Branched-chain amino acids (or BCAAs) are some of the most crucial substances for building muscle.
It is true that protein-rich food items such as dairy, poultry, and meat products are a great source of protein, but you should know that individual amino acids greatly influence the process of muscle growth and development in a myriad of ways.
Studies on BCAAs
Of all the amino acids, medical studies have shown that leucine, valine, and isoleucine, collectively referred to as branched-chain amino acids, are the most crucial in optimal muscle growth, increased energy levels, and enhanced athletic performance.
Branched-chain amino acids are aptly named due to the inherent structure of isoleucine, valine, and leucine on a molecular level. These amino acids have been around far longer than other amino acids such as creatine and beta-alanine, but it was only recently that fitness experts and medical professionals realized the wide range of benefits that can be derived from BCAA intake in terms of muscle growth and development.
Although these amino acids are generally small in size, they pack a huge punch in terms of muscle growth and development. You know what they say about good things coming in small packages (Or at least that’s what you keep telling yourself. Kidding.)
Essential Amino Acids
BCAAs are identified as essential amino acids. This basically means that we need to source them from our diet or through supplements as the human body is unable to produce them on its own. It is important to remember that BCAA supplementation should only be taken in prescribed amounts. Excessive amounts of the three amino acids can be harmful so here’s our PSA: Don’t exceed the recommended dosages, you greedy meatheads.
The Three Amino Acids
There are 22 essential amino acids that the body needs to function properly. Of all these protein building blocks; leucine, valine, and isoleucine are known to comprise 1/3 of the amino acids within the muscle tissue. It is, therefore, crucial for men and women to include BCAAs as part of their supplementation regimen.
Safety of BCAA Supplementation
Unlike other bodybuilding supplements that flood the market, BCAAs are relatively safer to take on a continuous basis as they are metabolized by muscle tissues and not the liver. There are no common negative side effects for BCAAs when taken as directed.
BCAA Shopping Guide
Branched-chain amino acids come in several form factors: tablets, capsules, and in powder form.
It is best to choose the variety that fits your needs and your lifestyle. A large majority of bodybuilders opt to choose BCAA in powder form since you can simply mix it into your shakes. Some brands of protein powder will come pre-mixed with BCAAs.
The most important consideration when buying BCAA is the company that makes it. Choose a product which is developed by a reputable brand. Never go for cheaper, lesser known brands because you want the good stuff, and we’ve all heard the news reports lately about shady supplement companies. Stick to the big guns, and you’ll be building big guns of your own.
|Our Score||Value||Quick Summary|
|BCAA & Glutamine||$$$$$||Highest quality power packed BCAA|
|BCAA PRO Reloaded||$$$$$||Highest BCAA ratio per tablet in the industry|
|Amino 1||$$$$||Caffeine and sugar free — Can be used anytime, day or night|
|Cor-Performance Beta BCAA||$$$||Primes body for muscle growth|
|BCAA 6000||$$$||A leucine-filled BCAA supplement with 4 grams of leucine per serving|
|BCAA Caps||$$$$||Effectively reduces post exercise fatigue|
|BCAA Complex 2200||$$$||2,200mg of pure free form BCAA’s|
|BCAA 5000 Powder||$$||First ever instantized formula|
|BCAA 1000 Caps||$$||2:1:1 essential amino acid ratio|
|BCAA 3:1:2||$$$||Rapidly absorbed by the muscle tissues during workouts|