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Pros of Branched chain amino acids
From:WASETA    Time:2017/10/20

What are Branched chain amino acids?

There are nine essential amino acids that the body can’t produce. We get these essential amino acids from the food that we eat. Three of those nine essential amino acids are BCAAs. These BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine. It accounts to the 35% of muscle proteins.

But just like any other health supplement, it is far from a magic drink that can just make instant results. It also has some pros and cons that you should know.


1. Build muscle mass

First reason people buy this supplement is to build muscles. If there is anything that makes branched chain amino acid supplements popular, it’s the ability to build muscles in different ways. How exactly do BCAAs work?

Leucine has been widely researched as an amino acid that stimulates protein synthesis. When coupled with weight training, BCAA and resistance training trigger the muscle building pathway called mTORC1. But aside from its anabolic characteristic, BCAA is more than that. It has the ability to increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis.

2. Prevents muscle catabolism

Next, branched chain amino acids are known to prevent muscle catabolism. What BCAA does is to break decrease the complexes involved in protein breakdown. When combined with its ability to synthesize protein, you have a supplement that can maximize your gains during training.

And since it prevents breakdown of muscle breakdown, it is the perfect supplement for those who are doing triathlons, marathons and ironman races. This also becomes a good way to maintain muscle mass even if you are on a diet.

This comes in handy especially for those who are on a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians typically don’t get enough protein to build on their muscles. With BCAAs, they get leucine which has the best effect in protein synthesis, while it can also decrease muscle breakdown.

3. Fast acting

You may notice that there are whey products that contain branched chain amino acids. You may argue that there is no need for a separate BCAA supplement because of this. Unfortunately, the ones you see on whey products are peptide bound amino acids. What exactly does it mean? It only means that it has to be processed by the liver in order to become useful to the body.

On the other hand, stand-alone BCAA supplements can be used directly by the skeletal muscles. This simply means it can come in handy faster to avoid muscle catabolism.

4. Extra energy

One of the most common practices by athletes and fitness buffs is to use stimulant based supplements. Supplements that contain caffeine which gives you that boost of energy. However, you don’t have to use these stimulants to be confident about your workout.

BCAAs can be used as an alternate source of energy in different ways. It is in fact, one of the reasons why it stops the body from cannibalizing its own muscles. But apart from providing ATP, it has different functions as a fuel in your workout. For instance, isoleucine is responsible for facilitating glucose uptake in cells. Next, leucine is also known for facilitating fat metabolism.

5. Prevents fatigue

Another thing interesting about branched chain amino acids is its ability to manage fatigue. According to studies, decrease in the level of serum BCAA results in fatigue in the central nervous system. Branched chain amino acids have the ability to cross the blood brain barrier and compete with tryptophan which decreases the perception of fatigue.

6. Reduce the intensity of muscle soreness post-workout

Muscle soreness is something that you can’t avoid. It’s a sign that you are working on those muscle groups. However, delayed onset muscle soreness can be a bit annoying. It may even force you to just sleep the next day.

It is now archaic to believe that DOMs is caused by lactic acid. Instead, modern understanding of muscle soreness is from the tears accumulated from the workout. What BCAA does is help the body reduce the intensity of the muscle soreness.

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