For those who don’t carry an acronym dictionary around, BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. Today we will be talking about BCAA benefits as it relates to bodybuilders and other people involved in health and nutrition such as athletes and those of us who just love to train. BCAAs are again becoming more popular in the fitness community so let’s look at why.
What can they do?
The biggest BCAA benefits have to do with preserving muscle mass, supporting muscle growth, and increases fat burning. Wow, that sounds like it would be a miracle pill that everyone would take to suddenly look like Arnold! Well it does definitely provide some benefits, but a person still needs to be working hard to utilize them.
Branched-chain amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The reality is that these aminos are used in a ton of processes in the body all related to muscle growth, decreased muscle soreness, testosterone production, protein synthesis, and even mood issues involving depression. While the body can produce some of these amino acids it can come at the expense of breaking down proteins in the body to get that needed fuel. By adding these amino acids into the body at important times, the body has an abundance of what it needs to operate at a higher level.
Is it proven?
BCAA benefits are somewhat proven. There have been a lot of studies as well as a great deal of research into the topic. But, as often is the case, when dealing with how something affects so many systems it can be hard to pinpoint specific results. But the overall results from most focus groups have shown measurable improvements in regards to strength, endurance, and fat loss.
But it would be impossible to make specific claims such as seeing a 40 percent increase in strength over a 12 week program. Some of the studies definitely are not going to be able to recreate the same results with people who have years of workout experience under their belt. If you introduce fitness training to a large group of people who haven’t been training then naturally they will have large jumps in strength gains and weight loss as people often do.
However for serious athletes and those who can afford them, the studies do prove that they will help many important processes.
Capsule supplements will provide the best BCAA benefits because they will be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly. If you drink your supplements then you have to wait for digestion to be complete before absorption occurs which can make getting them into your system at the proper time tricky.
For the most optimal results you would want to take BCAAs 45 to 60 minutes before training as well as during or right after training. This ensures you have what you need when your body needs it during a workout and right after. Additionally to tap into the recovery of BCAA benefits you should ingest them a few times a day with meals. This means you are taking a lot of this supplement but in a sense you need to consider like adding a food to obtain specific nutrients your body needs.