A popular category that has arisen over the last decade in the dietary supplement industry is the ever-popular branch-chain amino acids or for our article BCAAs. The brand-chain portion of the name refers to the make-up of the BCAAs which are found in products that are high in protein from animal’s. These BCAAs are Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine. Over the last decade some very compelling research has come out in favor of these products, which is probably a good reason for their explosion in popularity. Much of the popularity I believe now is centered around the fact that BCAAs can simply make water taste good and have positive health benefits and literally no down side as of yet.
BCAAs in many studies have been shown to support the growth of muscles, which is no surprise from what they are derived from. In a recent study, it was shown that drinking BCAAs after weighted exercise helps increase muscle protein synthesis in the body. Muscle protein synthesis is the holy grail for any athlete as it is the bodies response to muscle damage. The body produces protein to help repair muscles at a rapid rate so increasing this process will support the body in repairing faster.
BCAAs along with increased protein synthesis can assist with muscles soreness that many individuals get in the gym known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This is partly because BCAAs assist in decreasing muscle damage. This same process seems to also help athletes with fatigue as having BCAAs present can assist in high level activity. This same process can also assist in the body for the prevention of muscles break down. Having more BCAAs present will prevent this process from happening.
It is safe to say that BCAAs have a rightful place in the dietary supplement industry or really anyone’s diet. Many companies take their own approach to these products adding other compounds designed to help athletic activity in whatever form or fashion they are designed for. Like with all products you should start small and work up to what you find fits your preference. The good news with BCAAs is there really is no way to overdo them!