The significance of protein for bodybuilders has been a proven fact. But, is protein alone enough? No, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are equally important. So, what are these and what is their role in bodybuilding? Let’s understand in detail.
As defined on a blog on the University of New Hampshire, “BCAAs stands for branched-chain amino acids, and the branched-chain refers to the structure of the amino acids. The three branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Out of these three, the most essential is leucine because it has been known to stimulate protein synthesis (muscle growth) on its own.”
Simply put, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. These are organic compounds of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen, along with a changeable side-chain group. Our body needs amino acids to create proteins, which are essential for building muscle, improve endurance, and prevent damage to muscles.
Now comes the question if the human body can make amino acids, then why do bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts need to take BCAA supplements like XTEND BCAA? Well! The human body produces 10 of the 20 amino acids. Those which need supplementation through food or nutritional products comprise the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs), namely, lysine, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, threonine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, valine, and histidine.
Out of these 9 EAAs, leucine, isoleucine & valine are branched-chain amino acids that help reduce muscle fatigue, faster recovery, and increase muscle protein synthesis. Deficiency in BCAAs could lead to muscle loss and increased catabolic effect of dieting on the body. In the case of bodybuilders, intense workouts result in BCAA deletion at a faster rate. Consuming BCAA supplements help reduce muscle damage and aids recovery to sustain the anabolic state. Take a look at these benefits explained in detail below.
Helps Build Muscle
Increased muscle synthesis helps attain that ripped body faster. The BCAA leucine helps achieve it by activating the pathway that spikes the muscle protein synthesis. A 2017-study published in the National Library of Medicine’s journal reported that people who had a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs post-resistance workout showed a 22% increase in muscle protein synthesis.
Reduces Post-workout Exhaustion
During or after the exercise, everyone gets tired at some point. What matters is that how quickly does one get tired. It depends on various factors such as intensity, duration, fitness level, nutrition, climate, etc. But there is more to it. It is a well-known fact that exercise increases serotonin, one of the happiness hormones. However, serotonin also contributes to fatigue while working out. BCAA supplementation helps reduce exercise fatigue and improve mental focus during exercise.
Faster Recovery Time
BCAAs may help minimize post-exercise muscle soreness, also called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). BCAAs have been shown to reduce the length and severity of DOMS as it decreases muscle damage. A study that shows that BCAAs decrease protein breakdown and results in lesser levels of creatine kinase (an indicator of muscle damage).
However, to avail of these benefits of BCAAs, remember to buy reliable brands such as Xtend BCAA.