A Closer Look at BCAAs and Why They Are Essential
By: Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
There’s a reason so many still lean towards BCAAs. With so much talk back and forth between BCAAs and EAAs, I think we need to take a step back and pull the covers down from the eyes of many when it comes to amino acids.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are called “essential” amino acids because they cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet. Does this mean that essential amino acids are the end-all-be-all and that you’re only wasting your time if you’re not using EAAs? No. Not at all.
BCAAs are important for a number of reasons. They are involved in muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which the body repairs and builds new muscle tissue. If you want to see any sort of muscle growth or hypertrophy from your training, BCAAs can help. They also help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue during exercise (which makes them ideal as an intra-workout supplement), and may improve exercise performance.
But the benefits don’t just end with muscle-building goals and aspirations. Sure, BCAAs are often used by athletes and bodybuilders to help enhance muscle growth and recovery. But in addition, BCAAs can be used as an energy source during exercise, particularly when glycogen stores in the muscles are depleted.
Let’s take a deeper dive into BCAAs and why you should still have them in your supplement arsenal and regimen.
What Are the Benefits of Supplementing with BCAAs?
Some potential benefits of supplementing with BCAAs include the following:
1. Improved muscle growth and recovery
BCAAs can help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of building and repairing torn-down muscle fibers due to intense training. Your ability to quickly and effectively recover from workouts can mean the difference between experiencing muscle growth and simply spinning your wheels without seeing any change in the mirror.
2. Reduced muscle soreness and fatigue
BCAAs may help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue during exercise, allowing you to train harder and for longer periods of time. The less sore you are and longer it takes to fatigue during a workout, allows you focus on progressively overloading the muscles.
3. Improved exercise performance
Some studies have found that BCAA supplementation can improve exercise performance, which can allow you to see better results from your time in the gym.
4. Weight loss
BCAAs may help with weight loss by reducing muscle breakdown and increasing fat oxidation during exercise. The key when dieting is to hold onto as much lean muscle tissue as possible and prevent it from being broken down and used as energy. BCAAs are extremely muscle-sparring.
5. Improved immune function
BCAAs may help to support immune function by providing the body with the necessary building blocks to produce immune cells and improve your overall immunity. In doing so, your body can better seek out and destroy foreign pathogens from damaging cells and allowing illnesses to take place.
6. Improved brain function
BCAAs may have a positive effect on brain function and may be helpful in the treatment of some neurological disorders. More research is needed on this topic, but the ability to improve overall cognition and brain health is a very positive property.
When Should You Take BCAAs?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the optimal timing of BCAA supplementation may depend on a number of factors, including an individual’s training schedule, goals, and overall diet.
Some people choose to take BCAAs before their workouts, as they may help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue during exercise.
Others take BCAAs after their workouts, as they may help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and improve muscle recovery.
BCAAs can also be taken throughout the day as a between-meal snack or as part of a meal replacement shake.
What Does Leucine Do?
One of the primary roles of leucine is in the synthesis of protein, and it is known as the most powerful of the three BCAAs. It stimulates protein synthesis in muscle tissue, which is vital for muscle growth and repair. Leucine is also involved in regulating blood sugar levels and energy metabolism.
Leucine has been studied for its potential benefits in helping to effectively build muscle and aid in weight loss thanks to its ability to help increase fat oxidation and reduce body fat mass. Some research has suggested that leucine supplementation may help to increase muscle mass and strength in those who engage in resistance training. It may also help reduce muscle breakdown during exercise, leading to improved muscle recovery.
What Does Isoleucine Do?
Isoleucine plays a role in the synthesis of proteins and the regulation of blood sugar levels. It is also involved in energy metabolism and synthesizing other compounds in the body, such as hemoglobin and enzymes.
Like leucine, isoleucine has been studied for its potential benefits in muscle building and weight loss for those who exercise regularly. Just like leucine, isoleucine may help reduce muscle atrophy or muscle loss.
What Does Valine Do?
Like the other BCAAs already mentioned, valine plays a role in the synthesis of proteins and the regulation of blood glucose. It is also involved in producing energy and synthesizing critical enzymes found in the body.
Valine has been studied alongside leucine and isoleucine for its potential ability to increase muscle growth, recovery, and even weight loss. Some research has suggested that valine supplementation may help people add quality lean muscle tissue more easily while preventing muscle loss when dieting and in a caloric deficit.
THE BIG 3 Amino Acids Help Maximize Results
The typical ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine is generally 2:1:1. But being that the driving favor of these big three amino acids is leucine, that radio simply isn’t good enough. When MuscleSport was looking to launch BCAAs, it had to be radically different and better than what’s currently on the market. Welcome to BCAA Revolution.
We didn’t create the BCAA category, we revolutionized it!
BCAA Revolution is ideal for intra- and post-workout uses but can also be sipped throughout the day to supply the body with an increased level of amino acids to help with muscle recovery, building, and preservation.
MuscleSport BCAA Revolution utilizes a 10:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine to drastically stimulate mTOR and help maximize your ability to recover quickly from intense training sessions but also repair torn-down muscle fibers and help them grow.
In addition, the precise formula found in MuscleSport BCAA Revolution includes HICA-DL and Glutamine to further enhance your ability to recover faster. Taking it one step further, your overall performance can suffer when hydration levels are thrown off. Therefore, BCAA Revolution includes an ElectroREV Hydration Matrix to help replenish key electrolytes needed to maintain performance throughout your workout.
Experience the mouth-watering flavors of our BCAAs for yourself and add BCAA Revolution to your daily supplement regimen to put yourself in the best position to recover faster and experience new muscle growth!