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BCAAs – Everything You Need To Know

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Overview

What Are BCAAs | What Do BCAAs Do? | When To Take BCAA Supplements – Science-Based Evidence | Benefits Of BCAAs | Who Should Take It? | Foods That Are High In BCAAs | Side Effects Of BCAAs? | The Bottom Line |

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What Is BCAAs?

BCAAs stand for Branched chained amino acids. They are called branched, because of their structure. It includes a side chain of one carbon atom and 3 hydrogen atoms. The three BCAAs are:

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  1. Leucine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Valine 
BCAAs

They account for around a third of essential amino acids in muscle protein. What this means is that if no amino acids, in general, are important for muscle growth. These three BCAAs are key players when you want to promote muscle protein synthesis.

Because BCAAs are so important to muscle tissue and they also help to keep your blood sugar level at constant.

What Do BCAAs Do?

Studies have shown that BCAAs and BCAAs supplementation can do certain benefits to your body.

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Since BCAAs are high in leucine – that is vital to muscle growth supplementation can promote muscle protein synthesis and increase muscle growth over time.

It can also prevent fatigue in beginners. Other studies have shown that it can improve your immunity by proving energy and helping in the synthesis of new cells.

BCCAs also reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. This means you suffer less muscle soreness and get better long term muscle function and growth.

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These findings are based on studies with people who were not consuming enough protein. Meaning not providing daily protein needs to your body.

When To Take BCAA Supplements – Science-Based Evidence 

There’s small research comparing the benefits of taking BCAAs or other protein supplements at one time over another, such as before exercise versus after exercise.

Here’s an abstract of the evidence on BCAA supplement timing.

Before or After Exercise

Only one small, preliminary study has examined the effect of taking a BCAA supplement before exercise to taking it after exercise.

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In the study, young men took 10 grams of BCAAs before a strengthening workout for their non-dominant arm. They experienced less muscle soreness after exercise and lower blood markers of muscle damage than those who took the BCAAs later the arm exercise.

The only other study possibly available for comparison is one that gave athletic men 25 grams of whey protein isolate (providing 5.5 grams of BCAAs) either right before or right after their weight-lifting workouts for ten weeks.

In this study, both groups had the same improvements in body structure and strength.

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Based on the accessible evidence, it’s uncertain that it makes a difference whether you take BCAAs before or after resistance (weight training) practice.

During Exercise

Taking BCAAs during workouts has been studied a little in endurance training, such as cycling and distance running (jogging/sprinting).

When 193 men taking part in a marathon were given 16 grams of BCAAs during the event, they didn’t run any faster than men given a placebo. A placebo looks exactly like a real drug. But it is made of an inactive substance, such as a starch or sugar. Placebos are now used only in research studies

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Additionally, research in cyclists has failed to show an enhancement/improvement in physical performance from taking BCAAs during endurance exercise, though the supplements may aid reduce mental/muscle fatigue.

Fasted State Workout

If you are the type of person who workout in a fasted state, taking BCAAs will avoid excess muscle breakdown. Example- working out first thing in the morning should take.

Because when you exercise in fasted state muscle breakdown is increased and too much muscle breakdown will hurt your muscle growth over time.

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You can also eat something but it will break your fast. And we don’t want that. BCAAs do not break your fast. Also, it has a very low impact on the insulin level.

A window of Time to Take BCAAs

BCAA levels in your blood peak 30 minutes after consuming the supplement, but studies have yet to conclude the optimal time to take them.

Despite the long-held theory that you have about 45–60 minutes after exercise to get maximum muscle-building benefits from consuming protein, newer research suggests this window of time may be as wide as five hours after exercise.

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Moreover, if you have eaten a meal or taken a protein supplement 1–2 hours before exercise, then the timing of post-exercise BCAAs or other protein supplements may be less powerful/useful.

BCAA supplements are convenient enough that it’s simple to consume them before or after a workout or in the intra-workout if you feel it makes a difference for you.

Benefits Of BCAAs

  • Delay Fatigue During Prolonged Exercise
  • Improve Aerobic and Anaerobic Performance When Taken Regularly
  • Fortify the Immune System
  • Protect Lean Muscle (Insurance for your Muscles!)
  • Promote Muscle Protein Synthesis
  • Reduce Exercise-Induced Muscle Soreness and Damage
  • May enhance weight loss
  • Benefits people with liver disease

We are working on BCAA’s benefits in detail. Till then enjoy the rest article.

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Who Should Take It?

After reading this I am sure you may have an idea who can take BCAA supplement.

  1. Anyone who wants energy while doing a workout
  2. Who wants to build muscle
  3. Anyone who wants to increase their workout time. But because of a lack of energy, they are not able to increase their time of work-out.
  4. Instead of Glucon-D, glucose or you can call them sugar drinks, you can take BCAA.
  5. Want some tasty drink with health benefits while doing a workout.
  6. Before taking any supplements consult doctor/coach/expert.

If you want to take complete food sensitivity test then click here

How Much Should You Take It?

5-10 grams before, after, or in intra-workout. While working hour if you feel like you don’t have enough energy then you should take it in intra-workout. If you want more energy in your workout session then you should take it before and the same applies for after a workout.

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Foods That Are High In BCAA

  1. Lean meat
  2. Eggs
  3. Dairy products
  4. Whey protein supplements
  5. Beef
  6. Chicken
  7. Fish
  8. Baked beans
  9. Lima beans
  10. Chickpeas
  11. Lentils
  12. Whole wheat
  13. Brown rice
  14. Almonds
  15. Brazil nuts
  16. Cashews.

Side Effects Of BCAAs?

There are no side effects of BCAAs when taken in moderation. Like they say anything in moderation is good and anything in excess is bad. Even an excessive amount of water is also harmful to the body.

There are some side effects when you take too much of BCAAs through supplementation.

  1. Can lead to an increase in plasma ammonia levels. When you take 60 grams per day!
  2. Can cause nausea.
  3. BCAAs can interfere with some drugs which may cause an increase or decrease in their effectiveness. Always consume good quality and trusted sources. Don’t worry at the end of this article I will link some of the best BCAAs supplements for you.

In Brief

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids:

  • Leucine 
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

They are essential, meaning our body does not produce then and must be obtained from food/supplementation.

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BCAA supplements have been shown to build muscle, gives energy, decrease muscle fatigue, aids in weight loss, and alleviate muscle soreness.

They have also successfully been used in a hospital/healthcare setting to prevent or slow muscle loss and to improve symptoms of liver disease.

Here are some of the best BCAAs available in the market. If you wish to buy you can click the link below.

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For India

Bigmuscles Nutrition Real BCAA Green Apple 50 Serving (flavors available)

MuscleBlaze BCAA Pro Amino Acid Powder Watermelon (flavors available)

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MuscleBlaze BCAA Gold 8:1:1 Amino Acid Powder Fruit Punch, 450g (flavors available)

For Outside India

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy + Electrolytes – Watermelon (flavors+combo pack available)

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XTEND Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion | Sugar Free (flavors available)

BSN Amino X Muscle Recovery & Endurance Powder with BCAAs – Fruit punch (flavors available)

I hope you found all the information that you were looking for. If yes then comment below and if no then also comment so I can add more information. You can also contact us by going to the Contact Us page and just fill the form. That’s it for this article. Subscribe to get future articles notification for FREE. Thank you for reading.

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Aman Pawar
Aman Pawar is Certified Diet and Nutrition Expert. Also he is Certified Fitness Trainer. He also writes on Quora and his answers has generated more than 15k plus views in less than 6 months! For more info visit About Us page.
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