BCAA stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids. BCAA supplementation is recommended to prevent the negative effects BCAA depletion. Consuming enough calories and protein usually helps maintain the amount of BCAA in your body. Although excessive amount of BCAA will not cause significant effects on muscle growth, consuming BCAA can give you many benefits you can’t ignore.
What is BCAA?
BCAA is composed of some amino acids. Simply put, it is the building block of muscle. Each gram of protein you eat will be turned into amino acids such that your body can absorb and use it. Some of them are naturally made by your body. This kind of amino acids is called non-essential amino acids. Some others cannot be made by your body. You can only get them by consuming foods that contain protein.
There are 9 essential amino acids: leucine, histidine, isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine, methionine, tryptophan, threonine, and valine. Furthermore, BCAA is composed of three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAA is a chain of amino acids used to build muscle. The non-essential amino acids are arginine, alanine, aspartic acid, cysteine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, hydroxyproline, glycine, serine, and tyrosine.
What are the functions of BCAA?
Thirty five percent of our muscle tissue is made of BCAA. Furthermore, BCAA is required for normal brain functioning and hormone release. BCAA is best consumed when you work out to prevent catabolic condition. When you work out, your body runs out of glycogen. Taking BCAA will signal your body to stop synthesizing protein in the muscles and reverse the catabolic process. Simply put, a high level of BCAA is the sign of excessive muscle breakdown. Upon taking BCAA, your body will sense high levels of BCAA in your bloodstream and stop synthesizing protein in the muscles.
Although there are many foods that contain BCAA, we can be depleted of BCAA during an intensive workout. BCAA depletion can potentially lead to catabolism which is disadvantageous for those who are trying to build more muscle mass. Taking 4-8 grams of BCAA before and after workout is good enough to prevent catabolism. Less amount of amino acids supplementation can be effective against catabolism but to promote faster recovery and better performance more amount is recommended.
BCAA may help build muscle by decreasing the chance of protein breakdown in the muscles and increasing protein synthesis to build muscle. BCAA supplementation is also effective to boost immunity because the high levels of BCAA will prevent the body from taking glutamine from your body.