Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) consist of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs have been proven in many studies to be effective in improving workout performance.
Benefits of BCAAs
- BCAAs enhance protein synthesis. They help build muscle. They also reduce protein breakdown and muscle loss that can occur with dieting or when you take time off from exercise or training.
- If you are on a fat loss diet, BCAAs seem to speed up the loss of fat by saving glycogen and increasing insulin sensitivity. While fat loss diets can break down muscle, BCAAs preserve muscles.
- BCAAs can also help reduce muscle soreness. They reduce the effects of muscle damage from exercise, and they repair muscle damage and stimulate growth.
- BCAAs can also have a beneficial effect on anabolic hormone release. Normally, testosterone levels will increase during a strenuous workout and then fall back to normal levels right afterwards. However, if you take BCAAs prior to working out, your testosterone level will remain high for several hours after you finish your workout.
- BCAAs can also improve your workout intensity because they inhibit the amount of tryptophan that enters the brain while you are working out. Tryptophan causes serotonin to be produced in the brain, and serotonin causes fatigue. Block the tryptophan and reduce the serotonin, and you can work out harder and longer.
Most amino acids are metabolized in the liver. However, BCAAs are metabolized in the muscles. This allows them to be used as a quick energy source when your muscles need it, especially during extensive and intensive workouts. Since the body requires more energy during workouts, BCAAs are very effective when taken before, during, and especially after your workout sessions.
Sources of BCAAs
The body cannot make these amino acids; you must ingest them through food or supplements. Foods containing protein, such as chicken, beef, eggs, salmon, tuna, roasted peanuts, and whey protein, are rich in BCAAs. While you can get most of your BCAAs from food, especially if you include whey protein in your diet, this may not be the best course of action if you work out strenuously.
Food has to be digested in order to release the BCAAs into your bloodstream. BCAA supplements do not have to be digested by the liver or intestines. So, the BCAAs in oral supplements reach the muscles much more quickly than the BCAAs in food. This enables you to time your intake of BCAAs to match your body’s needs.
BCAAs appear to be safe for most adults. They are available in powder form without a prescription. You can also take BCAA pills, but the quantity required for successful results is quite high. It is easier to use the powdered form as your supplement. As with all supplements, it is important to choose high quality supplements such as our Tokkyo BCAA Stack. Our proprietary formula combines the purest BCAAs with glutamine for your best results.
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