BCAA benefits: This name is an acronym for the English branched chain amino acid which is translated into French as branched side chain amino acid. I know you don't really care, but a little culture never hurt anyone 😉
On the other hand, the following will necessarily interest you if you do bodybuilding. Indeed, the benefits of BCAAs are undeniable because they naturally play an essential role in the muscle building.
Table of Contents
What are BCAAs?
There are 20 different amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins used in the human body.
You should know that 8 amino acids are considered essential for life. These are tryptophan, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, leucine and isoleucine. There are 2 others which are vital for the child: arginine and histidine.
In all of these amino acids, the 3 branched chain amino acids or BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine.
These amino acids are naturally found in protein-rich foods such as:
- dairy products ;
- meat ;
You will find a more complete list of these foods at the end of this article.
However, you will find BCAAs sold as dietary supplements to make your life as easy as you can. see here.
You will now discover why BCAAs are so useful for gaining muscle mass, or simply for having stronger muscles.
Benefits of BCAAs in bodybuilding
1. BCAAs Reduce Muscle Soreness and Speed Recovery
You may have already felt severe pain in your muscles after a weight training session (or another sport).
It's normal to feel sore muscles a day or two after training, especially if you've tried new exercises in your weight training program. This known phenomenon is completely natural and can last up to 72 hours.
Besides, for the anecdote, I remember a work colleague who had 3 days off work after a weight training session in the gym. That's to say that it can hurt, even if it's not serious 😉
As indicated this American study, the cause of his pain is not fully understood, but specialists believe it is the result of small tears in the muscle fibers during exercise.
However, several studies have shown that BCAAs reduce the rate of creatine kinase, which is an indicator of muscle fiber degradation, as you can see in This article.
Trials with a group of athletes who consumed essential amino acids and another group who consumed a placebo before a session of squats confirmed a reduction in pain after training for the first group.
So taking a BCAA supplement, especially before exercise, seems like a good way to recover faster.
2. Benefits of BCAAs against post-workout fatigue
Not only do BCAAs seem effective in reducing muscle pain, but one of their benefits is also to reduce physical fatigue during exercise.
Indeed, the sport does not always cause pain, but the fact of training often or intensely as in an Insanity session can also have an effect on physical fatigue during and after your session. And therefore on your ability to train regularly.
Of course, except for maybe Superman, everyone experiences fatigue or even exhaustion at some level of exertion.
However, the speed with which this fatigue appears depends essentially on these factors:
- The intensity of the session;
- The duration of the training;
- External conditions (heat, cold, rain, wind, etc.);
- Your diet;
- Your cardiovascular level and capacity.
However, your muscles use amino acids during your physical exercises, which reduces the level in your blood. In short, let's say that studies have indicated that this phenomenon induces an increase in the feeling of fatigue during training and a loss of concentration.
This does not mean that you will necessarily perform better with BCAAs, but at least your sessions will seem less difficult to complete, with greater concentration during exercise.
3. BCAAs accelerate muscle mass gain
Among the amino acids, leucine stimulates the protein synthesis (link to NCBI research in English) in the muscles, thus promoting volume gain.
A scientific study has shown that consuming 5.6 g of BCAAs after a weight training session increases protein synthesis in the muscles by 22%. However, it should be noted that this rate almost doubles with whey protein or vegetable containing the same amount of BCAA.
In fact, Whey or whey protein as well as vegan protein powder contain all the essential amino acids to build muscle.
4. Essential Amino Acids Fight Muscle Wasting
One of the benefits of BCAAs is that they reduce or prevent muscle wasting. You should know that proteins are the building blocks of muscles. They are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. This phenomenon is called muscle protein synthesis.
That is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Indeed, it is thanks to this process of protein destruction and reconstruction that you can gain muscle mass as you have just read in point 3. A significant effort during training associated with a good diet will force your muscles to develop.
But conversely, too intense efforts associated with weight loss can reduce your muscle volume. The absence of sport and age also contribute to muscle wasting.
Muscle loss occurs when proteins that are broken down are more numerous than those being replaced. It is therefore important to reverse this trend, or at least to maintain the balance as long as possible as you age.
In humans, of which you are no doubt part (I indeed have a few readers in other galaxies 😉 ), BCAAs represent 35% of essential amino acids present in muscle fibers. In total, they constitute 40% of amino acids essential to the body according to the NCBI.
This is why it is important that essential amino acids are supplied to your body to stop or slow muscle loss.
Foods Naturally Rich in BCAAs
BCAAs are found naturally in the foods we eat, not just in BCAA supplements or protein powders.
For example, you will find it in the following foods:
|Round of beef heel||100g||6.8g|
|Whey protein||1 measure||5.5g|
|vegetable protein powder||1 measure||5.5g|
|Canned natural tuna||100g||5.2g|
|Skimmed milk||24 cl||2.2g|
|Greek yogurt||1 jar of 150g||2.2g|
BCAA Benefits: Conclusion
BCAAs are a group of 3 essential amino acids : leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are essential because they cannot be produced by your body and therefore must be provided by your diet.
BCAA supplementation has many benefits. Indeed, they help build your muscles, reduce fatigue during training and pain after your sessions. Jay, American bodybuilding and fitness specialist, recommends the consumption of approximately 10 g of BCAA before a session (in English)
These amino acids are also successfully used in the medical field to prevent or slow muscle wasting. They therefore seem useful for athletes who are aging.
And you what do you think ?
Do you use dietary supplements such as BCAAs, creatine or protein powder to improve your results? Or do you just find what you need in your diet?
Leave a comment below to give your opinion or share your experience.
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Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API