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Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)

In the bodybuilding world, there is an old analogy; if your muscle mass was a brick wall, every third brick would be a branch chain amino acid. Since they make up one-third of total muscle mass, is it any wonder that the BCAAs have come to be such widely used supplements for health and fitness?

There are three amino acids that make up the branch chain amino acids; leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three amino acids are unique from others in that they do not have to pass through the liver in order to be metabolized. The BCAAs go straight to your muscles, where they promote very powerful anti-catabolic results, as well as improving muscle energy. A nutrition plan that is high in BCAAs can stimulate insulin production, improving muscle uptake of amino acids for better muscle growth.

As stated, the branch chain amino acids are very anti-catabolic. When glycogen levels are depleted, as will happen very rapidly on a low-calorie nutrition plan, the BCAAs can make up a significant portion of the muscles’ energy needs, preventing muscle wasting.

In addition, the branch chain amino acids even promote fat loss. Research has shown that subjects on diets high in BCAAs had a lower overall body fat percentage and were able to lose body fat faster, especially around the abdominal area.

One of the most under-rated benefits of BCAA supplements is their ability to provide a mental pick-me-up without resorting to the use of stimulants. This is due to them preventing the amino acid tryptophan from entering the brain. Tryptophan produces serotonin, which causes feelings of satiety and drowsiness. Using BCAAs is a great way to get a mental boost without fear of crashing, as is often associated with stimulants like caffeine.

With their wide range of benefits, is it any wonder than the branch chain amino acids are such a popular supplement? For muscle growth, fat loss or even a mental boost, the BCAAs are a remarkable supplement to help improve your health.