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Branched-Chain Amino Acids: How to Make BCAAs Your Bodybuilding Secret Weapon

5 mins read
Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on May 17, 2022
Dr. Olena Avdiievska, MD, RDN
Medically reviewed by Dr. Olena Avdiievska, MD, RDN
Unimeal provides articles with trustworthy and experts-proved information. Our health content is reviewed by professional nutritionists and trainers to extract for users the most verified and medically checked data.

There are a dizzying number of articles on aminoacidos BCAA’s benefits. We have collected the major info about this topic and made a "squeeze" for you with a minimum of scientific chatter. So, take a look!

Table of content

With the spread of fashion for a healthy lifestyle, interest in sports nutrition is growing. Therefore, there are a bunch of questions about BCAAs - what it is, who needs it and why, and how to take it.

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What is BCAA?

The abbreviation BCAA stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acids.

BCAA includes three types of organic compounds - leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Their “task” is to build protein in the body, that is, they contribute to the growth of muscle mass.

Broken down BCAAs bypass the liver and go immediately to the muscles. This is the main feature of the essential amino acids trio. If you take each "aminka" separately, you can be surprised by their work. 

  • Isoleucine - normalizes sugar, increases endurance, and restores muscle tissue
  • Valine - adds muscle growth rate, stops protein breakdown, and accelerates muscle recovery and healing.
  • Leucine - controls blood sugar, enhances growth hormone, and restores skin, bones, and muscles. 

As you can see, together, these amino acids help burn fat, restore muscles, and prevent muscle aging!

Benefits

A girl holds a BCAA drink and looks at her biceps
A girl holds a BCAA drink and looks at her biceps

Many studies have proven that the use of BCAAs gives the following effects: 

  • prevents the destruction of muscle structures (catabolism); 
  • lowers body fat; 
  • promotes the growth of lean muscle mass; 
  • stimulates the production of insulin
  • accelerates fat burning; 
  • enhances muscular strength
  • increases the effectiveness of other types of sports nutrition by 30-40%. 

We can assume that taking BCAAs will be useful both in fat burning and in gaining muscle mass.

Best BCAA for women

Are you wondering whether it is ok to use the BCAA for women? Our answer is yes, you’ll have no problem with it. Both men and women can take the supplements and pump up their bodies. 

For females with a body weight of 50-65 kg, the initial-intermediate level of fitness (we use this indicator as a correlation with training volume and intensity), 5-7 grams of BCAA a day is a norm.

For bodybuilders

As long as BCAAs are the best amino acids for muscle growth, bodybuilders has a special interest in taking BCAA supplements.

A girl doing weight training
A girl doing weight training

Sometimes sport athlets take BCAAs as a meal replacement - they dull hunger and preserve muscle. It is convenient to use BCAAs immediately after a workout, especially for those who like to take protein with milk, and milk quickly turns sour in a sports bag.

For weight loss

The 2009 research proved the efficiency of having BCAAs in the diet compared to other supplements. Strength-trained men who took 14 grams of BCAAs per day shed 1% more body fat and gained 4.4 pounds more muscle mass than the men who were eating whey protein.

If you want to get rid of extra pounds, BCAA supplements will be a great help for this. Take a BCAA drink (or mixed BCAA powder/pills) 3 times a day: in the morning, before training, and after it. 

If there are no workouts scheduled on this day, you can take the supplement in a reduced volume (2 times less) and only in the morning.

For the first time, take 5-8 g of the supplement - it will be a kickstarter.

Are BCAAs safe?

This is perhaps the eternal question that worries beginner athletes who have little experience in taking sports nutrition. 

Once again, it is worth emphasizing that BCAAs are amino acids obtained by special processing of proteins of natural origin. Therefore, these nutritional supplements are not at all dangerous but are necessary for athletes.

These substances have an amino build function and cannot harm your body.

Of course, there are contraindications for BCAAs: individual intolerance to the supplement's components. But in general, BCAAs are completely safe.

How to take BCAAs

You need to know how to take supplements to get the maximum profit from aminoacidos BCAA. The scheme depends on daily loads.

Measuring the BCAAs dosage - a men with BCAA pills
Measuring the BCAAs dosage - a men with BCAA pills

Drink the first portion of BCAA before going to the gym. How much depends on the form of release.

Don’t forget to give BCAAs time for absorption

  • For dissolved powder and liquid - 5-10 minutes is enough.
  • For capsules - you’ll need up to half an hour.

The second dose is immediately after the end of the workout. If it lasts more than an hour, you can take a few grams between sets.

If we talk about the daily dose of BCAAs, it will be up to 50 g per day. However, keep in mind that these measurements are not absolute and may vary.

The minimum dose of BCAA you should take is about 1 g of BCAA per 10 kg of body weight, which means that a person weighing 70 kg should take 7 g of branched-chain amino acids.

FAQ

Are BCAAs safe to take every day?

BCAAs are amino acids found in animal proteins. They are harmless to the human body. This means that it is safe to take them every day.

Who needs aminoacidos BCAA?

BCAAs are vital for athletes and people who play sports long and hard. They may also be essential for those who follow a strict diet that does not include natural sources of BCAAs. The destruction of muscle tissue also may be the reason.

How to take BCAA powder?

BCAA powder
BCAA powder

Mix a serving of BCAAs with water as directed on the product label. Powder mixtures sometimes have a bitter taste and do not dissolve well. Another way is to take the required dose from a spoon and drink plenty of water.

Remember that the supplement is also available in capsules/pills, BCAA powder, and liquid/drinks. Capsules are the most effective form for absorption. But choose the best option for you!

Summing up

  • BCAAs are the best amino acids for muscle growth. It’s a complex of three amino acids necessary for the body, which come with food.
  • The supplement increases productivity during the day and endurance during training.
  • BCAAs prevent muscle breakdown and promote muscle growth.
  • The amino acid complex can be diluted in water, swallowed and washed down, or mixed with an isotonic drink. 

So, choose the form and dosage that suits you and pump your body! And don't be scared of the word “supplement." BCAAs are entirely safe.

How do you feel about my article?

Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.

Sources:

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