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You may have heard about BCAAs from your workout buddies, who know about health supplements. Still, unless you already have a biochemistry degree, you may not understand why they are important or how to adopt them into your exercise and eating routine.
BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are widely used by weightlifters and sportspeople to boost muscle development and function. However, it is believed by many scientists that BCAAs may offer more significant medical benefits.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids, are necessary amino acids with a molecular composition that look like tree limbs.
The BCAAs are a total of 3 important amino acids – Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
It’s worth noting that because our systems cannot produce critical amino acids independently, we must take them through meals or supplementation in order to operate.
Due to their wide variety of advantages, BCAAs are a common athletic dietary product to take before and after workouts.
For instance, BCAAs act as a secondary source of energy by the body during exercise to help with endurance.
In fact, they have been shown to help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness when taken at adequate levels over a long period.
As a result, BCAAs are a common supplement for speeding up recuperation and reducing post-workout discomfort.
BCAAs are also a common supplement among bodybuilders because they have the ability to boost muscle protein formation while preventing muscle degradation during training, resulting in a favorable net protein equilibrium.
In other words, BCAAs prevent muscle degradation while also speeding up muscle recovery.
With that said, it is not uncommon for people who are new to workout enhancers to mistake BCAAs for Pre-workout supplements, so here’s a quick side-by-side look at both of them;
BCAAs Vs Pre-workout Supplements
It is almost impossible to discuss BCAA workout enhancers without getting into the discussion of BCAA vs pre workout supplements.
They are two of the most popular supplements for boosting workout performance. Both supplements offer advantages- however, they are used for different purposes.
The key distinction between both supplements is that while BCAAs are utilized to minimize muscle fatigue, promote muscular recovery, and improve muscle repair, pre-workouts boost stamina, endurance, and concentration.
Benefits Of BCAAs
Below are some of the health benefits of BCAAs:
Boost Exercise performance
BCAA supplements may aid in the reduction of workout exhaustion and the improvement of endurance.
In an attempt to prove this, in 2013, a group of researchers randomly allocated male participants of a study to different groups. One group received a BCAA supplement, while the other received a mimic of the supplement. The subjects were then instructed to bike until they were completely exhausted.
The researchers discovered that the subjects who took BCAA had lower blood serotonin levels during the cycle, implying that they felt less fatigued.
They also noticed that those who took the supplement had decreased levels of muscle-damaging enzymes like lactic acid dehydrogenase and phosphocreatine kinase or creatine phosphokinase.
The study concluded that BCAA had the ability to enhance workout capacity.
Maintain Muscle Mass During Illness
BCAAs, especially leucine, have been proven to help individuals with chronic illnesses to retain muscle mass after their workouts.
Per a August 2012 study conducted by Jonker et.al., a range of disorders can impair protein production, resulting in a decrease in body protein and musculoskeletal mass.
The researchers discovered that a high-protein regimen with more leucine could assist persons with chronic conditions like cancer in retaining muscular mass.
Improve Sprint Performance On Consecutive Days
The impacts of mixed BCAA and arginine supplements on intermittent running ability over two days were studied in March 2015 by Kang Chang et. al. The participants in the research were 7 ladies and 15 men who had participated in volleyball on a global stage. For two days, the subjects played synthetic volleyball matches.
According to the study, the participants who took the supplement had a superior intermittent sprint ability the following day than those who took the mimic of the supplement.
The researchers concluded that their findings might have momentous implications for athletes who contest on many days.