Before we dive into BCCAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) it is important to first define Amino Acids. Amino acids are organic compounds which when grouped together form protein, they are the building blocks for our body’s tissues (organs, muscle, skin, and nails) and play many crucial roles in the body including, rebuilding tissue, healing wounds, and acting as a precursor for enzymes and neurotransmitters.
There are two main categories of Amino Acids. Non-Essential Amino Acids, which get their name from our ability to produce them internally, and Essential Amino Acids that must be consumed through our diet. Within the essential amino acid category, (Histidine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine) we have three branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs): Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. These three compounds are the focus of today’s blog.
Incredibly, 35% of our muscle tissue is comprised of these BCAAs and their unique “branched” structure. They have also been shown to provide several benefits when supplemented. These benefits include:
- Helping to promote protein synthesis and assist in muscle growth and repair.
- Helping retain lean muscle mass by promoting the anabolic process (building) and decreasing catabolic processes (breaking down)- especially if you are in a calorie deficit.
- Helping to control blood sugar
- Helping to improve endurance and strength
- Assisting in recovery, by potentially decreasing muscle soreness
- Boosting the immune system
BCAAs are found naturally in a variety of animal protein sources (red meat, chicken, pork, turkey, eggs, fish etc.) as well as plant sources (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina, nuts, peas, and beans etc.). I recommend eating a full balanced diet with a variety of protein sources in order to obtain the full spectrum of amino acids. It can, however, be beneficial, especially if you are quite active (which you likely are if you are reading this) to take a BCAA supplement Pre/Post workout. The optimal dose of the above benefits? 5 grams.
We recommend mixing 1 scoop Biosteel High-Performance Sports Mix with 1 scoop Biosteel BCAAs. (Lemon-Lime and Citrus go together perfectly, tastes delicious and you get your 5 grams!)