So what do these random letters actually mean? I’m sure you’ve all heard one of your “gym” friends talk about them or some famous fitness YouTuber, but what are BCAAs.
What are BCAAs
BCAAs are a form of amino acids known as Branched Chain Amino Acids (hence the BCAAs). These branched chain amino acids are actually “essential” amino acids, this means that the body is incapable of making them and instead, you have to consume them.
There are three essential amino acids – Isoleucine, Valine and Leucine.
- Leucine – This is the main component of BCAAs and the one which is most important. It helps to preserve leans muscle mass, increases insulin sensitivity and activates mTOR (promotes muscles growth)
- Isoleucine – Helps with energy uptake to the muscles and helps to prevent protein breakdown
- Valine – Although essential doesn’t have a key role, it basically performs the same function as the other 2 but just not as well.
Should I take BCAAs
This is the real question now, should you take BCAAS? Will supplementing with BCAAs increase strength and size?
Well to be honest with you, you are already taking BCAAs. Most protein sources such as chicken, egg, beef and nuts contain BCAAs. If you are already consuming adequate protein (1g/lb of bodyweight or 2.2g/kg) then supplementing probably isn’t necessary… You will also find them in your protein shakes!
Instead of supplementing with them, try to just consume more protein and you should get enough from your diet.
However, it is entirely a personal preference, I eat enough protein but still use BCAAs as an intra-workout or for fasted cardio. So it’s your choice! You should try aim to consume 5 – 20g per day and only be worried if you don’t consume enough food from animal sources. I use myprotein BCAAs.
One thing to note however is that studies have shown that leucine, when consumed alone, has a much greater effect then when taken in BCAAs. This might be one supplement to try taking instead of BCAAs.
The only source of knowledge is experience – Albert Einstein
Comment below or hit me up on social media with any questions! Check out other supplement advice here…