Why is BCAA powder such a big deal? You may have heard about BCAA supplements, e.g. beyond BCAA recovery supplements, from your supplement-savvy workout buddy. And, you may not understand why they are necessary or how to include them into your exercise and nutrition regimen unless you have a strong background in biochemistry.
So, isoleucine, leucine, and valine are the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), so named because of their nonlinear (branched) carbon atom structure. The building blocks of proteins, popularly known as Amino acids, make up the body’s structure, and they are either produced by the body or must be received through diet.
Here are a few BCAA benefits that have been scientifically proven:
1. Boosts Muscle Growth
The use of BCAAs to stimulate muscle growth is one of the most popular applications. The BCAA leucine boosts muscle protein synthesis, which is the body’s muscle-building process. For instance, a study found that after resistance training, people who drank a drink containing 5.6g of BCAAs had a 22% increase in muscle protein synthesis as compared to the individuals who had a placebo drink.
2. Helps Reduce the Soreness in Your Muscles
BCAAs, according to certain studies, can help minimise muscle discomfort after a hardcore workout. Meanwhile, it’s not unusual to be in pain for a day or two after a workout, especially if you are getting started with a new fitness routine. And BCAAs have been shown to reduce muscular damage while reducing the duration and severity of discomfort.
BCAAs have been shown in various studies to minimise protein breakdown during exercise and lower creatine kinase levels which indicate improvement in muscle damage. Hence, adding BCAAs to your diet, especially before a workout, may help you recover faster.
3. Helps Reduce Fatigue After Your Workout
In the same way that BCAAs can help with muscle soreness, they can also help with exercise-induced fatigue. Everyone experiences fatigue and exhaustion as a result of exercise at some point. That being said, several factors influence how quickly you become tired, including exercise intensity and duration, environmental conditions, food, and fitness level.
Meanwhile, in two studies, participants supplemented with BCAAs improved their mental focus during exercise, which is considered to be due to BCAAs’ fatigue-reducing effect. But, this decrease in exhaustion is unlikely to lead to increased physical activity.
4. Avoids Muscle Wastage
BCAAs can help prevent muscle breakdown and atrophy. While proteins in muscle are constantly destroyed and replenished (synthesised), the balance of synthesis and muscle protein breakdown determines the amount of protein in muscle.
So, muscle atrophy or breakdown occurs when protein degradation exceeds muscular protein production, and it is one of the signs of malnutrition and can occur as a result of long-term illnesses, cancer, fasting periods, or as a natural part of the ageing process. And, research supports the use of BCAA supplements to minimise protein breakdown in various ways.
Multiple studies have supported the use of BCAA supplements to minimise muscle protein breakdown. Also, specific demographics, such as the elderly and those suffering from degenerative diseases such as cancer, may benefit from improved health and quality of life that come as a result of BCAA supplement consumption.
BCAA powder, e.g. Beyond BCAA recovery supplement, has been shown to boost muscle mass, reduce tiredness, and alleviate muscle soreness. They’ve also been shown to be helpful for individuals facing chronic diseases by preventing or reducing muscle loss and alleviating liver disease symptoms.