The health industry these days is obsessed with BCAA.
What is it? What’s the fuss all about? Join us to dive into this latest health trend and understand everything about it.
What is BCAA?
BCAA is basically branched chain amino acids that form three of the 9 essential amino acids that make up the thousands of proteins responsible for balanced growth and maintenance of the body.
The 9 amino acids essentially are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
While six of these are produced by the body, 3 of them , namely leucine, isoleucine and valine need to be obtained from external sources ( aka your diet).
The term “Branched-chain” basically refers to the chemical structure of BCAAs, which are found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products.
So what do these BCAAs do? Why is everyone going gaga over them?
First things first, BCAAs make up for 40% of the body’s requirement of essential amino acids.
Increase muscle mass
If you’re someone who’s looking to get into high intensity muscle training, you need to up your BCAA levels. They boost your skeletal muscles during training, giving your body the impetus to push the envelope.
Reduction of Protein Breakdown
BCAA also enhances the recovery of your muscles after the workout when combined with carbs. BCAA supplementation is necessary to preserve glycogen levels which are the primary and most reliable sources of energy production in the body. An optimal glycogen level prevents your body from breaking muscle protein to get energy to work out. That’s why BCAA supplements are a win-win for your muscles—they help sustain and safeguard them. That’s potentially more energy, more reps, and more gains.
Maintain blood glucose levels
BCAAs are said to play a key role in regulating blood glucose levels.
These essential amino acids are responsible for taking large portions of blood sugar during high intensity workouts thereby regulating it.
When you have a balanced carbohydrate, high-protein, and amino acid beverage during and post-exercise, it can induce an insulin response. The insulin response then helps transport aminos into cells to repair muscle damage and build muscle tissue. This means that basically you’re able to replenish the anabolic building blocks that your body needs to repair itself post-workout and reduce delayed onset muscle fatigue, with BCAA.
Enhance fat loss
Amino acids, especially BCAAs, have been shown to help athletes burn more body fat—especially belly fat. Leucine is thought to be responsible for this, since it is known to increase both energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
Help heal liver diseases (Cirrhosis, cancer, hepatic encephalopathy, NASH
BCAAs are thought to aid in the reduction of complications linked to liver failure. Supplements are noticed to improve liver function.
Chronic Renal Failure
BCAA supplementation is said to be beneficial in improving appetite and nutritional status.
BCAAs , since they are builders, help patients suffering from burns, sepsis and trauma, heal gradually back to health.
Do I have to take supplements? What are the side effects
You should always take BCAA under strict medical guidance from a verified healthcare professional. Do not self prescribe dosages or take advice from gym trainers or friends. Talk to a licensed doctor or nutritionist about this.
Disproportionate, un-monitored intake of BCAA causes fatigue, loss of coordination, nausea, headaches, and increased insulin resistance (which can lead to Type 2 diabetes).
If you are suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or maple syrup urine disease, your body will not be able to break BCAA properly and will suffer from complications.
If you’re looking to build your body up the natural way or are a sportsperson, join our Sports Nutrition Program today!