BCAA's are a set of amino acids well known to practitioners of gymnasium, and are one of the supplements that you will find in any sports nutrition store.
These are three essential amino acids, they are: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
These three amino acids are present in virtually all protein rich foods such as meat, fish or eggs, so if you are on a high protein diet, you probably already have a reasonable consumption of BCAA's.
Does this mean that it is not worth using this supplement?
Maybe yes maybe not.
Supplementation of BCAA's in a high protein diet high in biological value is not essential, but may be beneficial, especially Leucine.
During exercise, these amino acids decline, leading to fatigue, for example.
To better understand the benefits of BCAA's, let's isolate them, and talk a little about each one.
- While much of the information in this article can apply to all types of sporting activities, it is focused above all on the world of gym and weight training.
Leucine is considered the most important amino acid of this group, and we can even say that it is the most important amino acid of all amino acids when it comes to gym!
Because Leucine is the most potent amino acid of all to stimulate protein synthesis, which will lead to anabolism and consequent muscle growth.
Leucine's main mechanism of action is through activation of a protein called mTOR.
This protein plays an important role in the regulation of protein synthesis, and consequently in muscle growth.
Now, that doesn't mean just taking a daily shower of Leucine will make you gain muscle!
In addition to activating mTOR, Leucine stimulates insulin secretion, an extremely anabolic hormone and one of Leucine's metabolites is HMB, known for its anti-catabolic action.
If you could only choose one of the three amino acids, Leucine would be the right choice if your goal is to win muscle mass, and you can easily find them for sale as a supplement in isolation.
After leucine, the most important amino acid in this set is isoleucine.
While leucine plays above all an anabolic and muscle growth role, isoleucine works more as an anti catabolic and enhances and maintains performance.e.
Isoleucine promotes glucose consumption and storage within muscle cells, leading to more efficient use of energy.
In addition, it also induces protein synthesis, although less significantly than Leucine.
Therefore, with Isoleucine supplementation, it is possible for you to take longer to achieve fatigue and to stop exercise.
Finally, we have Valine, which is the least studied in isolation of the three amino acids, and also the one that theoretically provides the least benefit.
Valine shares some of the benefits of the other two amino acids, but is less effective than both, and to date has no exclusive benefit as with the other two.
It is nonetheless an essential amino acid with important functions in the body, it is only weaker when compared to both Leucine and Isoleucine when the goal is to improve body composition.
Now that we've talked a little bit about each of the amino acids, you know what to expect minimally from BCAA supplementation.
The synergy between the three amino acids can bring benefits such as:
- Greater muscle growth
- More performance
- Fatigue reduction
- Less muscle pain
The most notable benefits are fatigue reduction and muscle recovery.
Now, is it worth supplementing with BCAA's?
Anyone who already uses a whey protein before and after training will see little benefit from BCAA's, as whey protein is naturally rich in these three amino acids, and each serving (of a good whey) brings in average 4g to 5g of BCAA's.
This does not mean that it is useless, it is far from essential.
BCAA supplementation makes sense at specific times, such as before, during and after training. This is where BCAA's supplementation comes in, and it's very common to see these three amino acids in supplements pre workout.
This is because it will promote an anabolic environment, mitigate fatigue and improve performance during training, which can lead to better results. results.
Who will benefit from BCAA's?
- Anyone looking to increase muscle mass, increase protein synthesis and increased glucose storage in muscle cells will help.
- Who wants to lose fat will benefit from the anti-catabolic action of BCAA's.
- Those who practice resistance sports supplementation with BCAA will slow the action of fatigue, helping to maintain performance.
- Who trains fasting or with very little food, when waking up for example.
How much and when should I use BCAA's?
The best time to take BCAA supplementation is before, during and after training.
You must use at least 5g, and you can use up to 15g to 20g in a distributed manner.
I'm undecided between BCAA's powder or tablet, help me!
Powdered BCAA's are usually cheaper and easier to dose, but they taste bad if you use the tasteless version.
Already in pills, in addition to paying more, you will probably have to fill you with pills to reach the ideal dose.
Yes, it is true, we prefer the BCAA's powder.
The most common division is 2: 1: 1, ie the leucine dose is usually double the amount of isoleucine and valine, and if you read the article, you know why! There are even formulas that go further, and use leucine concentrations that are triple or quadruple relative to their other two companions.
Conclusion and opinion
BCAA's are an interesting supplement, as long as you don't expect miracles.
They help you recover faster and spend less time complaining about muscle pain from leg training, and weight loss diets can help you maintain muscle mass.
Now if you are already on a high protein diet and you are in excess of calories, the benefit will only exist if you use BCAAs at the right times.
Importantly, most of the benefits of these amino acids happen not only through supplementation but also from diet, so a high protein diet is also high in BCAA's.
However, using BCAA's before, during and after training has benefits that only supplementation can achieve, such as reducing fatigue and creating a more anabolic environment around training. Unless you're thinking about eating a steak in the middle of training, of course.
If you already use whey before and after training, BCAA supplementation from 0 to 5 would probably be an 2, alleviating fatigue during training mainly. If you do not use whey, but follow a high protein diet high in biological value, it would be an 3, and if that diet is not yet very protein-tuned, BCAA's would probably carry an 3,5.
If you already used it, leave your opinion in the comments and tell us what you noticed and whether or not they are worth it.