Do you want to gain muscle mass? In that case you are interested in knowing the BCAA or branched amino acids, which are the most important amino acids to build muscle.
BCAAs are made up of 3 amino acids, isoleucine, leucine and valine, which are essential for muscle building. These amino acids cannot be generated by the body, so it should be supplied through food or dietary supplements, in other words they are essential.
BCAAs pass directly into the bloodstream and are immediately transported to the muscles, while other types of amino acids have to be pre- metabolised in the liver. Therefore nutritional supplements allow BCAAs to be available to the body immediately after having been ingested.
It is very important that three BCAAs be provided to the body at the same time. This is the only way to maximise the capacity for muscle building and energy provision during exercise.
Branch chain amino acids also stimulate the release of insulin, which rapidly accelerates its transport to the muscle cells. Leucine in particular can also be used as a source of energy, in the absence of carbohydrates and fat.
BCAAs, what are they?
BCAAs are very important amino acids
They are essential for building muscle mass
They carry out their muscle building effect when taken together
They cannot can be generated by the body, so must be provided in the diet or through a dietary supplement
Branched chain amino acids taken as supplements or through food are absorbed by the intestine, transported in the bloodstream and then immediately incorporated into the muscle cells.
They stimulate the secretion of insulin, which in turn accelerates the transportation of amino acids
They accelerate protein synthesis
The proteins that supply the muscles prevent energy loss in moments of physical overstrain.
What purpose do branched chain amino acids have?
Branched chain amino acids are used to generate the proteins in the organism. Proteins are in turn those substances that build muscles. BCAAs break down during digestion and are absorbed by the intestine, then being immediately available to build muscle mass.
Branched chain amino acids include three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids can not be manufactured by the body, so must be ingested through food or a supplement.
BCAAs are directly absorbed in the intestine, without having to be metabolised in the liver and are then made available to the cells and for muscle building through the bloodstream. A second important function consists of the stimulation of insulin secretion. Insulin accelerates the transport of amino acids, which is particularly important when performing a physical effort, since it allows the restoration of lost muscle tissue. Leucine also serves to provide energy in emergency situations.
BCAAs are recommended for:
Athletes who do strength and endurance sports
Athletes who want to gain muscle mass
People suffering from muscle weakness
People who perform high levels of physical effort
To prevent the deterioration or loss of muscle mass
To stimulate protein synthesis
To prevent protein deficiencies in the diet
To maintain a balanced diet, for vegetarians or vegans
Which foods contain BCAAs?
The three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine are found together, mainly in meat and dairy products. Athletes who do endurance-based or high-performance sports or bodybuilding especially need to take BCAAs and it is most advisable that they do so in the form of dietary supplements.
What causes a lack or deficiency of BCAAs?
If the body is not provided with a sufficient quantity of branched chain amino acids, the following symptoms appear:
Reduction of muscle mass
Decrease of power and physical performance
Weakness and loss of strength
Decrease in concentration
This deficiency can be rapidly compensated for by taking BCAAs supplements.
When we should take BCAAs
The body consumes more energy in physically and mentally stressful situations, so a supply of amino acids is then needed in order to recover properly.
Taking BCAAs is most recommended for before, during and after training, although there are other moments when this may be important. Extra BCAAs can be taken throughout the day, which will further promote protein synthesis and decrease muscle damage.
They should be taken as soon as possible when undertaking physical effort. Taking into account that the main foods containing BCAAs are meat and dairy products, vegetarians and vegans should buy branched amino acids in the form of dietary supplements.
Doses of branched chain amino acids
Several studies have shown that f 4 - 8g of BCAAs before training and 4-8 grammes after, help to enhance muscle development.
Taking BCAAs with a post-workout drink or a recovery beverage accelerates muscle recovery processes and prevents over-training.
Who is taking BCAAs important for?
Athletes or sportsmen doing strength or weight-training sports
Athletes doing endurance sports
People who are under physical or mental stress
Vegetarians or vegans
Patients with muscle weakness
Patients on a diet
Do BCAAs have side-effects or interactions?
There are no known side effects or interactions for BCAAs.
Expert opinions regarding branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs
According to experts the intake of BCAAs when undergoing activities involving a physical or mental overstrain is recommended. Taking BCAAs supplements for vegetarians, vegans and people who follow special diets is also advisable.
You can buy branched-chain amino acids at many establishments specialising in sports nutrition.
At the HSNstore we have an extensive range where you can find the best brands in the industry.
BCAAs in powder form or capsules, flavoured or neutral, enriched with glutamine or isolated, with ratios of 2:1:1, 4:1:1, 12:1:1. Choose the product that best suits your needs!