What are BCAAs?

BCAA, or branched chained amino acids, is a combination of three branched amino acids: valine, leucine and isoleucine. They are exogenous amino acids, so our body can not produce them by itself, so we must provide them with food.

What are the BCAA amino acids characterized by?

Leucine blocks the action of cortisol, which is a hormone responsible not only for stress, but also for catabolic processes that cause the breakdown of muscle tissue. This amino acid also increases the production of proteins in the muscles. In turn, valine – like its predecessor – protects muscles from destruction, and also regulates the concentration of growth hormone in the body and improves the processes of obtaining energy in the muscle. Isoleucine also works anti-catabolic. In addition, it regulates blood sugar levels, preventing hunger pangs. The effects of using BCAA can include:

  • inhibiting catabolism and accelerating anabolism (i.e building muscle mass)
  • improving muscle strength
  • reducing body fat and sculpting the body
  • stimulating the nervous system

This is a very effective supplements, but many people are wondering if there are other supplements that work in a similar way and that can be used as an alternative. Certainly, there are several preparations that can replace BCAA amino acids in a way.

BCAA is set of three important amino acids - Leucine, isoleucine and valine
BCAA is set of three important amino acids – Leucine, isoleucine and valine

BCAA – replacements

Protein instead of BCAA

Whey protein is the best substitution for BCAA supplements
Whey protein is the best substitution for BCAA supplements

One of these types of supplements are protein supplements. It is well known that the level of protein in the diet is necessary for the proper functioning of the whole body, not only in training people, but also in those to whom sport is foreign. Protein is very important as it allows the growth and development of tissues, the synthesis of hormones and the creation of many biological molecules. Athletes should pay special attention to its supply during the day, because it is the protein that determines the development of the muscles and their regeneration after training. It is recommended to consume from 2 to 4 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. There are many types of protein supplements, tailored to the preferences of each athlete, so the choice is wide and everyone will certainly find something for themselves.

MCT as a BCAA replacement

The second group of preparations that can be used instead of BCAA are MCT oils. What are they actually like? It is worth starting here by indicating the division of fats into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, as well as saturated ones. The latter are divided into long-chain and medium-chain, or otherwise MCT – Medium Chain Triglyceride.

What properties do MCT have?

First of all, they prolong the presence of food within the gastrointestinal tract, therefore they affect the feeling of satiety and better absorption of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. In this way, these fats prevent continuous snacking, eliminating the risk of increasing fat tissue, and additionally allow for greater use of essential substances, which are often responsible for the growth of muscle mass and endurance of the body.

ZMA instead of BCAA supplements

It is also worth mentioning ZMA. It is a combination of zinc and magnesium and vitamin B6. These compounds are a barrier against the undesirable effects of overloads related to, for example, lack of appetite, injuries or too much physical effort. What is the operation of ZMA? Testosterone is produced with the participation of zinc, which is necessary for this process, as well as magnesium. Vitamin B6 is an aid in the absorption of both elements. All this is very important, because a reduced level of testosterone causes increased secretion of cortisol, or the hormone responsible for muscle catabolism. In addition, ZMA also reduces muscle spasms, increases endurance and energy, and promotes concentration.

DAA and BCAA amino acids

It is also a good idea to use DAA, or D-aspartic acid. Like ZMA, it is a testosterone booster. Thanks to its supplementation you can effectively increase muscle strength and endurance as well as prevent the breakdown of muscle fibers. In addition, DAA also has a positive effect on male libido and semen quality, thus combining many properties.