Home Nutrition What is BCAA, What Does It Do, When to Take and What It’s Used for?

What is BCAA, What Does It Do, When to Take and What It’s Used for?

Posted by admin in Nutrition Category. Reviewed and Updated: 9 March, 2018

A lot of companies on the market produce dietary supplements with BCAA. This is not surprising, since these aminos are the key substances for creating bulk muscles. L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine take a significant part in the growth process of muscle tissue, with leucine being the most significant amino.

BCAA is one of the most useful and effective supplements of sports nutrition. These substances have been repeatedly investigated by scientists who have confirmed effectiveness of the aminos. What is BCAA? What are their effects? When to take BCAA? Read on to know more.

What Is BCAA?

Those who train with high intensity, usually set themselves several goals: increasing strength, increasing muscle mass and improvement of stamina / endurance. You can accelerate these processes only by adequate muscle recovery. Effective recovery requires proper nutrition and high amounts of BCAA aminos, which can be called “building blocks” for muscle tissues.

All proteins in human and non-human organisms are composed of amino acids (or simply aminos). In total, there are 22 aminos, thirteen of them are non-essential, that is, they may be synthesized by organisms. The remaining nine amino acids cannot be “manufactured” by the body, so they must necessarily be present in the everyday nutrition. These amino acids are called essential. They belong to BCAA, namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

What are BCAAs? BCAAs stand for branched-chain amino acids. They are made from protein and are best used for muscle mass gaining and preserving gained mass. 

BCAA has almost no side effects, because they are completely natural. They are much safer than illegal steroids and even legal steroids.

What Does BCAA Do in the Body?

Scientists have found out that BCAA make up about a third of essential aminos (about 14-18% of all aminos) in muscles. As you can see, their role for muscle growth is hard to overestimate. Since they are not produced in the organism, it is advisable to periodically replenish their reserves in order to activate the synthesis of protein in the musculature.

So, what does BCAA do? As we mentioned above, BCAA are the key building materials, “bricks” for muscle formation. These amino acids are an essential part of the muscle tissue. BCAA helps to keep muscles even in conditions of a strict diet, contribute to the increase of strength indicators and help to activate the fat burning processes. Also, essential aminos provide muscle tissue with extra energy during the training sessions.

BСAAs are found in protein foods, but it is not always possible to eat a portion of meat or cottage cheese in a timely manner. In addition, when practicing sports, the organism’s need for essential aminos increases substantially. Therefore, the complexes with BCAA have gained great popularity in the sports market. They usually contain an increased dosage of leucine (the classical formula is 2: 1: 1), since this amino acid is the most important for bulking. However, you can also find supplements with increased amounts of leucine, for example 3:1:1, 4:1:1, 8:1:1, and even 12:1:1!

When to Take BCAA?

Using the supplement before training, you will increase energy rates and minimize the negative impact of physical exertion on the balance of the necessary substances in the muscle tissue. You can combine the BCAA with pre-workout complexes (for example, you can add a non-flavored powder to a pre-workout drink). The intake of amino acids after the training will improve the recovery and growth of the musculature. In addition, the amino acids from BCAA group can also be used during the training. Thus, there are three main periods for the administration of the BCAA:

  • Pre-workout time;
  • Intra-workout time;
  • Post-workout time.

Some manufacturers also recommend using BCAA before cardio on an empty stomach. You can also use small portions of BCAA throughout the day.

What Is BCAA Used For?

Many people are wondering: “What is BCAA used for?” They have a lot of functions:

  • BCAAs activate muscle bulking. The main function of the BCAA is signaling. These aminos affect the mTOR signaling mechanism, which stimulates muscle hypertrophy.
  • BCAAs accelerate muscle mass gaining. BCAA make up about a third of the total number of essential amino acids in the muscles. They are used as “building blocks”. Using BCAA, you will provide your muscles with the necessary material for recovery and growth.
  • BCAAs increase the energy level. Studies have shown that L-leucine can be used as an energy substrate for ATP production. As a result, performance is increased during training sessions.
  • During and after training, athletes decrease the concentration of the BCAA (especially L-leucine). As a result, the destruction of muscle proteins begins. The reception of the product helps to restore amino acid reserves and prevents catabolic processes (muscle destruction) in bodybuilding.

In addition, BCAA are good for preserving muscles while doing cardio. Scientists say that cardio on an empty stomach increases the oxidation of fats in the morning for up to 24 hours. In a Kenshiro Shimada’s study, it is stated that “hungry” cardio workouts oxidize more fat, but at the same time retain more glycogen. Other studies show that fasted cardio has a catabolic effect. That is, muscle proteins are also burned along with fat. How to avoid catabolism? It’s simple, before training you need to use BCAA. They regulate protein synthesis, minimizing muscle damage and accelerating fat burning.

