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Are BCAAs recommended when starting weight training?

BCCA

Let’s just get straight to the point. What are BCAAs or Branch Chain Amino Acids?

It is that colourful sweet “gulaal” drink appears like the magic ingredient keep your energy, mood and spirits high and turn you into an anabolic machine but all it is, is a combination of 3 of the 8 essential amino acids

  1. Leucine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Valine

 

Amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein and muscle. There’s a total of 22 different amino acids, with 9 of which being classified as essential amino acids – simply meaning that our body can’t produce them, and we have to ingest them through various protein sources.

 

Leucine is directly stimulates protein synthesis via the activation of an enzyme responsible for cell growth called mTOR. Isoleucine improves glucose metabolism and increases glucose uptake in the muscles. Valine is a distant third as it doesn’t seem to do much of anything when compared to leucine and isoleucine.

 

You find high amounts of these amino acids in quality proteins such as meat, eggs and dairy products, with whey protein isolate being particularly high.

If that’s the case, then, are there benefits to using BCAA supplements in addition to eating such high-quality proteins? Is it REALLY worth the extra expense?

PROBABLY NOT.

Important thing to note is that:

  • Research commonly cited that demonstrates muscle-related benefits of BCAA supplementation was done with subjects that didn’t eat enough protein.

 

  • Research is commonly funded by supplement manufacturing companies who try and modify the data to suit the needs of the customer.

 

  • You can simply get your BCAAs from food instead, and this is cheaper and far more satisfying.

 

  • An adequate protein intake will actually render BCAA-supplementation as (for the most part) useless.

 

  • BCAA’s aren’t as effective at promoting protein synthesis as Whey or other complete protein sources (and they’re more expensive!)

 

  • If you train fasted, however, BCAAs can help mitigate the increased muscle breakdown rate

 

Tejaswini Pandit

IFFB Pro Figure Athlete
Personal Trainer – MultiFit
Tutor – M.E.S.A

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