The Truth About BCAAs
BCAAs - Good or Bad??
Anyone who’s been in the health and fitness world for more than 5 minutes has
heard of branched-chain-amino-acids (or BCAAs for short)!!!
Some swear by it, whilst others say it’s a waste of money!
But What’s The Damm Truth Man????!!!!
So, What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. In other words, protein is made up of amino acids! The body breaks down protein to amino acids with the help of enzymes. Once absorbed, the amino acids are stored
(This is called the ‘amino acid pool’).
They consequently come together to form protein within the body.
Essential vs Non-Essential Amino Acids
Essential Amino Acids
EAAs cannot be made by the body, and must be ingested via food.
Dietary protein provides us with these EAAs. The non-EAAs,
however, can be made within our bodies and hence do not require
protein to make them.
Non-Essential Amino Acids
We have 20 amino acids.
Out of the 20 amino acids, 9 of them
are ‘essential amino acids’ (EAAs).
The rest are non-essential amino acids.
.....SO, THAT BRINGS US TO BCAAs.....
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) consist of 3 EAAs that play a vital role in muscle growth.
These EAAs are called ‘leucine,’ ‘isoleucine,’ and ‘valine.’
‘Leucine’ is the principal amino acid responsible for muscle growth!
What Are The of BCAAs?
- Reduce Physical and Mental Fatigue During Exercise.
- Increased Strength and Muscle Size.
- Increase Energy Levels During Workout.
- Inhibit Muscle Breakdown (esp. during fasting).
BCAAs are present in all protein containing foods. You can get a lot of BCAAs from your diet and whey protein.
In fact if you have a high protein diet and/or you’re taking whey protein, you don’t need BCAAs.
BUT DO WE REALLY NEED BCAAs?
As you can see from the above table, BCAAs have a range of benefits, but they are expensive and, if you’re already taking ‘whey protein’ on a regular basis, then you don’t need to take BCAAs since whey protein already contains ample amounts of BCAAs, but is much cheaper (in most cases).
If you’re training fasted on a regular basis, however, you’re more likely to break down more muscle than normal at a quicker rate.
In these cases, it’s a good idea to take a BCAA before and after training.
CAN I GET BCAAs FROM FOOD?
You don’t necessarily need to supplement with
whey protein or BCAAs to get leucine, isoleucine, or valine.
Natural Sources of BCAAs
Natural Sources of BCAAs
CHICKEN, BEEF, PORK, LAMB, GOAT,
CHEESE, MILK, FISH, EGGS.
ALMONDS, LENTILS, NUTS, SOYBEANS, BEANS, CASHEWS, PEANUTS, CHICKPEAS, SESAME SEEDS.
HOW MANY BCAAs DO I NEED?
15-20g per day.
5-8g pre- and post workout.
12g per day.
3-5g pre- and post workout.