If you are serious about fitness, then you likely have heard of BCAAs. They are an important supplement for those trying to lose weight or gain muscle, but many still have questions about how exactly BCAA supplements help fitness enthusiasts and why they are worth adding into their routine. Read on to learn more, and find the right BCAA supplement for you here with Golden Era Nutrition, where healthy ingredients and great taste are our priorities.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids, named for their branched molecular structure. BCAAs include three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and they are called “essential” amino acids because they are important for the function of your body, but you can’t produce them within. Instead, BCAAs have to come from outside sources such as supplements or food.
Amino acids in general are important to your body because they are the “building blocks” of protein, meaning the molecules link together to form a chain we consider protein. BCAAs are particularly important because they represent about 35% of the total amino acids within your body, and around 14% of the amino acids found within your muscles.
What Do BCAAs Do?
Branched-chain amino acids contribute to a number of functions throughout your body, many of which are involved in how you feel when you workout, how you recover, and how you benefit from exercise.
- Preserve muscle glycogen stores
- Fuel your muscles
- Minimize protein breakdown during exercise
- Aid in weight loss
- Boost muscle growth and support muscle maintenance
- Reduce physical and mental fatigue
- Reduce muscle soreness
- Maximize protein synthesis
Let’s break down a few of those benefits to understand more.
Fuel Your Muscles
BCAAs help fuel your muscles by preserving your body’s glycogen stores, glycogen being the main source of fuel for your muscles. A strong supply of glycogen gives your body a reliable source of energy to use during workouts, and it prevents your body from breaking down muscle protein to be used as fuel. Because BCAAs largely bypass your gut and liver to directly reach your bloodstream, they can be broken down to provide a near-immediate source of energy to your muscles during exercise.
Another connection scientists have noticed is that when your body’s supply of BCAAs decline during exercise, it boosts the levels of serotonin in your brain. This exchange is thought to contribute to the feeling of fatigue you experience during exercise. A supplemental supply of BCAA can alter this process to help you feel more energized for longer. It’s one of the reasons why BCAAs are a helpful supplement not only to weight lifters and bodybuilders, but also to runners, hikers, and almost anyone in a sports team.
Maximize Protein Synthesis
The amino acid leucine is particularly important to the process of protein synthesis. It kickstarts the process of muscle protein synthesis by activating the mTOR complex, the key to protein synthesis, and therefore, activating muscle growth. Leucine also triggers increased levels of insulin, a hormone that in of itself encourages protein synthesis and prevents protein breakdown. Additional branched-chain amino acids encourage faster protein synthesis, and they can give you the boost you need to maintain the same intensity and frequency of workouts for a longer period of time.
Who Can Benefit From BCAAs?
As we mentioned, many different people can experience benefits from additional branched-chain amino acids, particularly athletes and anyone participating in heavy resistance training. Other candidates include those who are working hard on muscle growth or maintenance. If your everyday health practice includes fasting or you are on a low-carb diet, and therefore you often workout in a glycogen-depleted state, supplemental BCAAs can benefit you by reducing fatigue and improve your body’s utilization of fat.
How to Utilize BCAAs
BCAAs can be consumed before or after a workout, and both instances offer benefits. As we mentioned, supplemental branched-chain amino acids can offer an immediate energy boost, support your natural endurance, and help you feel better throughout a hard workout if you take them beforehand. A BCAA boost after your workout can help prevent muscle protein breakdown and address soreness.
You can find the right essential amino acids supplement for you in the Golden Era Nutrition inventory, where we have several different formulas to meet your needs and a variety of flavors to make every dose delicious. We encourage you to find a formula that works for you and use it alongside a healthy, balanced diet.
How Much BCAAs Do I Need?
The real question for anyone considering an essential amino acid supplement is: do I need this, and how much do I need? For generally healthy adults, women are recommended to include at least 9 grams of BCAAs in their diet and men are advised to include at least 12 grams. Most studies on supplemental BCAAs and their benefits concentrate on about 10 to 20 grams of BCAAs per day.
Branched-chain amino acids are naturally found in foods, particularly those that are protein-rich. Here are a few examples where you can find BCAAs in whole foods:
- Meat, poultry, and fish — almost 7 grams per 100 grams of beef
- Soy products such as tofu — around 1 to 2 grams per 3 ounces of tofu
- Eggs — about 3 grams per 2 eggs
- Nuts and seeds — about 1 gram per 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds
- Legumes such as beans and lentils — about 3 grams per cup
- Dairy products — about 2 grams per half cup of milk
Making sure you include these foods in your diet can help increase your body’s levels of branched-chain amino acids. You can also seek out some of the individual amino acids within BCAAs in food, such as leucine in whole grains and isoleucine in almonds and cashews. Supplemental BCAAs from companies like Golden Era Nutrition can further support you in the pursuit of your fitness and well-being goals.
Order Your BCAA Supplements Today
Are you ready to feel better during your workouts, boost muscle growth, and experience other benefits associated with branched-chain amino acids? Place your order with Golden Era Nutrition today. Our inventory includes several formulas focusing on BCAAs, including our Gray Label formula with glutamine and our fruit-flavored Black Label blend combining them with other essential amino acids. Explore our site to find the right BCAA supplement for you, or contact a member of our team today for more information!