BCAA is a triad of essential amino acids (L-leucine, L-valine and L-isoleucine). Why are they called ” essential”? This is due to the fact is that our body is completely unable to produce them, in contrast to vitamin D, for example. Therefore, we must ensure that we take sufficient BCAA amounts with food (protein products) or appropriate sports nutrition. Many athletes buy supplements with BCAA, as these products contain amino acids in free form, which are instantly absorbed and enter the bloodstream. In the market, you can even find vegan BCAAs, which are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
BCAA Powder – What Is It?
The powder form of the supplement (BCAA powder) is used to make a drink. Accordingly, it, like the liquid form, is absorbed quickly enough. There are two varieties of powdered BCAAs:
- Flavored BCAAs with flavoring agents.
- Unflavored BCAAs without flavoring agents.
There is one caveat. Adherents of a healthy lifestyle and naturalness will immediately rush to buy amino acids without any auxiliary components. However, in many occasions, these amino acids may not please them. Unflavored BCAA powders, the so-called “completely natural” BCAA, are very bitter. Their taste and odor are very specific. However, according to reviews, some athletes use the unflavored form. And there is one more important point about how to take BCAA in powder.
It is believed that when preparing a drink from powdered BCAA, a film should form on the surface of the liquid. But it is not so. Modern powder supps dissolve very well in liquids. Therefore, incomplete dissolution of BCAA indicates a not too high quality of the raw material. This may also indicate that your powder also contains creatine in addition to BCAA. So carefully read the label on the package with the product. By the way, if you purchased a pure powder without flavoring agents, you can also dilute it with juice.
The Introduction to BCAA Powder Benefits
Many scientific studies indicate that the use of BCAA before training help sportsmen improve protein synthesis, reduce muscle catabolism, reduce damage to muscle fibers, and also soften the soreness after workouts. Sounds impressive, does not it?
It should be noted that all the above does not necessarily lead to an increase in strength or muscle mass. If your goal is just this, and you already satisfy your need for protein with conventional food and protein, you probably will not need additional BCAA.
But do not rush to throw your shaker into the trash, these substances may not cause muscle hypertrophy on their own, but taking 6 to 10 grams of these aminos before training will help you cope better with weights in the gym (which activates muscle growth) and more quickly restore strength between sets.
In addition, BCAA is processed during the training and used as a direct energy source. Lowering aminos’ number in the blood leads to an increase in the concentration of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which, according to scientists, partly contributes to the manifestation of fatigue during exercise. This statement is especially true for endurance sports activities.
If you add 1-2 scoops of BCAA to your training drink, this can be useful for you if you are on a low-carb diet or exercise on an empty stomach. Amino acids help to reduce fatigue and increase the use of fat deposits during exercise in the state of glycogen deficiency. In general, BCAAs don’t have side effects, but in rare cases some negative reactions may occur.
Natural BCAA Powder – the List of Benefits
BCAA has the following beneficial effects:
- BCAA helps build muscle tissue. BCAA amino acids are one of the basic building components for muscles.
- Natural BCAA powder minimizes catabolism. During heavy exercises, muscle tissue begins to break down, and the protein synthesis by the body worsens. BCAA helps to prevent these processes.
- BCAA strengthens muscle growth. Amino acid leucine, contained in the product, activates the mTOR signaling pathway, so that the body begins to build muscle more intensively. That is why all BCAA supplements contain an increased amount of leucine.
- BCAA improves stamina. When the body is in an acute energy shortage (glycogen stores are depleted), the BCAA can be used as an energy source. As a result, you get the opportunity to exercise longer and more intensively. These are great BCAA powder benefits.
- BCAA increases the effectiveness of workouts. Amino acids accelerate recovery, the day after your workout day you will feel less tired.
BCAAs aren’t cheap, however, they provide a lot of benefits.
What Is the Best Time to Take BCAA Powder?
When to take powdered sports supps with BCAA? There are several options for BCAA administration:
- in the morning – to prevent catabolism, for example, if you exercise on an empty stomach;
- before your training – to replenish amino acid reserves and perform training as efficiently as possible;
- during your workout – to increase productivity and prevent catabolic processes;
- after your training – to accelerate the recovery and provide the muscles with building material.
Therefore, the best time to take BCAA powder is before, during and after exercise. But you can additionally take BCAA throughout the day, which will allow you to maximize the synthesis of muscle protein. The optimal dosage is about 3 g of amino acids at a time if your weight is up to 70 kg and about 5 g if your weight is 70 kg or more. That is, if you take the supplement 3 times a day, total BCAA amount should be equal to 9 or 15 g respectively.
Best BCAA Powder – Some Examples
In the sports nutrition market, there are many BCAA in powder form. In this article, we will not be able to describe them all. However, we will provide you with descriptions of two top natural (organic) BCAAs, which are very popular among athletes.
USPlabs Modern BCAA+
USPlabs specialists included an increased dosage of leucine in the supplement, since this amino acid has the most powerful anabolic properties. Therefore, leucine-isoleucine-valine ratio in the product is 8:1:1. It is one of the best BCAA powder on the market.
One serving of Modern BCAA+ contains a huge amount of amino acids with branched chains – 15 grams per serving. Moreover, the supplement is enriched with additional ingredients, namely glycine, alanine, taurine, and lysine. Accordingly, it has more beneficial effects than conventional supplements with BCAA.
Modern BCAA+ has a lot of benefits due to its rich component composition:
- Leucine, valine, isoleucine. They activate the processes of muscle growth, are used as a building material, and promote fat burning.
- Glycine. The use of this amino acid before, during or after exercise is very important if you are training on an empty stomach. Muscles release a lot of glycine under such conditions, which can cause a catabolic state.
- L-alanine. It improves immunity, helps to supply muscle tissues with energy, and increases performance.
- Taurine. It is a very common amino acid in the body. According to studies, a decrease in the amount of taurine in muscles can lead to a deterioration in their performance.
- Lysine. It is an essential amino acid, which accelerates recovery and promotes muscle growth after training.
How to take this supplement? Its manufacturer recommends to mix one serving (two scoops) in 20 fl oz of water & shake for 30 seconds. The supp should be taken during workout.
Scitec Nutrition BCAA Xpress
BCAA Xpress contains a classical ratio of leucine, isoleucine and valine – 2:1:1. The increased amount of leucine is due to the fact that this amino acid is the most important for activating muscle growth (as mentioned above). Since the product is available in the form of a powder, it is absorbed more quickly than tablets or capsules. In addition, you can sip the amino acid cocktail right during the workout.
Getting into muscles, BCAA are used as a building material for new tissues. Scientists say that these substances account for about 35 percent of all essential amino acids in the musculature. Therefore, their importance for muscle mass gaining and recovery cannot be overestimated.
So, if you decide to buy Scitec Nutrition BCAA Xpress, you will get the following beneficial effects:
- activation of muscle growth;
- more effective recovery after training;
- strength increase, etc.
How to take BCAA Xpress? Its manufacturer recommends to add 0.5 scoop (7 grams) to 12 fl oz water or other liquid and shake it. The supplement may be used before, during or after your workout.