What Are BCAAs? Do They Help You Build Muscle?
Are you looking to build muscle and maximize the results of your strength training workouts? Have you been wondering which supplements will help you see the most progress?
When you first think about packing on muscle, products like protein powder might come to mind first. However, other supplements, like BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) can also be beneficial.
If you’re unfamiliar with BCAAs and their benefits, keep reading. Outlined below are some specific facts about BCAAs and how they can help you on your muscle-building journey.
What Are BCAAs?
To help you understand BCAAs, we first need to back up and explain amino acids.
Amino acids are organic compounds that play a major role in protein formation. There are 20 different amino acids that form all kinds of proteins in the body.
Of these 20 amino acids, 9 are known as essential amino acids and 11 are considered non-essential. In this case, “essential” means that the body can’t make them on its own, while “non-essential” means that the body can produce them by itself.
The 9 essential amino acids can be broken down into additional subcategories, including Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs. There are three BCAAs: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
These three amino acids share a unique chemical structure. They have an additional branch that extends from the side. They also offer unique benefits that other amino acids do not.
Do BCAAs Help You Build Muscle?
The short answer to this question is “yes.” When they’re used in conjunction with a healthy diet and consistent workout routine, BCAAs can absolutely help you build muscle.
Here are some of the primary ways they work:
Muscle Protein Synthesis
Of the 3 Branched-Chain Amino Acids, most experts agree that Leucine is the most beneficial when it comes to muscle growth. This is because Leucine stimulates the pathway responsible for muscle protein synthesis.
Muscle protein synthesis is the process by which proteins are produced to repair muscle damage caused by intense workouts. It’s the opposite of muscle protein breakdown, which occurs when protein is lost during intense exercise.
When you’re trying to build muscle, the goal is for muscle protein synthesis to outpace muscle protein breakdown. Adequate supplies of BCAAs, especially Leucine, can help to ensure this happens.
Reduced Post-Workout Soreness
Not only do BCAAs support muscle protein synthesis and muscle repair, but they also help to reduce the amount of muscle damage that occurs in the first place. This, in turn, can minimize the amount of soreness you feel after a difficult workout.
Have you ever been so sore after training that you had to skip your next workout? Or, were you so sore that your workout was lackluster because you could barely move?
BCAAs help to reduce these kinds of issues from happening. This then allows you to be more consistent with your training.
No matter what kind of goal you’re trying to achieve, including building more muscle, consistency will help you to achieve it faster.
Many people find that BCAAs help them to feel less fatigued while exercising, too. They notice improvements in their stamina and have an easier time performing movements with good form.
BCAA supplementation fights fatigue because it helps to prevent the buildup of tryptophan, another amino acid. Tryptophan gets converted into serotonin, which, in addition to being a mood-boosting neurotransmitter, is associated with feelings of sleepiness.
Tryptophan levels rise when BCAA levels get depleted. By supplementing with BCAAs, you can prevent this depletion (and subsequent fatigue) from happening.
When you’re able to fight off fatigue and stay focused while training, you’ll likely see progress sooner than you would otherwise.
Easier Muscle Maintenance
BCAAs can also help you to maintain muscle mass and avoid muscle breakdown. If you’re looking to get lean and build muscle at the same time, supplementing with BCAAs can help you achieve your goal.
Supplementing with BCAAs will reduce your chances of losing muscle, even when you’re eating in a calorie deficit. This, in turn, keeps your metabolism working properly and helps you to burn more calories during your workouts.
How Much BCAA to Take
BCAA supplements can do a lot for you when you’re on a muscle-building journey. You might be wondering, though, how much BCAA to take to see results.
Most BCAA supplements contain about 7g (0.24 ounces) of BCAAs per serving. This is an effective dose for most people and can help them see progress in the muscle-building department.
How Much BCAA Should I Take a Day?
For most people, the 7g (or 0.25 ounces) of BCAAs in their BCAA supplement will be enough to help them see a difference from their training.
Some people may want to take multiple servings, though. This could be especially helpful for those who don’t get a lot of BCAAs from their diet.
For example, vegans and vegetarians often don’t get enough BCAAs from food. This is because most plant-based protein sources don’t contain them in sufficient quantities.
Upping your BCAA supplementation could help you to combat this issue and ensure your diet is sabotaging your muscle-building efforts.
Which BCAA Should I Take?
Okay, you know why BCAAs are beneficial for muscle-building and how much you should aim to consume per day. You might be wondering now, though, which BCAA product will work best for you.
There are a few different types of BCAA supplements you can choose from. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide which one is the best fit for you:
BCAAs with EAAs
Some BCAA products, such as ProSupps HydroBCAA+Essentials, also provide you with a healthy dose of Essential Amino Acids. This is a great choice for those who are worried about their amino acid and protein intake (such as vegans and vegetarians).
The great thing about this product is that it also contains electrolytes, which are electrically charged minerals that support adequate hydration. Not only will you be supporting your body’s muscle-building processes with it, but you’ll also be keeping yourself hydrated at the same time.
BCAAs with Caffeine
Another good option for those who struggle with fatigue during their workouts is ProSupps HydroBCAA+Energy. As the name suggests, this product contains caffeine (125mg or 0.004 ounces) to boost your energy and help you feel powered up and ready to train.
This product is often used as a pre-workout supplement. You could also sip on it during a long workout, though, to enjoy steady energy throughout the entire training session.
Experience the Difference BCAAs Make Today
Are you ready to start building serious muscle? If so, BCAAs can help.
Now that you know more about what BCAAs are, how they support muscle-building, and how much you need to take to see a difference, it’s time to give them a try for yourself.
When shopping for BCAAs, be sure to look for a high-quality, expertly dosed product. Head to our shop today to check out our options and find one that works for you.