Amino acids BCAA ( Branched-Chain Amino Acids – amino acids with branched chains or BСAA) is a combination of the three most important for human metabolism of essential amino acids. The composition of BCAA includes leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Amino acids and sports nutrition
Speaking about amino acids BCAA (as well as sports supplements with other amino acids), it is important to note that these amino acids are only constituent “bricks” of any protein product – starting from whey protein, finishing with meat and even buckwheat. In fact, the body receives amino acids from most animal foods.
In total, there are more than 200 different amino acids, but only two dozen of them are critically important for metabolism. Despite the fact that most of these important amino acids are synthesized by the human body from each other, nine must come with food. Sports nutrition with amino acids (including BCAA) contains these same nine essential amino acids in pure form.
Proteins are very important for humans, scientists have understood this for a long time. The term “protein” was coined , from the Greek word ” first “. And it really is so – for any athlete, and for a bodybuilder especially, protein is the fundamental factor of all the recovery processes.
As a rule, the protein is synthesized from 20 standard amino acids. And if most of these amino acids can be synthesized by the body independently, then there are essential amino acids that must enter the body from the outside. The most important for the construction of muscle mass are three essential amino acids with branched side chains: leucine, isoleucine and valine. It was these three amino acids that were combined into one drug, which was called BCAA (branched amino acids)
Role in the body
- Valine – One of the most active components in the regeneration of damaged fibers of muscle tissue. If the athlete trains intensively and with high load, then muscle tears occur in the muscles. When these tears overgrow, then the muscles grow. The additional intake of valine reduces the healing time of such microtraumas. In addition, the intake of valine significantly improves the nitrogen balance, which also accelerates muscle growth and prevents the destruction of the protein.
- Leucine – Reduces the level of sugar in the blood, contributing to the growth of production of growth hormone . How important growth hormone is for increasing muscle mass and restoring muscle fibers after heavy training says probably should not be. Also leucine is actively involved in the restoration of muscle tissue, skin and bones.
- Loleucine – An indispensable amino acid in the production of hemoglobin. It also stabilizes the level of sugar in the blood, increases the overall endurance of the body and accelerates the restoration of damaged muscle tissue.
The reception of the BCAA amino acid complex provides a powerful acceleration in the recovery of muscle fibers, stimulates the growth of the body’s production of growth hormone and restores the energy balance.
The most important amino acid for the bodybuilder in this triplet is leucine. During scientific research, it was found that the use of leucine together with isoleucine and valine greatly enhances the effect of the former. It is considered that the optimal ratio of these amino acids is: 2: 1: 1. That is, for each mg of valine and isoleucine, 2 mg of leucine is required. But such proportions are not dogma.
BCAA – When to use and in what dosages
The bodybuilding organism on the days of training and on rest days, when there is a recovery of the body, experiences a different need for fast amino acids, the scheme of taking BCAA these days is somewhat different.
On days of training
When an athlete actively trains, then in his body not only anabolic processes (muscle growth) but also catabolic destructive processes are triggered. The task is to stimulate anabolic processes and inhibit catabolic processes.
If anabolic processes are activated on rest days, then catabolic, on the contrary, are the most dangerous during training. During intensive workings the body needs additional feeding. And if you do not give this recharge from the outside, then he will start looking for additional reserves inside the body.
The first step is to consume glycogen in the liver muscle. If they are not enough, the body begins to actively break down the amino acids that make up the muscles.
In this case, BCAA acts as an assistant. In order that the body does not even have a desire to begin to devour itself, it must be given “eat” something else. The amino acids BCAA for this role are ideal! Due to the fact that amino acids with a branched side chain are instantly absorbed, they are actively involved in the process and not only do not allow catabolism to develop during training, but also actively participate in building muscle mass and burning fat mass.
BCAA should be taken immediately before and immediately after training. It is not superfluous to take a small amount of amino acids and during training, if its duration exceeds 1 hour.
After training, when the glucose level is at a minimum, and there are almost no amino acids, you should immediately replenish their stock. In this case, the exchange processes, which will continue for some time at a furious pace, will receive material for processing.
In days of rest
There is an opinion that it is not necessary to take BCAA on non-training days. Argumented by the fact that once the effect on the body is not made, then there is no catabolism either. And for the anabolic process protein is enough and from normal nutrition. This is not true.
Catabolic processes are most powerful immediately after sleep. If at this point to get protein from regular food or take protein, then the body takes some time to break up the protein to amino acids. Reception BCAA in the morning hours solves this problem – amino acids immediately get to the muscles. It is recommended to take 0.5-1 of the standard portion immediately after sleep.
Forms of release
- Capsules – The most popular form of the BCAA release. For the first time, branched-chain amino acids were produced in capsules. The main advantage of this form of release is the ease of use. Capsules are easy to take with you and they can be taken anywhere, if you have a glass of water at hand.
Another advantage is neutral taste. Due to the fact that the powder is packaged in capsules, you do not feel the bitter aftertaste characteristic of pure powdered amino acids with branched side chain.
Capsules containing from 250 to 1250 mg of BCAA, are available from 60 to 1000 capsules in a package. The main disadvantage of this form of reception is high cost. At recommended dosages, one package will last for a couple of weeks.
- Tablets – As a rule, they are pressed powder. The advantages are the same as those of capsules. To disadvantages besides the above, you can add a relatively long digestibility , because the tablets dissolve more slowly in the stomach.
- Powder – The most economical form of the BCAA. Until recently, BCAA powder was used mainly by those who wished to save money. At the same cost, you could get 1.5 times more BCAA when purchasing them in powder form.
Cons: pure powder is very poorly soluble in water and has a fairly specific taste. Therefore, it is advised to take it in such a way: put a dose of BCAA into your mouth and immediately wash it with water so that the bitter taste is not felt for so long.
In the past few years, a lot of powder BCAAs appeared on the sports nutrition market, which quickly dissolve in water and have pleasant fruit flavors.
Each manufacturer of sports nutrition indicates its products completely different doses, regardless of the athlete’s own weight. How can we calculate the specific dosage of branched-chain amino acids for you? And how to measure it in capsules, tablets and powder?
Most professional trainers agree that for each kilogram of their own weight theathlete should receive about 33 mg of leucine per workout . Thus, it is easy to calculate the appropriate dosage for you.
For example, if your weight is 75 kg , then for training it is necessary to take at least 2475 mg of leucine. With a standard ratio of 2: 1: 1, this will be about 5 grams of BCAA. If your weight is 90 kg, then take 6 grams of amino acids with a branched chain during training.
Knowing this formula, you can easily calculate how much BCAA is required specifically for you, regardless of the form of release: just look at the label of the leucine content in one portion and do simple mathematical exercises.
Side effects BCAA
Despite the above, many people starting to engage in bodybuilding, the question appears: ” Are BCAA harmful? “. In order to dispel all doubts, we will answer him as well. Since amino acids with a branched side chain are necessary for the functioning of our body, then under intensive loads, an additional BCAA will not cause any disturbances and negative reactions in the human body, but will only benefit. Do not be afraid of an overdose: anything that does not have time to digest, will come out of the body without violating the internal balance in the body.
Despite the fact that the three amino acids that hide behind the abbreviation BCAA, no doubt are beneficial for the human body, their use in pure form (that is, in capsules or in powder) will benefit rather professional athletes. However, BCAA amino acids can actually reduce appetite, indirectly helping to lose weight.