The top 5 benefits of supplementing with BCAAs
1. BCAAs can speed up your recovery rate from both resistance and endurance training.
As we mentioned previously, studies have shown that supplementing with BCAAs can significantly reduce the time it takes your body to recover from very intense training sessions. It seems that happens because BCAAs become a readily used substrate while training, and supplementing with BCAAs prevents your body from using an alternative source of energy. Additionally, the increased muscle protein synthesis seen when supplementing with BCAAs directly impacts the recovery rate and allows you to train a lot harder and with increased frequency.
2. BCAAs have a low number of calories
Amino acids have approximately the same number of calories as any other peptide molecule or protein, which is 4 calories per gram. But, BCAAs are still the low-calorie option since the nominal dose is less than 10 grams, while on the other hand, you’d need to ingest a greater amount of protein to reach that BCAA dose.
3. BCAAs are digested easily and are very practical
BCAAs are basically unbound, free-form amino acids, which means that will be absorbed very quickly and increase the plasma amino acid levels once you consume them. On the other hand, the protein you get from food will need to be digested or hydrolyzed to a certain degree first, before the aforementioned plasma amino acid levels increase. Plus, drinking a tasty beverage with BCAAs in it is a lot more practical and refreshing then opening up a Tupperware filled with chicken breast, not to mention doing it between sets or when running on the treadmill. It’s practically impossible.
4. BCAAs can help you maintain your precious muscle tissue in times of fasting
BCAAs have the potential to act as anti-catabolic substrates while fasting because they’re insulinogenic amino acids, insulin being a hormone which has a strong inhibiting effect on muscle catabolism (breakdown). So, when you ingest BCAAs, even a small increase in plasma insulin has the potential to suppress gluconeogenesis in the liver by decreasing proteolysis in the muscles and some other tissues.
This basically means that supplementing with BCAAs will prevent the skeletal muscles from using amino acids as a source of energy in prolonged fasting periods, like 8 hours of sleep. Plus, insulin is a hormone with high anabolic properties when the necessary substrates are present. Insulin can increase muscle protein synthesis by getting essential amino acids directly from the amino acid pool found between the cells. That’s why having increased quantities of BCAAs in your body when insulin levels are increased can speed up muscle protein synthesis.
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5. Complete BCAA supplements are better than L-leucine powder supplements
In regards to leucine consumption the approach of “more is better” is definitely wrong because there’s a limit to how much your body is able to use at a certain time. Plus, studies have shown that chronic leucine supplementation can increase insulin resistance, which in a condition of energy surplus could lead to increased weight gain. L-isoleucine also might be responsible for the non-insulin dependent improved rate of glucose uptake in the skeletal muscles. This is just an example of why one should not neglect the benefits iso-leucine and valine provide.
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