The term BCAA, or Branch Chained Amino Acids has become a staple in the health and fitness industry, but what are these? How are they different from protein? What do they do? Do you need to take them if you are already taking a protein supplement?
Many people feel a bit confused over this because they know that protein is essentially made up from amino acids. So why would you need to take more? Let’s clear this up and get you on the right path to understanding correct supplementation and why.
What Are Branched Chain Amino Acids?
Branched chain amino acids are three particular amino acids, Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine. These particular amino acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis more efficiently than the other amino acids taken in from foods and synthesized in your body. BCAAs are considered essential because they must be consumed from food or supplementation. BCAAs can not me made inside the body. They are also able to bypass the liver and move straight to the muscle tissues in need. Sounds pretty basic right?
What Are The Benefits Of Branched Chain Amino Acids?
So what benefits do they bring? Are they worth it? The first big benefit is because they stimulate protein synthesis more, they are better for helping to counteract the catabolic process that can happen during a workout session, or while dieting. When dieting, your body is in a catabolic state and is turning to both muscle and fat for fuel. How much fat and muscle it turns to respectively depends on your diet, your exercise habits, and your supplementation.
With the use of branched chain amino acids, you can help prevent the loss of lean muscle mass tissue from taking place, which then keeps your overall strength level higher and can help you sustain a better overall metabolic rate.
Furthermore, branched chain amino acids will also help you move from the catabolic process that is occurring following a workout session to an anabolic process, helping to kick-start your recovery. If you use BCAA’s during your workout session, you can actually prevent your body from moving into a catabolic state in the first place. This prevents the loss of lean muscle mass tissue before it even takes place, and that’s pretty awesome.
So What Else?
Another benefit is that they hit the muscles quickly. As noted, they can move directly into the muscle cells, without having to be processed in the liver. This means if you drink them before or during your workout session, they start acting immediately. The muscles are also able to use these amino acids as a fuel source, thus they may help to kick-start your energy during the workout. This is another big benefit they posses while dieting, or in a calorie deficit.
Sometimes, BCAA products will contain other supplements as well, so they can serve as a good energy booster, fat loss supplement, and recovery supplement. This is the case in Northern's line of BCAA's, which contain 1000mg of L-Carnitine, and 3000mg of L-Glutamine per serving!
Should I Use BCAA’s?
So should you use BCAA’s? Most people should. If you are taking a protein powder, chances are you already taking in some BCAA’s, but you aren’t getting enough to really see the maximum benefit. You want to take a full serving of Northern’s BCAA’s to really reap the rewards. So take this before, or during your workout, and then Northern’s ProWhey after the session is over. Each serving of Northern BCAA's 4:1:1 contains a whopping 7.5 grams of BCAA's.
BCAA’s are especially important while dieting, so if you are on a fat loss plan, you really want to make sure that you are getting them in.
So there you have the low-down on BCAA’s. If you are looking to take your performance up to the next level, it’s one supplement to definitely consider. Keep and eye out from our new BCAA line with the cannabinoid CBD coming shorty!