Sports Nutrition – What Are BCAA’s

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BCAAs have become one of the most widely recognised supplements in the fitness and sports nutrition world. If however, you still find yourself wondering exactly what this supplement is and why it’s so popular, don’t worry – we’re about to explain all.

What are BCAAs?

BCAAs stands for branched chain amino acids, which are made up of three essential amino acids –  leucine, isoleucine, and valine. When we say these are essential amino acids, we mean that the body cannot produce them, and so these amino acids have to be obtained from dietary sources and/or supplements. BCAAs are popular among athletes and gym goers, as they promote muscle protein synthesis – meaning they aid muscle growth over time. Valine has a stimulant effect, leucine triggers muscle growth and Isoleucine aids glucose uptake into cells.

When should I take BCAAs?

The body can get BCAAS from foods containing protein, such as fish, meat and eggs, but if you are planning on increasing your training and therefore require heightened levels of protein intake, taking BCAA supplements on a daily basis is suggested.

Supplements can also help to reduce rates of fatigue in newcomer athletes, so if you are just getting started on your fitness journey, adding BCAAs into your diet sooner than later can be beneficial. Most experts suggest taking these supplements as a pre- or post-workout supplement on a daily basis, by either adding it to shakes, water, or fruit juice. If you want to bulk up through training, you may wish to have BCAAs first thing in order to combat muscle breakdown that occurs during hours of sleep. This is ideal for those who are looking to build mass, as well as those novice athletes mentioned earlier.

Benefits of BCAAs

There are numerous benefits of BCAAs, key among them being a reduction in serotonin.

Serotonin can increase the perception of fatigue, which can in turn reduce the intensity of your workout. BCAA supplements limit the amount of tryptophan entering the brain, and as this causes a spike serotonin, ingesting BCAA can help you put in a more powerful workout for longer. For this reason, many athletes will take BCAA supplements ahead of a workout to feel less tired and put in a more energetic performance. BCAAs also increase the rate of protein synthesis, which means your muscles can repair at a faster rate. The quicker the recovery time, the more work you can put in, which means more muscle growth in the long run. BCAAs have also been shown to reduce muscle soreness, which can also help to reduce the recovery time between workouts.

Whether you’re a newcomer on the fitness scene or are looking for a way to increase your current workout efforts, BCAA supplements are an effective and targeted way of getting the results you want.

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