BCAA: The Building Blocks of Muscle

BCAAs: The Building Blocks of Muscle
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We talk frequently about protein and creatine amidst conversations regarding the best supplements for building muscle, and whilst these are two highly effective and proven ingredients, there are other supplements that deserve recognition too – none more so than BCAA.

Essential Amino Acids

BCAA (branched chain amino acids) are comprised of the three essential amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. These are called ‘essential’ because they are amino acids the body needs, but does not produce on its own.

Unlike most amino acids which are predominantly metabolised in the liver, BCAA are metabolised (primarily) in muscle tissues. This perhaps explains why BCAA are also believed to contribute to energy production during intensive exercise – both directly and indirectly helping to increase fat oxidation for additional energy when glycogen stores are depleted.

Free Form for Rapid Absorption

Whey protein is rich in BCAA so many people question the need to supplement with BCAA separately. And this comes down to the molecular makeup of the BCAA. In whey protein, BCAA are ‘peptide bonded’ and must be released in the digestive system before being absorbed into the blood stream. Whilst whey protein is a fast digesting protein source, this slows down the absorption of BCAA.

BCAA supplements on the other hand are ‘free form’ and this means they require much less digestion which results in rapid absorption.

Protein synthesis & muscle maintenance

It’s widely believed that BCAA supplementation is effective for muscle gain as amino acids are utilised during protein synthesis, aiding in the repair and rebuilding of muscle fibres. It has also more recently been linked to muscle maintenance – acting as an anti-catabolic agent, preventing muscle breakdown when the body is under extreme stress – and thus highly effective for athletes and competitors who train intensively.

Flavoured BCAA

Unflavoured BCAA powder has a notoriously bitter taste. If you’ve ever mixed it up in a protein shake you’re probably aware that in its natural form it can be quite overpowering. To overcome this, we developed a variety of Instant BCAA which are available in 4 different flavours, including Cola, Apple & Lime, Mixed Berry and Tropical. This makes BCAA in their purest form a lot more palatable.

In addition to our Instant BCAA, we have also launched Complete BCAA Energy™. Complete BCAA Energy™ is the perfect drink to sip on during the day – not only do your muscles benefit from high levels of BCAA and L-Glutamine, but your mind and body benefit from a clean, almost subtle, source of energy and focus, courtesy of guarana and green coffee extract.

If you are looking to build muscle and maintain your existing muscle mass during intensive exercise, BCAA could be the perfect supplement to add to your training diet.

For further reading see:

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/2/529S.full

http://www.jissn.com/content/6/S1/P1

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