.
These three amino acids are primarily found in proteins derived from animal and vegetable sources. The top diet aids that contain BCAAs are yogurt and vegetable juices. However, to maximize the benefits of these amino acids, weight trainers and bodybuilders are advised to take BCAA supplements, which are usually supplied in capsule form. BCAA supplements should be taken precisely prior to, during, and after a workout since these are the times when the body needs them the most.