BCAA – Alternative Point of View

Some people are against using the use of BCAA. They believe that the administration of aminos is not natural for a healthy organism. According to the nature’s principles, the consumption of protein (protein-rich food product) in healthy for the stomach and for your body in general. The stomach performs protein’s preparation and subsequent digestion with enzymes to peptides & aminos.

There is a small number of situations in medicine when the function of the gastrointestinal tract is damaged so much that splitting of the protein is an impossible task. This happens, for example, when enzymes, which are also special types of proteins, aren’t produced in sufficient quantities because of a surgical operation or as a result of massive injury, or in premature infants, who have non-mature digestive system.

Indeed, the entry into the blood stream and the delivery of aminos to places of the synthesis of the body’s own proteins (from which the muscles are built) is faster when aminos are taken. But, if your digestive tract is able to get and break down protein substances. Therefore, it is the delivery of protein, not aminos, that is harmonious for the body (this applies to all types of aminos, including BCAA).

Indeed, some aminos are more important for muscle bulking than others. This, however, doesn’t mean that “less important” aminos are not needed and they should be better excluded from the diet as unnecessary ballast. They are also important and even vital for the body’s functioning.

There are so-called essential aminos, as we mentioned above (the name implies only the impossibility of their synthesis inside the human organism). There are also semi-essential and non-essential aminos, the synthesis of which is possible in the body. But, in any case, they should enter the body as a part of a balanced food, as believed by some specialists.

Thus, according to these specialists, from the point of view of the expediency of maintaining the balance of processes and the harmony of development (it is better to submit to nature, since it cannot be deceived anyway), it is important to have all the amino acids in the daily diet to support the natural metabolic processes. These aminos include BCAA, glutamine, proline, glycine, tyrosine, and many others.

We believe that undoubtedly, proper nutrition is the cornerstone of the health of the organism. You should not eat only BCAA instead of protein. You should use them in addition to the protein-rich foods and protein supps.

TOP BCAA Manufacturers

There are many sports nutrition companies producing BCAAs. The most famous of them include:

  • Maxler. Maxler company started its activity in 2004 and by 2011 it had confidently reached the leading position among European manufacturers of sports nutrition. Now under the brand name “Maxler” there are several large factories in Germany and the USA, and the company’s products are consumed with pleasure by millions of athletes around the world. The company offers the widest choice of protein powders, vitamin complexes, gainers, creatines, amino acids, pre-workout supps, isotonic drinks and other products that can satisfy all the needs of even the most demanding customers.
  • OstroVit. This is a Polish company that produces a premium sports nutrition. This is one of the fastest growing corporations in the industry. It was founded relatively recently, in 2011, but has managed to gain popularity in many countries. OstroVit products meet the standards of Good Manufacturing Practice and the requirements of the European Union. The company offers various sports nutrition products, such as whey protein, gainers, amino acid complexes (including BCAAs), fat burners, and much more. In addition, it produces dietary foods, such as zero-calorie sauces and even high-protein ice cream.
  • Ultimate Nutrition. The company called Ultimate Nutrition was founded in the late 1970s by professional athlete Victor Rubino. Since the beginning of its activity, the company began to experiment with manufacturing technologies and types of sports supplements. As result, amino acids in tablets appeared, thanks to which the trademark “Ultimate Nutrition” became well-known and occupied its niche in the market. Today the company produces and sells modern supplements designed for amateur athletes and professionals.
  • VPLAB. VPLAB’s sports nutrition is produced and developed in the UK, Netherlands, and Germany (the headquarters of the company are in the UK). Thanks to the strict European laws that control the production of dietary supplements, all VPLAB’s products are of high quality. Due to the fact that the manufacturer strictly observes the proportions of active ingredients, its products have high efficiency.
  • Weider. The brand was founded by the legendary bodybuilder from Canada Joe Weider and named in his honor. This man devoted part of his life to developing new approaches to effective sports nutrition. It was Joe Weider who came up with the “Mr. Olympia” competition, which was first held in New York in 1965. Today, the company of the same name is developing sports supplements, which are among the best in the world. On our website, you can read articles about other famous bodybuilders, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, and Frank Zane.
  • Crazy Bulk. This company produces natural supplements, which can be used as the best steroid alternatives. These natural steroids work powerfully, they contain BCAAs and many other substances, like Tribulus Terrestris, Red Ginseng, etc. Crazy Bulk products may be used in stacks including multiple supplements. These stacks are developed for different purposes, such as fat loss and muscle gains. Athletes say that Crazy Bulk is the best company producing steroid alternatives.