Benefits of Branch Chain Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of the proteins that are crucial in almost all biological processes. The cells, tissue and muscle is made up of amino acids and they participate in the function of glands, organs arteries and tendons. They are essential for repairing tissue and healing wounds. If your body doesn’t get the right amount of amino acids, your metabolism may be weakened which may cause other damage to your health. Before understanding the benefits of branch chain amino acids one must first learn what branch chain acids are at their core.
What Are Branch Chain Amino Acids
There are nine essential amino acids that are required for life and three of them are branched-chain amino acids or branch chain amino acids (BCAA). They are the nutrients that your body finds in the protein you eat including meat, legumes and dairy products. The term branched-chain or branch chain comes from the appearance of the chemical structure of the amino acids. Their names are leucine, isoleucine and valine. When you do strenuous exercise, you break down muscle tissue and require protein to repair your muscles. Studies show that branch chain amino acids combined with a low dose of carbohydrate speeds recovery of muscle damage and fatigue after a workout. They not only increase the rate of protein synthesis; they also improve the capacity of cells for protein synthesis. Protein for muscle recovery is also a key component of proper post exercise recuperation.
What Are the Uses of Branch Chain Amino Acids
Branch chain amino acids are used in several medical treatments for brain and liver ailments, anorexia, movement disorders and mania as well as to prevent fatigue and improve concentration. They are also used by athletes to improve exercise performance by helping prevent muscle breakdown. Some of the research findings that show the benefits of branch chain amino acids are:
* Increased availability of carbohydrates to prevent fatigue and help the muscles from exercised-induced protein breakdown.
* Importance of branch chain amino acids in the diet for optimal muscle size, performance and strength.
A study by the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology on marathon runners showed several results on the subjects who were given a mixture of the three branch chain amino acids during a marathon. The mental performance was measured by a test after the marathon. The results showed that the runners who took the branch chain amino acids during the marathon had improved mental and physical performance than they did before the race. For slower runners, the running performance was also improved when the branch chain amino acids were taken during the race.
Muscle Damage Reduction
The Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition conducted a study on the effects of branch chain amino acids supplementation on damaged muscles through a group of trained volunteers. The theory was that branch chain amino acids improve protein synthesis, which is why it reduces secondary muscle damage that happens with strenuous resistance exercise. The exercises were 100 consecutive drop-jumps. The markers measured were:
- Creatine kinase
- Maximal voluntary contraction
- Muscle soreness
- Vertical jump
- Thigh circumference
- Calf circumference
The results showed that:
* The creatine kinase flowing out of the muscles was reduced in the branch chain amino acids group, which may mean that the inflammation and skeletal muscle breakdown was also reduced
* Muscle soreness was reduced in the branch chain amino acids group compared to the placebo group
* The amount of tension a muscle can generate and hold was greater in the branch chain amino acids group
* There was no difference between the two groups for thigh and calf circumference or vertical jump
The results of this study show that branch chain amino acids that are administered before and after strenuous and damaging resistance exercise reduce the usual indicators of muscle damage and speed their recovery in males who are resistance-trained. For everyone else, it seems likely that protein synthesis is improved with branch chain amino acids, which may reduce the extent of secondary muscle damage that is associated with strenuous resistance exercise. It reduced the decreased muscle function and soreness.
Branch Chain Amino Acids for Weight Loss
Dieting can lead to muscle breakdown. The thinner you get the more likely your body will lose muscle mass. It will try harder and harder to hold on to fat stores. The bad news is your body will turn to its muscle to satisfy its energy needs. Muscle loss occurs because your body increases the breakdown of protein to free amino acids for energy. Along with this, protein synthesis will also decrease. The good news is, branch chain amino acids stimulate protein synthesis and reduce the rate of protein breakdown. This will lead to muscle maintenance or gain allowing you to lose weight without losing muscle mass, energy or damaging your health.
For athletes and people who do serious workouts, the benefits of branch chain amino acids are dramatic. When they are taken in supplemental form, they require no digestion and are absorbed quickly in to the bloodstream. They increase blood amino acid levels faster than peptide-bound amino acids such as whey. Hydrolyzed Collagen, one of the key ingreidents in the protein matrix of ProCharge has the fastest absorption rate compared to whey protein concentrate & isolate, Casein, or a plant-based protein like soy or pea. The Protein Comparison Chart backed by 49 separate sources breaks down the results.
According to fitness experts, benefits of branch chain amino acids include muscle function in several ways. They are often taken as a recovery aid, but they help slow the rate of muscle fatigue if they are taken before starting a workout. Since they also help prevent muscle damage and soreness, they are considered a worthy supplement even if they are combined with other nutrients.