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: 8 July, 2019

A lot of companies manufacture dietary supplements with BCAA. This is not surprising since these amino acids are key substances in terms of creating bulky, hard muscles. L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine play a significant role in the growth process of muscle tissue, with leucine being the most significant amino.

BCAA is one of the most useful and effective supplements in sports nutrition. These substances have been repeatedly investigated by scientists who have confirmed the efficacy of the aminos. They are advertised by countless athletes including Aussie bodybuilder Calum Von Moger, Americans Leslie Kai Greene and Rich Gaspari, Canadian Regan Grimes and more

What is BCAA? What are its effects? When to take BCAA? Keep reading to find out.

What Is BCAA?

Those who train with a high intensity usually set themselves several goals: increased strength, bulking, and vitalized stamina and endurance. You can accelerate these processes only with adequate muscle recovery periods. Effective recovery requires proper nutrition and high amounts of BCAA amino acids, in many ways, they’re ‘bricks’ for muscle tissues.

In human and animal organisms, all proteins are composed of amino acids. There are 22 amino categories, thirteen are non-essential, organisms may synthesize them. The remaining nine amino acids cannot be manufactured naturally by the body, so necessarily they must be present in everyday nutrition. These amino acids are called essential. They belong to BCAA supps, namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

What are BCAAs? BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. Made from protein, these supplements are best used for muscle mass gains and preserving gained mass.

They have minute reported side effects because of their natural origin. They are much safer than illegal steroids and even legal steroids.

What Does BCAA Do in the Body?


Scientists have found that BCAA makes up about 33% of the essential aminos (about 14-18% of all amino acids) in muscles. BCAA’s mantle for muscle growth is hard to overestimate. Since we do not produce them, it is advisable to replenish our reserves to activate the synthesis of protein in our musculature.

So, what does BCAA do? As we mentioned above, BCAAs are key building materials for muscle formation. You can picture them as building blocks. These amino acids are an essential part of the muscle tissue. BCAA helps to keep your muscle volume, even during strict dieting conditions, contributes to powerfulness, and help to activate fat burning processes. Essential aminos provide muscle tissue with extra energy during training sessions.

BCAAs are found in protein-rich foods, but it’s not always possible to gnaw on steak, lamb, or cottage cheese in a timely manner. Or munch through 500 grams of spinach, for that matter!

In addition, when engaged in sporting pursuits, the body’s demand for these substances increases markedly. Therefore, BCAA supps have gained adulation 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?

Use the supplement prior to training and you will increase your energy levels and minimize the negative impact of physical exertion. Sapping your muscle tissues of their power isn’t necessary when viable substances in BCAA form can bolster them.

You can combine BCAAs with pre-workout complexes (add a non-flavored powder to a pre-workout drink). The intake of amino acids after training will improve recovery periods and aid in the growth of the musculature. In addition, we can also use the amino acids from the BCAA group during the training. There are three main periods in which to administer BCAA:

  • Pre-workout
  • Intra-workout
  • Post-workout

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

What Is BCAA Used For?

Many gym rats are wondering: “What is BCAA used for?” There is a slew of functions:

  • BCAAs activate muscle bulking. The main function of the BCAA is signaling. These aminos affect the mTOR (the mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling mechanism, which stimulates muscle hypertrophy.
  • BCAAs speeds up muscle mass gains. Using BCAA, you will provide your muscles with the necessary material for recovery and growth.
  • BCAAs increases energy levels. Studies show L-leucine is applicable as an energy substrate for ATP production. As a result, it increases performance during training sessions.
  • During and after training, athletes decrease the concentration of BCAA (especially L-leucine) and the destruction of muscle protein begins. The reception of the product helps to restore amino acid reserves and prevents catabolic processes (muscle destruction) in bodybuilding.

In addition, BCAA is good for preserving muscles during cardio periods. Scientists note that cardio on an empty stomach increases the oxidation of fats in the morning for up to a day. In a Kenshiro Shimada’s study, it is stated that “hungry” cardio workouts oxidize more fat but retain more glycogen.

Other researchers have reported that fasted cardio has a catabolic effect. Muscle proteins are burned along with fat. How to avoid catabolism? It’s simple, before training you need to use BCAA to regulate protein synthesis, minimize muscle damage, and gather momentum for fat burning instrumentations.

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. One notable fitness influencer and personal trainer, Max Lowery, told Business Insider that BCAAs are a marketing ploy and wasteful.

