Taking to our social media platforms such instagram, we sometimes can’t help but drown in the aura of admiration whenever we come across those glamorous and godlike looking models, who have super built and healthy bodies.
However, what we often do fail to realize is that, these properly built looking models, go through a strict chain of dieting which helps them attain such height of healthiness. And that most of them, concentrate on eating protein high meals such as eggs, dairy products, fish, beans, almond and every other source of protein that you could possibly think of.
Now the question is, how is protein so vital in building one’s muscle for the fit ones, or contribute to ones healthiness for the ordinary models?
The answer is simple. It is so because, protein is made up of 20 different amino acids, 9 of which can only be obtained from diets, which is why they are being called essential. Now, out of the 9 essential amino acids, three of them are branch chained amino acids (BCAA) namely valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
Thus, for the purpose of this article, we’ll be discussing on these branched chain amino acids,their benefits, drawbacks and when its best for it to be used.
Table of Contents
What is BCAA?
In order to have a clearer view of what we’d be discussing in this write up, it is important for us to first have an understanding of what BCAA is.
BCAA which is an acronym for “branched chain amino acids” comprises of the 3 chemically structured amino acids namely; isoleucine, leucine and valine.
These acids usually come in an alphatic structured form, as seen in the image above, with a branch that is often tied to three or more than atoms.
And being a part of the proteigenic acids, these branched chain amino acids are often taken to help boost specific features in one’s body, which we shall be discussing in the next section of this write up.
Benefits of BCAA
BCAA comes with a plethora of benefits, however, we’ll be looking today at 5 proven benefits of these branched chain amino acids to one’s body.
1. Prevention of Muscle Soreness
For the fitness inclined people, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as you’ve at least felt soreness once or twice after going through a rigorous workout.
This soreness which is often known as Delayed Onset Dorm Soreness(DOMS), usually occurs when one engages in an exercise that they have perhaps not engaged in for quite a long time.
This pain most likely comes, couple of hours after the exercise has been done, and stays for at least a maximum of 3 days(72hours).
However, recent studies have proven that the presence of BCAA’s in one’s body, helps in alleviating such pains, as a result of the three amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine.
This is the reason why most body builders take BCAA supplements as their pre and pro workout shake, in order to avoid such pains from coming their way after leaving incredibly heavy metals.
2. Muscle Growth
One of the most essential functions of BCAA, is in the building of muscle tissues.
And leucine, which is a part of the three BCAA, is often responsible for creating the channel for the building of one’s Muscle(muscle protein synthesis.
However it is important to note that in as much as BCAA can enhance muscle growth, they can barely help the muscle attain its full growth, as all the nine essential amino acids are often needed to achieve a full potential of muscle growth.
It is only natural for fatigue to set in during an exercise or muscle work out.
However, an adequate level of BCAA in one’s body can prove to be advantageous in conditions like this, and here is the reason.
The presence of BCAA in one’s blood vessels during workout, helps in preventing the increase of tryptophan, and amino acid which converts to serotonin in the brain, which causes fatigue during work outs.
This is why, based on the level of BCAA found in athletes, some tend to perform better and longer than the rest in terms of fatigue level, during the course of their sports.
4. Muscle Misplacement
For those of us that aren’t aware, during workouts we don’t build muscle, rather, we break them down.
And these broken muscles usually require a certain degree of protein in our bodies to build up(synthesis) and become bigger and stronger.
As such, there has to be a balance between one’s protein level and the muscle broken down, in order avoid muscle wastage, a factor which contributes to why some people find it hard in building muscle.
Thus, having a considerable amount of BCAA does not only help in preventing this muscle deficit from occurring, but also blocks the wastage of muscle during synthesis(muscle building).
Lastly, studies have shown that the presence of BCAA in one’s system helps in preventing liver disease complications such as cirrhosis which usually grows into hepatic encephalopathy(brain loss).
Thus medical researchers have advised that once in a while, we should endeavour to check our BCAA levels in order to be on the safer side, in case diseases such as the one mentioned above hits the body. Remember, prevention is better than cure, so do the right thing before it becomes too late.
Drawbacks of BCAA
An excessive intake of BCAA, could result in a lot of negative health conditions like;
- Over fatigue
- Loss of coordination (Brain Dysfunction)
- Chronic headaches
- Type 2 diabetes as a result of an increase in insulin’s resistance
- Increase in blood sugar levels
In essence, if you’re preparing to go on a surgical operation, it’s best you abstain from taking in BCAA’s before and after the time for the surgery, in order to avoid surgical complications.
When Should I Use it?
The intake of BCAA depends on what occasion you’re using it. If you’re a body builder or into fitness, then it’s okay for you to consume BCAA, but in a considerable portion to avoid causing other health problems.
Other than that, it’s best you consult a physician in order to receive proper advice on when to take them or not.
All being said, BCAA plays an important role in the growth and well-being of one’s body, like in the area of muscle growth and prevention of disease complications like in the case of hepatic encephalopathy, nevertheless, when consuming them, it’s advisable to get directions from a physician or calculate the level of intake in order to avoid causing bad health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels and the rest.