Branch Chained Amino Acids commonly known as BCAAs, are the building blocks of Protein. Breaking down the protein molecule and removing the BCAAs gives your muscles quick access to the much needed fuel to begin the recovery process, cutting down the extra steps your body needs to go through to breakdown the protein molecule. The faster your body recovers from a training session the better you will perform. In a study conducted on 12 long distance runners, there was a clear indication of reduced muscle soreness and fatigue in runners that used BCAAs opposed to the runner who didn’t take BCAAs.
There are three Branch Chained Amino Acids that we need to aid protein synthesis, they are;
Leucine is an essential branch chained amino acid, which cannot be synthesized in the human body; therefore we need to supplement it through a dietary source. Leucine is also one of the most important amino acids that we need in order to preserve and rebuild lean muscle mass. Studies have shown that after strenuous exercise, Leucine levels decrease in both your muscles and blood serum which reveals that your muscles are feeding off Leucine to preserve it. Leucine also activates mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) which is a critical component in muscle building. mTOR is your bodies switch that turns on your muscle manufacturing process and Leucine not only aids in the process of getting it started but it is also is the raw material in the muscle manufacturing process.
Leucine also, indirectly helps you lose body fat by increasing your lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is directly proportional to your bodies metabolic rate, therefore more muscle means a higher metabolic rate turning your body into a fat burning furnace.
The recommended dosage of leucine for individual involved in resistance training is about 8g/day. A good source of Leucine is Whey protein which will provides approximately 2.5g – 3 g of Leucine; Cheese, meats and fish are also a good source for Leucine.
The main function of Isoleucine is to boost energy and help muscles recover. Isoleucine is broken down within the muscle and converted to energy. You break down isoleucine into acetyl-CoA, which is the same molecule produced when breaking down glucose. Acetyl-CoA is burned to produce carbon dioxide, oxygen and a large quantity of energy. Isoleucine is stored in your muscles and if you don’t have a sufficient supply of Isoleucine in your blood stream your body’s automatic reaction will be to tap into its storage in search energy, depleting your muscles with Isoleucine, resulting in reduction of muscle mass. Isoleucine deficiency is marked by muscle tremors.
Isoleucine aids in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. A recommended dosage range for isoleucine is approximately 50-70mg/kg.
Valine promotes muscle growth and tissue repair. There may be a link between valine levels and insulin; which may be able to treat conditions associated with insulin resistance.
Valine promotes muscle tissue growth, aids in muscle recovery, and repair. Also, Valine maintains blood pressure and supports hormone production. A key aspect of Valine is the ability to reduce muscle wasting in athletes and also increase healing time.
Athlete involved in vigorous training routines should take a BCAA supplement to increase recovery time and performance.
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