Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): What are the Benefits?
You’ve probably heard about BCAAs from your trainer or fellow athletes. But do you know what they actually are and how they can impact your athletic performance? BCAAs or Branched-Chain Amino Acids are the best seller in the amino acids supplement industry for good reasons. They provide essential molecules and promote muscular strength. BCAAs are incredibly popular among athletes because they not only enhance exercise performance, but also accelerate muscle recovery.
What Are BCAAs?
Our body uses 21 different proteinogenic amino acids to perform regular bodily functions. But the fact is our body can only create 12 types of the 21 necessary amino acids. The other nine amino acids come from the foods we eat, specifically from protein-rich foods. Unlike fats and carbs, our body cannot store amino acids, and thus it is necessary to maintain a continuous supply by eating foods high in protein. However, many athletes need more than just a protein-rich diet to fulfill their nutritional needs. That’s where BCAAs come in.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids contain three powerful molecules: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. As your body cannot produce these essential amino acids, you need to make sure that you are consuming enough to meet your daily requirement. BCAA supplements help you meet your bodily needs and support muscle growth. Some recent research also established its ability to improve muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle soreness.
Benefits of BCAAs for Athletes
Many athletes say BCAAs help light a fire under their feet. The reason? These vital amino acids make you stronger and livelier so you can push yourself harder every day.
Besides providing essential amino acids, some other notable benefits of BCAAs include:
1. Increases Muscle Growth
The main role of BCAAs is to support muscle growth by stimulating Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). According to a recent study, people who consumed 5.6 grams of BCAAs with a drink after an intense workout session, had a 22% greater increase in muscle growth compared to those who didn’t. However, BCAAs work best in promoting muscle growth when taken with other essential amino acids. Try to include high quality protein like organic eggs, lean meat, poultry, fatty fish, yogurt, nuts, and seeds in your diet.
2. Decreases Muscle Soreness And Damage
An athlete cannot deny the significance of an after-exercise recovery routine. BCAAs help in strength building and accelerating muscle recovery. If you are into heavy lifting or high-intensity workouts, BCAAs are even more crucial for your muscle and tissue repair. After an intense lifting session or a hard run, sore and tired muscles are common. BCAAs will help you recover, rebuild, and come back stronger.
3. Improves Aerobic and Anaerobic Performance
A small increase in performance can mean a lot. BCAAs help you work longer by delaying muscle soreness and fatigue. This way, you get more time to practice and work on your limitations. Many athletes and bodybuilders prefer BCAAs over other supplements because they increase endurance and prevent muscle breakdown.
4. Protects Lean Muscle
BCAAs preserve lean muscles by preventing muscle wasting. Muscle wasting can be a sign of several diseases including malnutrition, chronic infections, cancer, or can just be a natural part of aging. Whatever the reason is, it is important to reduce or slow it down as much as possible. Several studies show that BCAAs supplements inhibit muscle wasting or muscle protein breakdown by promoting muscle protein synthesis.
5. Delays Fatigue During Long Sessions.
When your muscles get tired you cannot perform at your best, no matter how much you push yourself. BCAAs are one of the best options to reduce muscle fatigue during exercise. They effectively increase your stamina and capacity so that can go stronger for longer periods.
Foods High in BCAAs
You can enjoy all the benefits of BCAAs by consuming healthy foods that contain these amino acids. Some of the healthy and natural food sources are:
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Organic eggs
- Dairy products, such as milk, unsweetened yogurt and cheese.
- Nuts and seeds
- Soy products like tofu and tempeh
- Beans, peas, and lentils
A protein-rich diet might not be enough for athletes to meet their nutritional needs. In that case, BCAAs supplements can be beneficial to improve your overall health and athletic performance.
Safety and Side Effects
BCAAs are considered safe if you follow the recommended dosage and don’t exceed the limit. If you have any medical conditions, consult with your health care provider before starting your dosage. Also, it is best to discuss with your trainer to find the right supplement according to your body weight and activity levels.
Supplements are Just the Start
In addition to nutrition, active recovery is one of the most important factors for a quick and effective recovery. Light muscle contractions (active recovery) activate your body’s natural response to repair damaged tissue. Marc Pro delivers non-fatiguing muscle contractions so you can easily get in active recovery sessions.