Branched Chain Amino Acids: The Importance of BCAAs in Bodybuilding

Sep 08, 2016 • By • 51 Views

When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, ensuring proper nutrition along with your training is often the number one key to success. Sometimes, in order to succeed you need a helping hand from numerous supplements in order to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs, even if it’s just a good old fashioned multi-vitamin. If you have made the decision to start lifting seriously, you need to consider what supplements you may need to achieve your goals.

In recent years, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) have become incredibly fashionable throughout the fitness industry in general. Although, when you become aware of the multitude of benefits BCAAs have to offer it is easy to see why. Assisting in muscle growth while maintaining lean muscle mass, along with aiding faster fat loss are just a few of the benefits that make branched chain amino acids so important.

What Are Amino Acids?

Amino Acids are basically the building blocks for protein. Obviously, we all know that in terms of building muscles, protein is essential. Without protein, our muscles can not grow and despite the wide variety of proteins available, all are made up from just a handful of amino acids. From all 20 amino acids there are 8 which we call essential amino acids meaning our bodies can not naturally produce them so we must ingest them from food or as a nutritional supplement.

Amino Acids:

  • Alanine

  • Arginine

  • Aspartic Acide

  • Cysteine

  • Cystine

  • Glutamic Acid

  • Glutamine

  • Glycine

  • Histidine (Essential)

  • Hydroxyproline

  • Isoleucine (Essential)

  • Leucine (Essential)

  • Lysine (Essential)

  • Methionine (Essential)

  • Phenylalanine (Essential)

  • Proline

  • Serine

  • Tyrosine

  • Tyrptophan (Essential)

  • Valine (Essential)

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Branched chain amino acids, more commonly referred to as BCAAs are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. BCAAs help your body to absorb protein, speed recovery and reduce muscle fatigue. Also, they prevent sterotonin being produced by the brain which causes mental fatigue, therefore, this allows you to workout harder for longer. For weightlifters, this is hugely beneficial.

When you digest amino acids it is the function of the liver to break them down for fuel or to repair tissue; but, BCAAs are often spared by the liver and directed to the muscles. As a result, your muscles can use branched chain amino acids as fuel during a workout as well as a means of building and repairing your muscles once your workout has finished.

Bigger and Stronger with BCAAs

The reason BCAAs are so important for bodybuilding is their ability to increase muscle size. Research suggests that Leucine, one of the three branched chain amino acids, stimulates protein synthesis in muscles and as a result increases muscle size. Taking BCAAs is also thought to increase the natural production of human growth hormone (HGH) which also aids muscle growth.

BCAAs Aiding Fat Loss

Obviously in bodybuilding we want to increase muscle size as well as decrease our percentage of body fat. Often when initiating any weight loss and fitness plan the first route is with a calorie deficient diet. Normally on a very low calorie diet (VLCD) the body is likely to break down muscle as it fights to retain its fat stores, however, as branched chain amino acids promote protein synthesis assisting in retaining lean muscle. Research has shown that this in turn aids fat loss.

So if you are looking to start weightlifting and bodybuilding seriously, then adding branched chain amino acid supplements is definitely a smart move. Try adding some today and see if it makes a difference to your results. If you have experience with BCAAs and can recommend any good options, feel free to comment below, it is always great to get feedback from our readers and pass on first hand experience.

About the Author

Jenny Abouobaia Jenny Abouobaia

Jenny Abouobaia is a professional health and fitness writer who to date has written over 500 articles for numerous publications. Jenny first...