The Benefits of BCAA Supplements For Athletes

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BCAAs, also known as branch chain amino acids, help you take your workout to the next level. They boost your energy level by up to 30%. They also help your body use the protein you take in more effectively. Post-workout they help with your recovery process, as well.

You want to get the most out of any supplements you take. You’ll do that by taking the right amount of BCAAs at the right times. Let’s talk about what you should know about using the best BCAA supplements so you get the most benefits. Read on to find out more!

What Are BCAAs?

BCAA stands for branch chain amino acids. There are three which are part of the nine essential amino acids we get from foods. These three are isoleucine, leucine, and valine. BCAAs exist in foods like meat and others that are high in protein. Foods high in BCAAs include:

  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Lentils and beans
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts

Many people get BCAAs from supplements, though. They come in capsules or pills but are most commonly taken in powder form when added to a liquid of choice. Choose what works best for you. 

What Are the Benefits of BCAAs?

BCAAs work along with the other six essential amino acids to give your muscles a boost in growth. If you’re trying to build more muscle, BCAAs help you do that at a faster rate and with better results. They allow for better protein synthesis within the muscles. 

Protein synthesis refers to the muscle’s ability to make the most use of the protein you’re taking in. Greater protein synthesis means your muscle gets all of the benefits it can from the protein you’re giving it. 

Do you experience muscle soreness after a workout? BCAAs play a role in the recovery process of muscles. They help reduce soreness caused by tiny tears in the muscles. 

Fatigue goes hand-in-hand with exercise. BCAAs help to decrease the fatigue you experience from working out. They do this by decreasing the amount of tryptophan in your brain. You experience workout fatigue when tryptophan converts to serotonin. BCAAs slow this process down or block it from occurring. 

Sometimes muscles can break down. You can experience muscle wasting when the breakdown of muscle tissue happens at a higher rate than the protein synthesis rate. Essentially, the body loses muscle mass. BCAA supplements can stop this process from progressing or at least slow it down.

When Should I Take BCAA Supplements?

Take BCAA supplements during your workouts. They help to sustain your energy through intense and long workouts. You won’t feel the same level of exercise fatigue you experience without them. That allows you to push through and get a better workout. 

Taking BCAAs before you workout helps prepare your muscles to make the most of the proteins in your body. This increases the rate of protein synthesis in your muscle tissue. 

Add some BCAA supplement powder into your protein shake right after your workout. The amino acids are considered recovery supplements, which make things easier and more efficient. They also lessen the risk of muscle breakdown. 

How Much Should I Take?

The optimal BCAA dose for adults varies depending on lifestyle and goals. Those doing light to moderate exercise don’t need as much as those with an intense workout schedule. Recommendations are also different between men and women.

Women who stay healthy with light to moderate exercise should take 9 grams per day. Women doing more strenuous workouts with high levels of intensity or those doing endurance activities should take between 10 to 15 grams per day.

Healthy men doing moderate exercise need about 12 grams per day. Bump that up to between 15 and 25 grams per day if your workouts are long or intense.

Though there aren’t many studies about the effects of too many BCAA supplements, it’s deemed ok for active adults to take in up to 35 grams per day.

Final Thoughts

BCAA supplements can be added to any dietary supplement plan. There are benefits for people at all levels of fitness, as well as those who don’t participate in physical fitness routines. These three essential amino acids help your muscles use the protein you take in to build muscle, recover faster, and prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue. Take BCAAs before, during, and after workouts for faster results. 

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