Throughout the course of your work out the muscular tissue in your body is breaking down and getting fatigued. Are there ways to combat this? Yup! I would say most people that are serious about their gym time, in some form or fashion supplement BCAA’s pre, intra or post workout. Well, what are BCAA’s?
BCAA’s or branched chain amino acids include the three key amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, which is what your body uses to make proteins. Amino acids fall into two categories, essential and non-essential, what separates the two categories is your body’s ability to produce them. Like the name implies, essential amino acids are ones which our bodies are unable to produce and need to acquire them from outside sources. Non-essential amino acids are ones that the body can create on its own.
Out of the total amount of amino acids in our bodies, BCAAs make up about 40% of all essential amino acids present in our bodies, which includes about 20% found in our muscles. BCAAs are mostly broken down in the muscle rather than in the liver like other amino acids. Due to this fact, BCAAs have been thought to play a significant role in energy production during exercise. Other benefits they provide include that our bodies can use them to build proteins and muscle. Also, they can help reduce the fatigue you feel during your workout by limiting the amount of serotonin being produced in your brain. By lowering blood levels of certain enzymes like creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, which are involved in muscle damage, BCAAs can provide protection against these enzymes and improve recovery.
Out of the three BCAA’s, leucine is the most important. Why? Well, there have been numerous studies done that show how leucine helps our bodies synthesize protein, which gives more shape, strength to our bodies and a higher metabolism. Sounds great right? How much do I need?!
On average, the daily requirement for women is roughly 9 grams and men 12 grams of BCAAs at a minimum. However, if you are active in the gym or an athlete it has been found up to 20 grams per day can be beneficial for you. Most people who include sufficient protein foods in their diets more than likely do not need to supplement extra BCAAs.
Natural Sources of BCAAs: