How BCAA Powers Muscle Growth?
CAA - Branched Chain Amino Acid - is one of the commonly seen sports supplements available in the market. This name is mostly associated with muscle building and as such, you would be wondering what it is. Before you dive into picking up a bottle of BCAA from the store, it is important that you understand it in detail and then go forward with your purchase.
What is BCAA?
BCAA, as you read earlier stands for Branched Chain Amino Acid. It is a group of 3 of the 20 amino acids in our body - leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They cannot be made by the body and need to be replenished through our diet. These 3 amino acids in BCAA make up 40% of our total amino acids constitution in our body. As these amino acids are broken down in the muscles, they are considered to play an important role in energy production in the body. For this reason, it is used by sports enthusiasts and athletes to help increase their energy and body mass.
Now that we have understood about the BCAA, let us see the various benefits:
- Increases muscle growth 1 - BCAA is known in the dietary supplement segment as the amino acid that helps in increasing muscle growth. Leucine in BCAA stimulates the protein synthesis in the body, which helps in muscle growth. However, it should be noted that while BCAA can increase protein synthesis, the best results can be seen only when combined with other complete protein sources, such as whey protein.
- Reduces soreness of muscle 2 - Sore muscles can be seen in people who are new to the workout regime and also in those who are into high-intensity workouts (HIIT). Muscles in the body become sore after 12 hours of the workout and the intake of BCAA helps in reducing the severity of muscle damage. This in turn may speed up the recovery time which works well for those who do rigorous exercises.
- Reduces fatigue while exercising 3 - Fatigue goes hand in hand with exercise. Intake of BCAA helps in reducing fatigue just like they do for reducing muscle soreness, both of which are a result of the high-intensity exercises.
- Prevents muscle breakdown - Workouts in the gym or high-intensity workouts of sportsmen - they result in the breakdown of muscle, which again gets rebuilt over a period of time. While the breakdown is reversible, in some cases, where the person does not supplement their diet with the necessary nutrition, muscle breakdown becomes irreversible. BCAA contains the essential amino acids, which help in preventing this muscle breakdown to a large extent.
BCAA is naturally found in many food products such as eggs, cheese, greek yogurt, soy and whey protein powder, and of course meat products. Vegans and vegetarians do have a lot of options in terms of products, such as buckwheat, brussels sprouts, chia seeds, kidney beans, lentils, millets(gluten-free options), quinoa, and spinach. For those who are looking for vegan/vegetarian options, feel free to start including the above in your diet.
While a protein-rich diet is sufficient for the absorption of the daily required dose of amino acids in the body, it should be noted that athletes and fitness buffs need an extra supply of the amino acids. This can be taken in the form of dietary supplement that is available in different concoctions in the market. BCAA rich dietary supplements work well if taken before 20-30 minutes of the start of the activity. This will give your body time to absorb the amino acids and do its best. It is also advised to consult a physician or a well-experienced instructor before one starts their BCAA diet.