Anyone who has ever lifted weights knows that protein helps build and repair muscle tissue. Amino acids are actually the building blocks of protein and are vital for muscle growth. Did you know that there are actually 20 different amino acids? Eleven of these amino acids are considered non-essential since your own body can manufacture them, and 9 of them are essential and must be consumed through diet and supplementation.
When your body is extremely active such as weight lifting or playing an intense sport you create a higher demand for amino acids and protein in your body. This is why people who train frequently and lift weights will supplement with protein powder’s and amino acids.
Out of all 20 of the amino acids that your body uses, none are more important for muscle building and repair than the BCAA’s. Branched chained amino acids are actually comprised of 3 different essential amino acids. These essential amino acids that comprise BCAA’s are valine, leucine, and isoleucine. So what can supplementing BCAA’s do for your muscle building and athletic performance? Let’s look into BCAA’s and discuss their numerous benefits.
Energy Source during your Workout
One of the many benefits to BCAA’s are they can be used for an added boost during an intense workout. Many people will supplement with BCAA’s before and during intense exercise for an added performance boost. According to the Book Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition, “BCAA’s serve as precursors for the synthesis of glutamine and alanine, two amino acids that are used up rapidly and in large quantities during intense exercise. Isoleucine and valine are used as a direct source of energy during exercise.” BCAA’s will not only provide your body with a direct energy source but will aid with other bodily functions that will result in added performance.
Prevents Muscle Protein Breakdown
One of the major benefits to BCAA supplementation is that it prevents muscle protein breakdown. This has many benefits such as keeping your body from going in a state of catabolism, and faster post workout recovery.
When you supplement with BCAA’s your muscle damage will be less severe and you will be able to recover quicker and more efficiently. This has been tested thoroughly by many researchers. If you train intensely and break down a lot of muscle tissue during your workout it is vital that you supplement with BCAA’s to give your body the best chance to repair and re grow bigger and stronger.
BCAA supplementation has been shown to prevent your body from entering a state of catabolism, even when on a calorie restricted diet. If you are cutting your calories and don’t want to lose lean muscle mass supplementing with BCAA’s is crucial. This will prevent your body from losing hard-earned lean muscle mass and entering a state of catabolism where your body will use its own lean muscle tissue for energy sources.
Protein Synthesis and Muscle Growth
BCAA supplementation can help with protein synthesis and new muscle growth. According to the book Nutrient Timing: Advanced Sports Nutrition “Leucine is one of the most potent nutrient activators in relation to muscle growth. It can help amplify muscle protein synthesis.”
This can be done by its ability to stimulate insulin release from your pancreas. After an intense workout your muscle cells have increased insulin sensitivity – so the supplementation of BCAA’s can initiate muscle protein synthesis and aid in muscle growth.