Also known as branched-chain amino acids, BCAAs are composed of valine, isoleucine, and leucine. These amino acids are mostly recommended to people who have active lifestyles and are aiming to lose weight. This is because branched-chain amino acids are capable of helping us manage fatigue, improve exercise performance as well as stimulate muscle growth.
Aside from its involvement in muscle growth and enhancing our stamina, BCAAs are also helpful in energy production, blood sugar level regulation, liver, and muscle sugar preservation, as well as bloodstream cells, functioning. As with the effectiveness of the amino acids, valine and isoleucine are crucial in maintaining the levels of sugar in our blood, while leucine is important to ensure muscle protein build up.
With the health benefits offered by branched-chain amino acids, many people, especially athletes, are relying on BCAA supplements to obtain and sustain the energy that they need for their workouts and other athletic sessions. To enhance our understanding of these three amino acids, here is a roundup of the good things that we can get from BCAA supplements.
How BCAAs Affect Us After Exercise?
Many sports medicine experts recommend the intake of BCAA supplements before engaging in any form of exercise or strenuous physical activity as the amino acids are important to lower our lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase levels, which are associated with muscle injuries and damages. With the intake of BCAAs, it is expected that the recovery of the muscles will be sped up after workouts.
This claim was supported by several studies wherein participants were asked to assess the levels or intensity of soreness in the muscles that they are feeling after doing strength training workouts. One of the studies showed that those who received the supplements had 33% lower soreness intensity in their muscles as compared to the rest of the participants. Meanwhile, other studies found 20% better workout performance in BCAA supplement recipients, Despite these findings, it is also good to know that the results of the studies are highly affected by several factors such as the protein level in their diet and the participants’ gender.
BCAA Supplements Effect on Muscles
If we are to look at marketing trends, we will find that many customers, especially the athletic ones buy and intake BCAA supplements with the hope of boosting the mass of their muscles. This assumption is supported by a recent study which showed that the supplements contain the three amino acids that are effective in muscle buildup. However, to achieve this goal, it is just necessary that athletes take supplements with higher leucine content than the other branch-chained amino acids valine and isoleucine. Moreover, many experts also recommend that the supplements be taken along with whole protein diet to achieve better health results.
Impact of Branched-Chain Amino Acids Supplements on Muscle Breakdown
Whether we are at rest or involved in stressful physical activities, our muscles are constantly rebuilding and synthesizing. This process is essential to maintain and identify the levels of protein needed by our body. However, when the process is interrupted due to sudden impact or unhealthy behavior, our body will undergo muscle wasting which is correlated with several diseases such as cancer and other chronic infections.
This is where the BCAA supplements are very helpful as they will replace the lost amino acids when our body experiences muscle wasting. With the help of these supplements, there is a big chance that the process will be put to stop or the progression will be delayed. When this occurs, the amino acid replacements are expected to promote our quality of living and motor skills.
Importance of the Supplements to Liver Disease Patients
A chronic disease wherein the patient’s liver is failing to function as expected, cirrhosis is caused by a lot of factors such as frequent and uncontrolled alcoholic drinks intake. Medical studies have proven that half of the cirrhosis patients are commonly diagnosed with hepatic encephalopathy which is a medical condition that leads to brain function loss due to the liver’s inability to eliminate the toxins from our body.
Antibiotic and sugar intake are among the most recommended treatments for the patients, however, research also showed that the symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy are lessened in participants who had regular BCAA supplements. In addition to this, a lot of medical studies also claimed that patients with liver cancer or liver cirrhosis can also have better chances of survival if they are taking these amino acids. These research findings have triggered scientific experts to promote the use of these supplements to prevent further progression and complications of liver diseases.
What Are the Other Sources of BCAAs?
In addition to supplements, it is also helpful to know the other sources of these amino acids as they are very important to the health of our musculoskeletal system. Many medical studies indicate the addition of food rich in protein such as lean meat to our daily diet to ensure that we have enough amino acids to sustain the energy that we need. For those who are meat lovers, they can always include ground beef and chicken breast in their daily meals. On the other hand, for vegetarians and vegans, whey protein and soy protein are essential to maintaining their health.
If you are looking for chicken and beef alternative, you can always try tuna, salmon or turkey breast if these are available in nearby stores. Meanwhile, people who enjoy dairy products can add Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, eggs and milk as good sources of these amino acids.
The effectiveness of branched-chain amino acids is not just promoted to us, but it is also widely seen and implemented in hospitals and other medical facilities. Most doctors recommend to patients the intake of the supplements as they have proven these to be essential to prevent muscle soreness, save people from extreme muscle fatigue as well as ensure healthy muscle buildup. However, to avoid any possible body reactions, it is still advised that before taking these supplements, we have to consult and ask the opinion of our family doctor just to be sure that these BCAAs will surely do their job and help us stay fit and healthy.