If you are into fitness and serious workouts, you have certainly at least heard of BCAAs. Maybe you already use BCAAs as part of your training. Or possibly you have heard of them and now wonder about the benefits of BCAAs. In either case, it still may be the case that you have not fully explored the full extent of BCAA benefits.
BCAAs, or blocked-chain amino acids, are 3 of the essential amino acids our bodies need but cannot make on its own. We must get essential amino acids from a food source. One of the BCAA benefits is to simply to supply your body with basic nutrition. At a baseline, we need BCAAs for our health.
But there are numerous BCAA benefits beyond the basic maintenance of our physical health. People who train hard to achieve serious muscle and endurance know many of the BCAA benefits from the experience. Anyone who uses BCAAs as a supplement while training will see results in no time.
The most notable BCAA benefits are to help build muscle and extend stamina for workouts by alleviating muscle soreness. These blocked-chain amino acids stimulate the body’s natural processes that build muscle tissue. BCAAs are not steroids or hormones. They are natural amino acids—the building blocks of the proteins that make muscle tissue, among other things.
This guide will walk you through the primary BCAA benefits and help you understand how to best use BCAA supplements for your own training program.
We will help you get the most of the BCAA benefits for your specific training goals.
BCAA vs. EAA
BCAAs, blocked-chain amino acids, and EAAs, essential amino acids, make up what we often call the building blocks of life since they serve to form things like DNA and protein for muscles and organs. Of the 20 amino acids, our bodies require, 9 of them cannot be synthesized by the body and must be acquired from food. These 9 amino acids are called essential amino acids, EAAs.
Amino acids do form the structure of our bodies, but they also serve energy production, digestion, hormones, neurotransmitters, and enzymatic reactions necessary for life. Just the baseline functions of our health depend on amino acids and getting a good supply of the 9 EAAs is crucial.
Of the 9 EAAs, three are blocked-chain amino acids or BCAAs. BCAAs are so named because of their unique chemical structure which has a block of elements that form a chain off one side of the molecule. The unique structure of BCAAs allows them to by-pass digestion and becomes immediately available to produce muscle. For this reason, BCAAs are especially useful for people who engage in intense physical training.
So, while all 9 EAAs are necessary for anyone and crucial for athletes for obvious reasons, BCAAs are especially useful to people who seek to build muscle and endurance through intense workouts and training.
The fact that BCAAs are immediately accessible has led to the development and widespread use of BCAA supplements.
BCAA Benefits (Top 6 Benefits)
- BCAAs enhance muscle protein synthesis. Because BCAAs are readily available for metabolism, they are easily formed into muscle mass when combined with resistance training. BCAAs also tend to build lean muscle even when you are inactive. They can work with your metabolism not only for muscle metabolism but also for reducing prevent fat.
- BCAAs prolong muscle synthesis as we age. BCAAs that are enriched leucine are especially good for equalizing protein synthesis and building muscle between young and old. Research has shown that leucine enriched BCAAs are especially powerful for older people as muscle synthesis tends to diminish over the age of 35.
- BCAAs burn fat. In addition to the muscle-building benefits of BCAAs, they also burn fat and prevent fat from accumulating. We gain muscle and lose weight by properly taking BCAA supplements in conjunction with exercise.
- BCAAs help build strength. All that muscle we get form BCAA supplements is not just for show. These supplements, when combined with proper training, build real measurable strength in test subjects.
- BCAAs enhance endurance and reduce fatigue. BCAAs have been clinically proven to boost energy production in the body. What is more, BCAAs also facilitates the metabolism of fats which provide further fuel for increased energy. All of this results in more endurance and less propensity for growing tired during intense training and competition.
- Decrease muscle soreness. Studies have shown that BCAA supplements reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in both trained and untrained athletes. This makes it possible to return to workouts faster and with less pain and discomfort.
The chemical nature of BCAAs boosts metabolism. This results in an increase in muscle and a decrease in fat. That BCAAs perform both functions tend to create correlative benefits such as lowering cholesterol and sugar levels. Consuming BCAAs through a healthy diet is simply good for our health. When we combine BCAA supplements with resistance training, we get demonstrable results in muscle growth, weight loss, stamina, and strength.
Types of BCAA Supplements
BCAA supplements come in a variety of forms. Most athletes are after the primary BCAA leucine since this is the one that is directly involved with developing muscle, strength, and endurance. You should remember that all three BCAAs work together to provide the results you need for workouts and training.
NF Sports BCAA Amino Acid Supplements come with a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. This is specifically designed to give you everything you need in order to see maximum benefits and results.
Also, form NF Sports there is the Natural Amino Postworkout Recovery Drink. This packs L-Carnitine and L-Tartrate which help fight muscle soreness and fatigue. A completely vegan supplement that helps improve hormone balance and boost your immune system.
NF Sports also provides the Performance Bundle which contains all you need to for intense training and fitness. Pre-workout and BCAA supplements to build muscle and enhance recovery for more effective workouts.
