BCAAs Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Whenever you eat protein, your body converts the protein into basic amino acids so you may absorb and utilize them. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and muscle growth, and the amino acids you get from protein sources are referred to as Essential Amino Acids (EAA). L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine three of the most important Branched Chain Amino acids, or BCAAs. They are called Branched-chain amino acids because of their unique "branched" chemical structure.  BCAAs are among the nine essential amino acids for humans. Branched-chain amino acids make up 35% of our muscle tissue and must be present in order for muscle growth to take place. BCAAs are known to enhance muscle growth and strength by directly stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Your body itself cannot make Branched-chain amino acids; they must be provided by the diet, and that’s another reason why BCAA supplementation is so important. 

The reason L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine are special aminos is because of how they are handled in the body.  Most amino acids go directly to the liver after being digested, where they can be broken down and used as energy if needed by the body.  On the other hand, BCAAs tend to bypass the liver and go directly to the muscles where they are used as fuel. This is crucial for helping to strengthen, build and repair muscle tissue that has been stressed by weight training.

Besides being used as a direct fuel source for muscle fibers, BCAAs also enhance energy by reducing the amount of amino acid tryptophan that gets into the brain. Tryptophan produces a metabolite known as serotonin.  During exercise, serotonin notifies the brain that the body is fatigued and causes it to reduce muscle strength and endurance.  BCAAs, namely valine, compete with tryptophan for entry into the brain, lowering the amount of tryptophan that gets into the brain, and therefore lowers the amount of fatigue you feel.  Supplement with BCAAs and finish your long intense workouts because you might not fatigue as quickly.

Of all the benefits that BCAAs offer, the most interesting is their ability to enhance muscle growth and strength by directly stimulating muscle protein synthesis.  High levels of BCAAs in the blood help conserve stores of glutamine, a nonessential, but major amino acid that assists in muscle growth.  Branched-chain amino acids serve as a significant fuel source for skeletal muscle during periods of metabolic stress. If you are exercising intensely, you are experiencing metabolic stress. When the body is under stress, BCAAs act directly on muscle cells and promote protein synthesis (muscle growth)–the goal of all bodybuilders. BCAAs also help to prevent muscle breakdown by acting as a readily available fuel source for hard-working muscles during intense exercise.

BCAAs also work to enhance muscle growth and strength by altering levels of anabolic and catabolic hormones. One anabolic hormone BCAAs boost is insulin. This is primarily caused by leucine, and it leads to further enhancement of muscle protein synthesis.  BCAAs have also been found to increase levels of growth hormone. 

When it comes to BCAAs, timing is crucial. To gain more muscle mass, strength and energy, the most critical time for taking BCAAs is around your workouts. For best results, take one dose 30 minutes before your workouts along with your pre-workout protein shake, and another dose 30 minutes after workouts along with your post-workout protein shake.

 Supplementing with BCAAs before and after workouts keeps cortisol levels low, which encourages greater muscle growth. A dose of BCAAs right before workouts will provide your muscles with the energy they need to stave off fatigue throughout the workout.  Taking BCAAs around your workout will also help to decrease the muscle soreness which results from intense training.

 Another critical window for taking BCAAs is as soon as you wake up in the morning. This dose gets the amino immediately to your muscles to use as fuel and for repair, which will stop the continued breakdown of your hard-earned muscle from your night-long fasting, and help build it back up.

The fourth time of day you should take a dose of BCAAs is late in the day with dinner or with your last meal. This helps to keep protein synthesis and GH up, and cortisol down throughout the next day.

You may also want to consider taking additional doses of BCAAs between meals to keep hunger down and metabolism up for optimal fat burning. When and how you take your BCAAs has a major impact on their muscle-building effects. On the following page, I have listed the times of day that you should supplement with BCAAs, and the benefit for supplementing at each time period.




Benefits of BCAAs base on when they are taken are as followed:


 • Helps stop the breakdown of muscle from the night-long fast

• Helps boost energy

• Helps reduce hunger


  Between meals

 • Helps boost energy

• Helps reduce hunger


  Last meal of the day

 • Helps reduce hunger

• Helps reduce muscle breakdown during the night

• Helps promote fat burning


 Before workout

• Helps boost energy

• Promotes muscle strength

• Promotes fat burning


 After workout

• Assists in muscle recovery

• Helps promote muscle growthType your paragraph here.