Branched-Chain Amino Acids BCAA

I always recommend to my clients to take BCAA’s before or during the workout. Your goal can be to build lean muscle mass, fat loss or increase the cardio capacity, the BCAA’s will help to improve your fitness level and this is why help to achieve your goal. In recent years, branched-chain amino acid supplements have made a comeback in the bodybuilding and fitness communities, and with good reason.

What are BCAA’s?

There are 20 different amino acids that make up the thousands of different proteins in the human body. Nine of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet.

The three proteinogenic BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are among the nine essential amino acids for humans, accounting for 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins and 40% of the preformed amino acids required by mammals. Synthesis for BCAAs occurs in all locations of plants, within the plastids of the cell, as determined by presence of mRNAs which encode for enzymes in the metabolic pathway.

BCAA’s and performance

BCAA’s have been proposed to benefit performance in several ways:

  • stimulant for muscle protein synthesis – increase muscle growth
  • prevent muscle protein breakdown
  • reduce markers of exercise induced muscle damage
  • fuel source for muscles during exercise
  • reducing the synthesis of serotonin thereby reducing feelings of fatigue
  • improve health in people with cirrhosis, a chronic disease in which the liver does not function properly

BCAA’s dosage

Research protocols have used a wide range of dosing strategies however, to get the maximal benefits for muscle protein synthesis and recovery via leucine, a dose of BCAA’s that provides about 2-3 g leucine (this can vary depending on the brand) is suggested.

BCAA’s before, after or during the workout

You can’t take the BCAA’s in a wrong time. But if you want to enjoy the real benefit of this Branched-Chain Amino Acids take it before the workout in 15-20 minutes or a bigger dose during the workout. I usually take 4 tablets of my favorite BCAA’s before the workout to be ready in my blood stream, to fuel source for muscles during exercise. During the day, specially when I stand a lot and I can’t eat for 3-4 hours I always drink a dose of my favorite BCAA’s drink to prevent muscle protein breakdown.

Csaba Serak