THE MEANING OF BCAA
What do your bones, hair, skin, nails, and blood have in common...PROTEIN!
Every cell and tissue in our bodies contain proteins. Anytime you consume a protein, your digestive system breaks it down into smaller units known as amino acids. Once broken down, amino acids are reabsorbed into cells and tissues.
Why does your body need amino acids? How many types are there?
Here’s what you need to know:
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins; without which you can’t survive. You must get them from food; eating a balanced diet helps.
There are 20 known protein building blocks; 9 essential amino acids and 11 non-essential amino acids.
The nine essential amino acids include lysine, histidine, leucine, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, and valine.
Of the nine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are branched-chain amino acids (BCCAs).
You can get them from either plant-based or animal-based sources.
We'll go over 7 benefits that plant-based BCAAs have on your body:
- Improves Exercise Performance and Endurance
- Aids in Weight Management
- Promotes Muscle Protein Synthesis
- Improves Brain and Cognitive Functions
- Boosts The Immune System
- Facilitate Glucose Metabolism
- Promotes Liver Metabolism
IMPROVES EXERCISE PERFORMANCE AND ENDURANCE
Taking branched-chain amino acids before a workout promotes oxygen transportation in cells.
Adequate oxygen circulation increases your energy levels as you exercise.
Isoleucine and leucine-enriched supplements decrease muscle soreness and injuries.
In a study conducted to establish the effects of leucine on muscle damage, the results were:
- The participants who took leucine-rich supplements had lower levels of creatine kinase activity (leakage of muscle proteins into the bloodstream because of tissue damage)
- Those who took placebo supplements witnessed no changes
When combined with electrolytes, branched-chain amino acids keep you well hydrated.
Electrolytes are vital minerals such as sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphate that help to sustain hydration and muscle contractions in the body.
A combination of branched-chain amino acids supplements and electrolytes that we source from Pink Himalayan Sea Salt work to:
- Replenish minerals which reduce when you sweat
- Facilitate muscle contractions preventing injuries in any resistance exercise
- Sustain normal blood pH levels
- Activate new muscle tissue growth
AIDS IN WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Plant-based branched-chain amino acids have lower calorie content than animal-based ones.
Statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that 1 cup of soy contains 8 calories, whereas 1 cup of pork meat has 40 calories.
Consuming a low-calorie diet reduces your daily caloric intake, hence is beneficial.
Branched-chain amino acid supplements (BCAAs) promote weight loss by stimulating the production of acetic acid; known to dissolve and reduce fat deposits in your body’s organs.
Consuming BCAAs with vitamin 6 increases the breakdown of fat; crucial for maintaining a lean body composition, minimizing obesity, and overweight cases in individuals.
Leucine plays a role in suppressing appetite by activating nutrient-sensing cells in the brain. The brain then limits hunger transmission and suppresses food cravings. Fewer cravings mean less eating, which promotes weight loss.
PROMOTES MUSCLE PROTEIN SYNTHESIS
Muscle protein production is a constant biological process in the body. Protein synthesis minimizes muscle protein breakdown and loss.
For human muscle growth to work, you need an adequate intake of amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks that increase muscle mass and synthesis.
Leucine, in particular, stands out among the essential amino acids needed to increase muscle protein synthesis. Leucine:
- Stimulates build-up of new muscle protein
- Increases muscle strength and gain in anorexic patients
- Repairs and builds muscle mass. Your muscle mass increases when muscle protein growth is higher than muscle protein breakdown.
- Enhances skeletal muscle growth and decreases muscle breakdown content because of aging.
- Reduces muscle wasting caused by sepsis, cancer, burns, and trauma.
- Sustains overall skeletal muscle health and longevity.
For athletes recovering from endurance training, consuming an amino acid infusion containing high levels of leucine activates the metabolic pathway of cells.
Sending signals increases muscle protein synthesis. By including the other amino acids, valine and isoleucine, activation reaches an optimal peak.
As much as you know the importance of leucine, understanding how to consume it is also crucial.
In a study conducted to determine how essential amino acids aid in building muscle and muscle protein production, results showed that:
- Participants who consumed leucine in whey protein showed no improvement in post-workout recovery of muscle cells.
- Those who consumed leucine in casein protein showed increased stimulation of muscle cell recovery.
BCAAS IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION
Branched-chain amino acids facilitate protein and energy production in the brain.
Dietary BCAAs get transported and absorbed directly into the brain and other organs.
Frequent intake of BCAA supplements increases their plasma concentration and absorption in the brain.
BCAA absorption in the brain helps to secrete neurotransmitter hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin.
For athletes and dedicated gym-goers, constant intake of protein supplements like our natural BCAA regulates levels of hormones, such as serotonin, cortisol, and testosterone.
Isoleucine and leucine both play an important role in hormonal balance. Serotonin levels decrease after a vigorous workout, causing fatigue.
Replenishing your brain with branched-chain amino acids helps you to:
- Remain in peak performance
- Reduce mood swings and stress
- Regulate optimal blood levels in brain cells
- Enhance mental concentration and cognitive performance
BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Your immune system is crucial in protecting you from disease-causing pathogens. Examples of pathogens are viruses, parasites, bacteria, and fungi.
Branched-chain amino acids improve the immune system as they:
- Induce antibody production. Antibodies are your body’s defense system.
- Promote lymphocyte (immune cells) multiplication and growth. Lymphocytes are white blood cells found in lymph tissues and blood.
Studies conducted on human subjects who have undergone surgery reveal that chain amino acids:
- Promote better post-surgery recovery
- Replenish white cell production for faster wound healing
For athletes, branched-chain amino acid dietary supplements can reduce the effects of inflammatory-causing protein secretions known as cytokines.
Among the three branched-chain amino acids, isoleucine has antibacterial properties that reduce inflammation and protect the gut from bacterial infections.
BCAA dietary supplementation for sepsis patients drastically reduces the mortality rate by increasing nitrogen balance in the bloodstream.
Small portions of BCAA supplements added to oral solutions for children decrease diarrhea and loose stool.
STIMULATES GLUCOSE METABOLIM IN THE LIVER
Besides detoxifying your body, the liver serves to synthesize glycogen (stored glucose).
Branched-chain amino acids transport glucose to the liver to facilitate synthesis.
Leucine and isoleucine stimulate glucose metabolism in the liver by deactivating enzymes that prevent glucose synthesis.
Leucine works with carbohydrates to promote insulin secretion in the pancreas.
Insulin increases glucose uptake in muscle, fat, and blood cells. Glucose uptake in cells prevents insulin resistance and maintains energy levels.
Insulin regulates blood sugar (glucose) levels. During fasting or between meals, glucose depletion in cells occurs. Insulin reverses this by releasing glucose to the cells.
VALINE AND LEUCINE PROMOTE LIVER METABOLISM
Continuous usage of branched-chain amino acids protects you from liver disease. Valine and leucine help to:
- Reverse abnormal liver cell breakdown
- Reduce liver tissue inflammation
- Increase cell growth and quick recovery after liver surgery
Research suggests that decreased BCAA levels cause hepatic encephalopathy; a neurological condition caused by toxin build-up in the brain. When the liver is diseased and unable to detoxify the body, toxins accumulate in the bloodstream.
Consumption of branched-chain amino acids improves liver function by reducing tissue scarring (liver cirrhosis). Think of them as threads that help patch up your liver. In addition, BCAA supplementation reduces the progression of liver cancer.
Intake of leucine amino acid also helps to decrease levels of ammonia in the bloodstream.
High levels of ammonia in the liver slip into the bloodstream, causing neurological disorders like seizures.
Besides reducing the chances of liver disease, taking BCAA supplements regulates urea levels. Urea is simply the filtered waste from the kidneys. Both low and high urea levels prevent normal kidney function and eventually cause renal failure.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLANT-BASED AND ANIMAL-BASED BCAAS?
You’ve probably come across both plant-based and non-plant BCAAs stocked in health stores. Before buying your next batch, consider the following differences, as shown in this table:
|PLANT BASED BCAA||ANIMAL BASED BCAA|
|Plant-based BCAAs are costlier because of high production costs.||Non-plant BCAAs are readily available in the market.|
|Plant-based BCAAs come from fermented plants.||Non-plant BCAAs come from animal by-products such as feathers, hair, and skin.|
|Some contain allergens. Before purchasing plant-based BCAAs, verify the contents. Opt for non-GMO, natural ones.||Some contain artificial colorings and flavors to improve taste.|
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT ARE BCAAS?
BCAAS are short for Branched-Chain Amino Acids. Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are the three essential amino acids that make up BCAAs.
WHAT DO BCAAS DO?
BCAAS are the building blocks of protein and muscle. They promote muscle protein synthesis, increase energy and metabolism, and support muscle recovery.
WHEN TO TAKE BCAAS?
BCAAs should be taken 10-20 minutes prior to or during your workout. Added electrolytes from pink Himalayan salt make ATH BCAAs the perfect intra-workout drink.
HOW MUCH BCAAS SHOULD I TAKE?
Research shows that consuming a daily dose of 10-15 grams of BCAA supplements provides optimal results.
BCAAs for Men: Minimum of 15 grams per day.
BCAAs for Women: Minimum of 10 grams per day.
HOW MANY TIMES A DAY SHOULD I DRINK BCAAS?
We recommend using BCAA's 1-2 times a day.
It's best consumed prior to or during your training.
CAN I ADD BCAAS TO MY PRE?
YES! BCAAs can be added to your PRE 2.0.
BCCAs provide the amino acids needed to support your muscles and training, while PRE 2.0 will give you 100mg of clean energy.
IS IT OKAY TO TAKE BCAA BEFORE BED?
Since BCAA's have been shown to decrease cortisol levels and increase growth hormone levels, it can be beneficial to take BCAA's before bed.
Both Cortisol and Growth Hormone play important roles during sleep.
BCAA supplements are simply the best option for individuals and fitness professionals considering to improve strength, build-up damaged muscle, achieve weight loss, and improve performance.