How BCAAs Fit Into Your Supplement Stack
Anyone engaged in serious athletic training can benefit from taking BCAA supplements before, during, and after workouts. BCAAs stimulate muscle growth and boost stamina to prepare for intense training. They actively promote protein synthesis during a workout, and BCAAs help repair muscle even after you are finished.
Combining BCAAs with protein powders is a good idea. Of the three primary BCAAs, it takes 3 grams of leucine to really engage muscle protein synthesis. This is the baseline level of leucine required to build muscle. For people with highly developed muscles, it would take significantly more leucine to see results.
Most protein powders do not contain enough leucine and other BCAAs to jumpstart protein synthesis. On average, protein powders contain 20 grams of leucine per 20 grams of powder. Advanced athletes would need to consume enormous quantities of protein powder to get the results they can achieve from adding BCAAs to their supplement stack.
Protein powder supplements do provide your body with the amino acids necessary to build muscle. But adding BCAAs into your supplement stack allows the body to form muscle during and after workouts. The added leucine, isoleucine, and valine help your body string together the amino acids into long protein chains which form the basis for muscle and reduce fat.
BCAAs Recommended Dosage
The dosage requirements for BCAAs will depend largely on your exercise goals, your own body mass, and the type of workouts you are doing. But from a baseline, you can calculate what you will likely require.
A recent study found that BCAA dosage depends on three factors:
- You need to get at least 91 mg per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, you will need to take 15 g of BCAAs every day. This is just to stimulate muscle and repair muscle damage. For more intense training, and for more bulk, you need more.
- You must commit to BCAA supplements over the long term. It takes about 10 days of supplementing with BCAAs to see results.
- You probably need to split your dosage. Take half before exercise and half after. This ensures enough available BCAAs for protein synthesis for building muscle and enough to repair muscle damage post-workout. Remember, BCAAs continue to enhance metabolism and form muscle tissue even after working out.
The main things to consider are your body weight and realistic fitness goals. People who simply want to get fit and look great obviously need fewer BCAA supplements than those who are engaged in competitive sports. Competitive athletes will require larger doses of BCAAs, as will people who already have considerable muscle mass.
What are BCAAs?
Blocked-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are three of the 9 essential amino acids necessary for life. We must get these essential amino acids from our diet or from supplements.
What is special about BCAAs?
BCAAs are unique because they can be readily converted into muscle by our bodies. They can bypass the digestive system and initiate muscle protein synthesis almost immediately.
How do BCAAs build muscle?
BCAAs enhance the metabolic processes that form long protein molecules—the type that forms muscle in our bodies. Combined with resistance training, BCAAs build and repair muscles leading to more productive exercise and less soreness from exercise.
What are the other benefits of BCAAs?
BCAAs also help the body burn fat. This results in healthy weight loss along with more lean muscle. They reduce soreness in muscles after workouts and enhance stamina.
Who benefits from BCAA supplements?
Anyone who wants to be fit can benefit from taking BCAA supplements. Athletes with intense training programs benefit in obvious ways. But anyone who workouts even just to stay fit can benefit from BCAA supplements.
How much BCAA supplement should I take?
The minimum recommended dosage is 15 grams of BCAA per 175 pounds of body weight. BCAAs can be taken every day for maximum benefit.
Are there dangers associated with BCAAs?
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to avoid taking BCAA supplements. People with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) risk serious life-threatening complications from taking BCAA supplements.
Best BCAA Supplement Product
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of BCAA supplements available now. Sorting through them all can be daunting. Of the best on the market, the products with proven effectiveness include NF Sports BCAA Amino Acid Supplements for building muscle.
The Natural Amino Postworkout Recovery Drink will reduce or eliminate post-workout soreness and fatigue. NF Sports also has bundles that will offer a regimen of supplements for high-performance workouts and training. These include the Performance Bundle. All available through the NF Sports website.
Wrapping things up
BCAA supplements have become common among athletes and people who work out regularly. Even just talk of BCAAs tends to come up in the gym or in conversations about fitness. Along with other health and fitness supplements, BCAAs have emerged as just one more thing that people simply seem to know about.
But like most things of this type, many of us do not know as much about BCAAs as we would like, or maybe should. BCAAs are really just 3 of the essential amino acids we need to maintain our health. We need to know about BCAAs just to ensure that we are eating healthy.
BCAA supplements enhance the natural processes of building muscle. The metabolic processes by which we synthesize and build muscle can be given a boost by introducing supplemental BCAAs into our bodies as we work out and train.
For high-performance athletes, BCAA supplements can make all the difference when it comes to getting a competitive edge. For people who workout simply to stay fit, BCAAs will build lean muscle. They will help keep up your energy level. BCAAs can help burn fat. And BCAAs will decrease the post-workout soreness that can keep you from going back to the gym.
The science of BCAA supplements provides proof that they work and that they do provide the benefits we are looking for.