What are BCAA's?
BCAA's, or branched chain amino acids is the name given to the group of three of the 22 amino acids - leucine, isoleucine and valine. Amino acids are the elements which make up protein, some well-known ones are glutamine, taurine and arginine. BCAA's are part of the essential amino acid (EAA) group of nine amino acids, which means that the human body cannot produce them by itself, and they need to be taken in as part of the diet.
Where can I get BCAA's from?
BCAA's make up an element of most protein sources, and differ in ratio depending on the source of the protein. Chicken, for example, is high in protein, and high in BCAA's, as are other high protein foods such as beef, eggs and milk. Protein powders are extremely high in BCAA's, especially since their protein content can be as high as 90% or more. Of course, BCAA supplements also provide BCAA's in different amounts and can easily boost your intake.
What are BCAA's Benefits?
There are a vast number of benefits to BCAA intake as years of research studies have uncovered. Each amino - leucine, isoleucine and valine has its own specific benefits, and here are the main advantages of taking extra branched chain amino acids:
- Less bodyfat
- More muscle
- Faster recovery
- Better athletic performance
- Increased testosterone production
- Less muscle soreness
- More muscle protection against breakdown
- Better oxygen transport through the blood
Who Should Use BCAA's?
Branched chain amino acids are excellent for anyone who is looking to boost their exercise performance or recovery ability.
When to Take BCAA's
BCAA's are best taken at times when the body needs them to grow and recover. This means around your workouts or first thing in the morning. Immediately before, during and immediately after your workouts your body breaks down muscle energy to use to fuel your workouts or to recover from them, while first thing in the morning your body has broken down amino acids during sleep and needs them as soon as possible to begin recovering from the fast.
Research has used different amounts of branched chain amino acids in studies, so each supplement will be offering a different amount of BCAAs based on the research it has used in development. Anywhere between 3g and 20g of branched chain amino acids has been shown in research to have significant benefits, though generally around 10-12g of BCAA's per serve is a recommended and widely used amount.
What are the Best BCAA Supplements?
There are literally hundreds of BCAA supplements available today - pretty much every supplement company has one (or more) on the market. When looking for a BCAA supplement, one that is high in leucine will provide maximum muscle growth benefits, while the addition of electrolytes and glutamine also helps in recovery and restoration of fluids.
- Inner Armour BCAA Peak - With the highest ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine on the market currently (12:1:1), BCAA Peak provides enough of that key element to significantly boost muscle growth. With 9.7g of amino acids per serve, BCAA Peak is an excellent choice.
- BSN Amino X - Also with 10g of amino acids per serve, but including citrulline and taurine, BSN Amino X is another excellent blend of ingredients which utilise and promote the advantages of BCAA supplementation. In the mix, also, is 2g of electrolytes and minerals for enhanced recovery abililty.
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