Every protein molecule in our body is made up of amino acids. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it gets a little more complicated when you look at the chemical structure of those amino acids. Some have branches in their chemical structure, and some don’t. The ones with a branched chain are called branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). They are frequently required by the body to develop healthy muscular tissue. BCAAs are found in foods such as dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish, but BCAA supplement beverages, powders, and pills are also quite popular. Supplement powders and beverages offer the same benefits as sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade, but without the added sugar and corn syrup.
What are the benefits of supplementing BCAA?You’ll receive a multitude of benefits from supplementing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Some of these include:
- Increased testosterone: Not only do BCAAs increase your testosterone levels, which, as we know, is important for muscle growth and development, but it also decreases cortisol levels, which is important because cortisol is a catabolic hormone. Research shows that BCAA supplementation can increase anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone while reducing the catabolic hormone cortisol.
- Muscle building: Supplementing with BCAAs has been shown to help increase muscle mass during training; this is due to the fact that BCAA supplementation increases protein synthesis and lowers the breakdown of proteins in muscles, leading to increased strength and size gains.
- Increased energy levels: During periods of fasting or intense exercise, BCAAs are metabolized in the brain to create neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. This results in decreased fatigue during workouts by decreasing energy depletion.
- Faster recovery: Studies have shown that BCAA supplementation helps increase the speed of recovery following exercise; this occurs due to increased ability for protein synthesis after training sessions with BCAAs than without them.