BCAAs are branched chain amino acids (Branched chain Amino Acids). L-leucine, L-valine and L-isoleucine are characterized by this structure. These three amino acids play a significant role in the construction of new muscle fibers, strongly activate the anabolism of new muscle proteins and prevent catabolic processes. They are mainly given to athletes as supplements to prevent central nervous system fatigue. They lead to improved exercise capacity in long-term endurance training. BCAA is also the basis for supplementing strength athletes, which is an excellent weapon in the fight to build muscle mass.
How and from what BCAA is created?
Branched amino acids are mainly produced by two methods – hydrolysis and biofermentation. Both of them use raw materials of natural origin as a substrate. The natural production methods have almost completely supplanted the sythetic. Both the hydrolysis of keratin proteins and the bio-fermentation of plant substrates allows the production of all three BCAA amino acids. In practice, these two methods differ in performance. Both of these methods are run under strictly controlled conditions that allow the production of the highest quality BCAA.
Hydrolysis is based mainly on raw materials of animal origin. The richest in leucine, valine and izoleucyne are, for example, bird feathers, because they contain the most keratin. This may give rise to some controversy, but a well-controlled process and strict analysis of raw materials for production allow the production of pure branched chain amino acids. They are even used in pharmacy as components of some medicinal products. Everything depends on the source. It is known that a good raw material has a price. Some companies, in the pursuit of fast profit and cost cutting, bought cheap, poor quality BCAA amino acids. Their source was fur, claws and other zoonotic waste, and sometimes even human hair. Fortunately, thanks to appropriate regulations in the European Union, such practices have been banned and such raw materials can not be legally sold.
The second method of BCAA production is biofermentation. This is a method that uses specialized microorganisms. They use their enzyme apparatus to biotransform natural medium (soy, molasses, sugar cane) into L-leucine, L-valine and L-isoleucine. Then, the BCAA amino acids thus produced are isolated and separated from the biomass. Finally, we get a raw material with an amino acid concentration close to 99%. A very important aspect of BCAA supplementation is their solubility. It depends on this parameter how quickly these 3 important amino acids are absorbed in the digestive system and reach the muscles. The complicated process of instantisation or micronization significantly increases the solubility of the raw material, which practically does not dissolve in its normal form.
To sum up, a good quality BCAA raw material, from a good producer, allows the production of high quality supplements. Remember this by choosing BCAA amino acids, regardless of whether you reach for the product to be dissolved or in capsules.
It’s really hard to determine exactly on the basis of the composition, which was the source of the obtained preparation. Unfortunately, the manufacturer is not obliged to provide such information to the customer. A really good BCAA often has a much higher price. For people who attach importance to quality, the manufacturer’s warranty and reputation should prove worth a few zlotys per pack.
Is it worth taking BCAA additionally?
As the awareness of physically active people increases, and the popularity of BCAA supplementation increases, the role of the products containing the sources of these amino acids is often downplayed. Consuming them in the form of supplements seems to be a much easier solution. It does not require analyzing the composition and converting content, which can be time-consuming. However, from the perspective of dietetics, you should not only rely on supplements all the time. The justification should be not only the costs, but also the degree of absorption and the preparation of good eating habits.
Branched chain amino acids are a component of food products that will help supplement BCAAs in the diet. Due to their natural origin they are easily absorbed. It should be remembered that the absorption of amino acids from plants is considered to be lower. For this reason, therefore, you should take care of the diet. The beef, chicken breast, tuna, salmon, egg, peanuts, soybeans and cottage cheese are the richest source of amino acids branched in the diet.
A sensible solution seems to be consciously choosing a meal and proper diet arrangement in order to cover the demand for BCAA from natural sources. In a situation where after arranging a proper diet we are still exposed to the deficiency of these amino acids, it is worth to include supplementation. This is often a necessary step for professional athletes and people who train intensively, but this combination of diet and supplementation allows you to achieve satisfactory results.