The benefits of BCAAs

May 23, 2017
BCAAs offer people various exercise, health and wellness benefits.

Branched-chain amino acids offer people a number of health and wellness advantages. Out of the nine essential amino acids, BCAAs make up three, which include leucine, isoleucine and valine - and account for 35 percent of these elements found in muscle proteins. It's important to note that essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must come from food instead.

BCAAs convert themselves into energy during exercise or other types of exertion. SFH has the inside scoop on the benefits of BCAAs, but first we should understand what the three components of BCAAs do within the body:

BCAAs can improve muscle endurance.BCAAs can improve muscle endurance.

Leucine, isoleucine and valine: A breakdown
It's important for consumers to understand what these three amino acid elements do on their own before introducing all three to their workout and diet routine.

Leucine is the most studied of the branched-chain amino acids. It activates the mTOR protein, which results in muscle protein synthesis and, therefore, improved mass over time, according to a study published in Sports Medicine. Isoleucine performs a similar function to leucine, but improves the use of natural sugars during exercise - giving people greater energy while working out. Valine, which is weaker than its two counterparts in terms of increasing muscle mass, provides stimulation of the central nervous system as well as improved mental function.

Since these three essential amino acids are not produced naturally by the body, people must consume them via food or supplements. Good sources of BCAAs are eggs, meat, soybeans and quinoa, according to Livestrong. Now let's take a closer look at the benefits of BCAA supplements:

Increased fat burning
It's common for people looking to lose weight and excess fat to incorporate supplements into their regimen. These consumers would be remiss to leave out BCAAs as a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that those with a higher intake of the amino acids tended to be less overweight or obese. Furthermore, these people also had less body fat, better body makeup and more muscle than those with lower consumption of BCAAs.

Improved endurance
Feeling tired during a long day at work or a particularly difficult exercise? BCAAs can help people enhance endurance while also cutting down on fatigue, according to Poliquin Group. Since the triple amino acid combination increases energy production - especially through isoleucine's impact on sugars - and impedes the uptake of tryptophan by the brain, consumers can stay alert and active throughout the day and during their workout.

Reduced muscle soreness
We've all experienced tenderness following a challenging workout and most often, we tend to either wait out the soreness until it subsides or continue our exercise regimen and deal with a little pain. Incorporating BCAAs into your plan, however, can reduce this sensation of fatigue while also reducing muscle inflammation and damage over time, according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.

BCAA supplements offer athletes a number of health, wellness and exercise benefits that can't be ignored. In order to achieve these benefits, one needs a pharmacologic dose of BCAAs. Because leucine is the most effective of the three BCAAs to increase lean muscle mass and strength, look for products with high concentrations of leucine.

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