But according to nature’s principles, the consumption of protein is healthy for the stomach and for your body. The stomach performs protein’s breakdown to peptides and aminos.

Rarely, the GI tract is damaged so much that splitting of the protein is an impossible task. This happens when enzymes, which are special types of proteins, aren’t produced in sufficient quantities because of a surgical operation or because of a massive injury, or in premature infants who have juvenile digestive systems.

Indeed, entry into the bloodstream and delivery of aminos to places of the body’s own protein synthesis is faster when aminos are taken; if your digestive tract can get and break down protein substances, that is. Therefore, it is the delivery of protein, not amino acids that is harmonious for the body. This applies to all types of aminos, including BCAA.

Some aminos are more important for muscle bulking than others. However, this doesn’t mean that “less important” aminos unimportant and should be excluded from the diet as unnecessary ballast. They are also vital for the body’s overall functionality.

These are essential aminos we mentioned above (the apt name hints at their primacy inside the human body). There are also semi-essential and non-essential aminos which the body can process. But nutritionists and dieticians believe these should enter the body as a part of a balanced diet.

According to these specialists, it’s important to have all the amino acids as part of a nutritional diet to support natural metabolic processes. This includes BCAA, glutamine, proline, glycine, tyrosine, and many others.

We believe that proper nutrition is the cornerstone of health. You should not substitute BCAA for protein. Rather, utilize this tool in addition to a balanced meal plan which includes proteins. Add some oily fish to get Omega-3 and all the nine essential aminos. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, halibut, and seafood like shrimp and crab are the crème de la crème in terms of their amino offerings.

TOP BCAA Manufacturers

There are multiple companies producing and marketing BCAA and vying for your consumer loyalty. The most famous include:

  • Maxler. Maxler got off the ground in 2004. By 2011 it had confidently reached a leading position among European sports nutrition brands. Now Maxler owns and operates several large factories in both Germany and the United States. The company’s products are adored by millions of athletes around the world. Maxler probably offers the widest choice of protein powders, vitamin complexes, gainers, creatine complexes, amino acids, pre-workout supplements, isotonic drinks and many other products that satisfy the needs of even the most demanding clientele.
  • OstroVit. This Polish company produces premium sports nutrition goods and is one of the fastest growing corporations in the industry. It was founded quite recently, in 2011, but has gained popularity in many countries. OstroVit products meet the GMP standards and the European Union’s own strict requirements. The company offers various supplements such as protein, gainers, aminos (including BCAAs, glutamine), fat burners, and much more. In addition, it produces dietary foods, such as zero-calorie sauces and even delectable high-protein ice cream, we like the vanilla and chocolate flavors.
  • Ultimate Nutrition. This company was founded in the late 1970s by the professional athlete Victor Rubino. Since its inception, the company experimented with manufacturing technologies and different types of sports supplements. As a result, the first tablets of amino acids appeared. The company became well known after this and occupied a lofty position in its niche. Today the company produces and sells modern supplements designed for amateur athletes and professionals alike.
  • VPLAB. VPLAB’s sports nutrition is produced and developed in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and other nations in Europe. (The company is headquartered in London, UK). Thanks to unyielding European laws governing the production of dietary supplements, VPLAB’s products are top drawer. Because the manufacturer strictly observes the proportions of active ingredients, its products have high efficiency.
  • Weider. The brand was started by the legendary Canadian bodybuilder Joe Weider and named in his honor. This man devoted his life to inventing new, premium sports nutrition. It was Weider who masterminded the “Mr. Olympia” competition, which was first held in New York in 1965. Today, the same corporation launches innovative sports supplements, which are among the best on the globe. Keen on bodybuilding? On SteroidsSaleGuide, you can read articles about other famous bodybuilders, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, and Frank Zane.
  • Crazy Bulk. This company produces natural supplements, some of which are amongst the best steroid alternatives. These natural steroids work powerfully and contain BCAA and other substances including Tribulus terrestris (a fruit), Red Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Suma Root, magnesium, manganese, Pfaffia paniculata, and, B12, and vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol). Crazy Bulk products may be used in stacks including multiple supplements. They’ve crafted these for different purposes, such as fat loss or muscle gain. Athletes say that Crazy Bulk is the best company producing steroid alternatives. Their top offerings include D-Bal, Trenorol, HGH-X2, and Testo-Max.