Nowadays, many fitness supplements are getting more and more popular, especially pre-workout and BCAA supplements. You may have heard it from your friend who is a fitness enthusiast or a famous fitness icon that advertised a fitness supplement. So, what’s the deal with these fitness supplements?
They are helpful in terms of muscle building and making you more motivated to work out. Of course, unless you have studied biochemistry, you would know how they can help your body. But if you don’t, that is probably why you’re here reading this article.
So, don’t worry and let us help you.
What is BCAA?
Valine, leucine, and isoleucine are the three branched chain amino acids that are the main component of BCAA. They are categorized as branched because of the non-linear carbon atom configuration. But let’s not delve too much into the science stuff. Just know that they are the building blocks of protein. But how?
BCAAs are essential amino acids, which come from plant and animal sources. That said, they can be consumed by just eating a balanced diet filled with veggies and meat. So, why are they essential? Well, they make up one-third of the protein found in the human muscle. Foods that contain BCAAs are eggs, red meat, fish, and poultry.
However, you can also supplement your BCAAs by adding BCAA supplements to your body in powdered drinks and capsules. What’s unique about BCAAs is that, unlike other amino acids that are broken down by the liver to take effect, they are metabolized inside the muscle tissues.
That said, there are two main reasons why BCAAs are great. The first reason is that they can enter the bloodstream immediately and then metabolize inside the muscle tissue itself. The second reason is that BCAA acts as an extra fuel source for your muscles during prolonged exercise. Not only that, they play an important factor in protein turnover.
They help regulate the body to know whether it’s in a recovery state, tissue-building, or the catabolic state, which is tissue breakdown. So, what are the other reasons why you should take BCAA supplements? Here are some of them.
Decrease in Muscle Soreness
Everyone who exercises knows the feeling of their body is very sore the morning after. It’s very painful and limits your movement the next day. The worst thing about it is that the actual soreness can be off-timing since, sometimes, it happens right after a workout or after a day or two. When it’s the latter, it’s called delayed onset muscle soreness.
DOMS is believed to have come from small tears in the muscle during an intense workout. Hence, if you don’t want to feel worse after working out, taking BCAA might just be the thing for you. They help you with muscle soreness because of their ability to repair the tissue efficiently.
They Can Increase Your Performance in Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises
Trained cyclists that take 6 grams of BCAA supplements for a week that end with a graded exercise show an increase of VO2max by 4%. Now, this might be too small a number, but athletes know that it can be the difference between them and their competitors.
Not only that, but in another study, researchers found that ten weeks of BCAA supplementation resulted in a 19% increase in all-out sprint power and a 4% increased power relative to body mass. This shows that taking BCAA supplements regularly can improve a general increase in physical performance.
Less Exercise Fatigue
One of the most popular reasons why many people take BCAA supplements is their ability to reduce muscle fatigue significantly. No matter how often your exercise or body type is, you will get muscle fatigue when you work out consistently. With BCAA supplements, your muscles will have an abundance of amino acids in your bloodstream.
When we stop working out for the day, our body will have a spike of tryptophan that helps our body wind down and helps us sleep. But with BCAA supplements, you can keep your level up and lessen the effects of tryptophan. And of course, this could also lead to increased endurance in our workout routines.
When Should You Take BCAA Supplements?
The BCAA level in your bloodstream will peak in 30 minutes after taking the supplement. However, researchers still don’t know the exact optimal time to take BCAAs. Despite theories that the optimal time window is 45-60 minutes after your workout, new studies suggest that it can be as wide as 5 hours after a workout.
However, it largely depends on you. If you feel there are some positive changes when taking the supplements before or after, you should do just that.
There are a lot more reasons why you should take BCAA supplements. However, the question you should be asking is whether you should take them or not. We can get our BCAAs from a regular diet of meat and veggies. BCAAs supplements are only there if you want a boost during your workout.