What You Should Know
BCAAs are branched chain amino acids. The three BCAAs included in weight loss and bodybuilding supplements are leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three amino acids fall into the essential category. This means the human body cannot synthesize the amino acid internally so it must be consumed through diet or supplementation. Each of the BCAAs offers a different bit of support for the dieter or bodybuilder.
List of Ingredients
Branched Chain Amino Acids.
The first BCAA is leucine. Leucine is used by the liver, fat tissue and muscle tissue. The majority of leucine is used by fat and muscle. For bodybuilders, leucine is one of the holy grails of muscle gain because it is known to stimulate the production of muscle proteins. Animal studies have even shown leucine can reduce the degrading of tissues of the muscle during exercise. These studies have not been performed on humans to verify the results.
Isoleucine offers a different kind of support for muscles. While it does help protect muscle during physical exercise it is also a source of energy for muscle tissues. The amino acid can be degraded within muscle tissue and used as needed for energy. Taking things one step further, isoleucine helps keep blood sugar levels even in the body thus keeping hunger at bay. When high carbohydrate meals are consumed a spike in blood glucose occurs shortly after. Once the carbohydrates are all converted to fuel, blood glucose dips and the brain signals hunger for more carbohydrates.
Valine is the final amino acid in the BCAAs. Valine works much like the other two branched chain amino acids, which is why they are grouped together. Tissue repair and tissue growth is supported by valine. Valine also offers muscles a boost by supplying an energy source – glucose.
As is the case with everything, too much of a good thing can lead to health problems. Valine, for instance, is linked to liver problems when consumed in very high quantities. While most people consume enough BCAAs in their common diet, people consuming low protein diets and bodybuilders may benefit from BCAA supplementation. It is typically advised to take 2 mg of valine and leucine for every 1 mg of isoleucine.
BCAAs sell for between $10 and $15 from online vitamin retailers. Bodybuilding supplement companies tend to raise the price up to $30 or more for the same supplement.
- BCAAs supply energy to muscles.
- Leucine may help control hunger.
- Consuming too many BCAAs may lead to problems with liver and kidneys.
- Meats include BCAAs so supplementation may not be necessary.
While BCAAs are an essential amino acid, must be consumed, deficiency is rare. Dieters who participate in extreme exercise may find supplementation healthy and beneficial.