For proper functioning of the body, proteins must be present. Proteins are made by blocks of amino acids. During exercises, amino acids are used in a great way to replenish the muscles and therefore for those people who continue exercising without taking amino acids, they end up not gaining any muscle or even losing muscle.
The body utilizes amino acids in two forms i.e. branched chains or in their free form. In these two forms, the amino acids do not undergo any form of digestion as they are directly absorbed into the body muscles where they are needed. On top of supplying the body with enough of amino acids, BCAAs also supply the body with up to 70% of its nitrogen requirement.
Differences between essential and non-essential amino acids
Essential amino acids are those that cannot be produced by the body. For you to get them, you must take them in the form of complete protein food or a combination of incomplete foods comprising of vegetables. There are nine types of essential amino acids i.e. phenylalanine, histidine, tryptophan, isoleucine, leucine, methionine valine and lysine.
On the other hand, non-essential amino acids are made by the body from other amino acids and vitamins. Although the term non-essential may be misinterpreted to mean that they are not important, these amino acids are very important in the body for various processes and also to fight infections. There are a total of 13 non-essential amino acids namely tyrosine, cystine, hydroxyproline, arginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, alanine, glycine , serine, and proline.
BCAA proteins are very important to the athletes due to the fact that they are metabolized in the muscles as opposed to the liver.
How BCAA helps body builders
Body builder who have insufficient BCAAs in the body suffer muscle reduction and reduced energy levels, resulting from reduced protein breakdown and synthesis. It is important to note that having enough BCAAs will not automatically increase the size of your muscles and strength but will help to avoid the adverse effects that may result by having inadequate levels of these proteins in the body for example training stagnation and slow recovery.
If bodybuilders are able to have adequate supply of BCAA in their diets, they will be able to see positive results with their workouts. It is also important for the body builder to take enough carbohydrates and calories which will help to save BCAAs. If your body has stored enough glycogen, the BCAAs will be spared and they will be used for muscle growth instead of being oxidized for energy. Rest and recovery are also important to ensure that BCAAs are utilized for muscle growth.
Benefits of BCAAs
There are many benefits that come with supplementing BCAA; Increased recovery. Many athletes experience post exercise muscle soreness and pain after their workouts. However, on supplementing with BCAA, this muscle soreness tends to reduce. Workouts usually damage the muscles and this is the cause of pain and soreness. It is important to note that muscles will grow in size and in strength after this damage has taken place. With BCAA offering faster recovery from these damages, it is a demonstration that your muscles will grow faster and so will your strength increase.Increased Endurance. If glycogen stores are depleted, BCAA will provide nitrogen used to form l-alanine which is used to supply the body with glucose. Therefore you can continue with your activities without experiencing energy shortage.Stimulate fat loss. BCCA supplementation has shown great effects in helping people lose visceral body fats. These kinds of fats have proved resistant and other forms of workouts.Stimulate the synthesis of proteins. Taking BCAA supplements helps the body to synthesize proteins. Even without subjecting yourself to workouts, supplementation with BCAAs has shown that you can increase muscle size and strength. Various studies have also shown that BCAA supplementation helps to increase the levels of growth hormone, insulin and testosterone. This supplement has shown great effectiveness in boosting muscle growth without anabolic stimulus for example weight lifting.Boosts body’s immunity. BCAA has been proven to boost body’s immune system hence allowing you to avoid most of the infections. When you are sick, it becomes hard for you to engage in training and therefore you experience no muscle growth at this time. When you resume training after the illness, you should expect to lose muscles and strength to a certain extent. It is important to note that if you over-exercise, you risk losing glutamine which exposes you to low immunity. However, if you supplement with BCAA, you are able to reverse the loss of glutamine which helps to boost your immunity. On top of boosting your immunity, BCAA helps to prevent catabolic state in your body and when this happen, little damage is done on your muscles during exercising and also the recovery period is minimized. Anti catabolic effects- BCAA works by suppressing the breakdown of muscle proteins for energy i.e. they resists the body’s temptations to use muscle proteins as a source of fuel thereby preventing muscle loss. Therefore, when you engage in workouts, the result is protein synthesis which could only lead to increased muscle mass and more strength. BCAAs achieve this by sacrificing themselves as a source of body fuel. A study done on obese people who were starved and subjected to BCAA supplement showed that they were able to lose body fat and at the same time gained on muscle mass.
Where can you find BCAA?
BCAA are found in all protein foods although they are found in red meat and dairy products in the largest quantities. You can also find good amounts of BCAA in egg proteins and whey protein supplements. BCAA supplements provide the body with amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine.
How much of BCAA does your body require?
Most of the diets listed above will provide your body with enough of BCAA proteins. An average person’s daily requirement is 25-65 mg per pound of your body weight. Those people who are involved in high intensity workouts require 4 grams valine, 2 grams isoleucine and 5 grams leucinen per training day. These amounts are enough to prevent any muscle loss and also to facilitate muscle growth.