Everyone has heard of it at some point, but not everyone knows why or how to use it. BCAAs are nothing more than three amino acids – leucine, valine, and isoleucine. These three amino acids, cannot be synthesized by the body itself, which means that we have to supply them with food to the body. Leucine, which is usually the highest in all formulas, is an antagonist of cortisol, which is responsible for the breakdown of muscle tissue. Leucine also helps in the formation of new muscle proteins. Valine has a similar protective effect as leucine, and isoleucine participates in the regulation of blood glucose levels.
Effect of BCAA
Intensive training can cause an overproduction of nitric oxide. What do BCAAs have to do with it? Those amino acids transfer nitric oxide to the liver, where the process of gluconeogenesis takes place and the new material is converted into energy reserves.
First, we will focus on the action most important for physically active people. By taking amino acids, post-workout regeneration is intensified. Higher strength gains are also reported during the supplementation. However, the most important action of these three amino acids is that they inhibit catabolic processes, helps in building muscle mass, help reduce body fat, and also decrease pain perception.
How much BCAA to take?
It is assumed that per 10 kg of body weight, you should take 0.5-1 g of BCAA. Of course, it all depends on how physically active you are and what kind of training you do. Both the amount and the time of intake are extremely important. BCAAs should be taken in split doses before and after training. Before the training, they will add strength and help in increasing muscle response to the training, and after the workout, they will help you recover more quickly. However, remember to take your BCAAs no later than 15 minutes after your workout. On non-workout days, take one portion of the BCAA supplement in the morning and the second one in the evening, just before sleep.
It should be remembered that supplements alone are not enough. BCAA can only supplement those 3 amino acids, but for optimal muscle-building processes rate, we need all exogenous amino acids in sufficient amount. That means that every athlete must take care of their diet and proper protein supply. Only with high-protein food, we are able to absorb all essential amino acids.