What is BCAA?
BCAA (Branched-chain amino acids) are a group of three essential amino acids namely – leucine, isoleucine and valine. The words “Branched-chain” refer to the chemical structure of these amino acids. These amino acids are grouped together because these amino acids are the only three to have a chain that branch off to one side. BCAAs are considered essential because unlike nonessential amino acids, your body cannot make them on its own. Therefore, it is essential to get them from your diet.
The most common usage of BCAA supplements is to enhance exercise performance and boost muscle growth. Like all amino acids, BCAAs are building blocks your body uses to make proteins. Out of the three, leucine has the biggest impact on your body’s capacity to build muscle proteins
Approximately, there are around 35–40% of all essential amino acids present in our body (14–18% of those found in muscles). Unlike most other amino acids that are broken down in the liver, BCAAs are mostly broken down in the muscle. Due to this, they are believed to play a role in energy production while exercising. Some rich sources of BCAAs are – meat, poultry, and fish, beans and lentils, dairy items such as cheese and milk, tofu, eggs, quinoa, nuts and seeds
Why use BCAA?
BCAAs play multiple roles in your body. Some of its uses are –
- Our body uses them as building blocks for muscle and protein
- They help in regulating and maintaining your blood sugar levels
- BCAAs helps in reducing the production of serotonin in your brain which may help reduce the fatigue (both physical and mental) you feel during exercise
- Meanwhile, isoleucine and valine seem more effective at producing energy and regulating your blood sugar levels
- BCAAs may help to reduce the soreness in your muscles, may improve recovery and protect against muscle damage after exercise.
- BCAAs may help to increase muscle mass
- They may help to prevent weight gain and enhance fat loss.
- BCAAs may help reduce complications linked to liver failure such as hepatic encephalopathy (HE), which can lead to confusion, loss of consciousness and coma.
How to use BCAA?
Consult with your healthcare professional before starting the supplementation with BCAAs, so as to decide if it’s right for you and how much you should take.
There are no universally correct doses for BCAA. However, there are studies that have suggested different amounts. However, if you include sufficient protein-rich foods in your diet, then most likely you do not need to take supplements.
Pre and/or post workout are considerably the best time to take BCAA supplements. For people who are trying to gain muscle, take them additionally in the morning and before bed.
Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not exceed the maximum listed dosage.
Where can I buy genuine BCAA?
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