Do BCAAs really matter? Branched-chain amino acids might not seem very essential, especially when whey protein can give you everything you need. Still, there are benefits abound that you shouldn’t overlook. Supplementing with amino acids can transform your efforts. BCAAs are rapidly absorbed and utilized by the body, giving them an edge against other supplementation when it comes to performance.
Here are 9 reasons why amino acids will improve your workouts and results:
1. Increased Muscle Protein Synthesis
Aside from getting a better workout with BCAAs, you can also achieve greater muscle hypertrophy. The BCAA leucine has been proven to activate a pathway in the body that stimulates protein synthesis. A study found that those who drink 5.6 grams of BCAAs after a resistance training session experienced 22% greater muscular growth than those who used the placebo drink (1).
2. Less DOMS
No one looks forward to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is another reason you should give BCAAs a try. DOMS usually occurs within 12-24 hours after a workout and can last up to 72 hours, meaning it could hamper your gym time. Taking some BCAAs, however, has been shown to decrease the severity of DOMS by decreasing the damage done to muscles.
How does that work? Studies have shown that BCAAs inhibit protein breakdown while exercising and decrease the amount of creatine kinase created. Research has also show that those who supplement with BCAAs before doing squats had reduced DOMS and muscle fatigue than those who didn’t use BCAAs (2).
More research from the United Kingdom’s University of Birmingham was published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The study found that BCAA supplementation resulted in a decrease in flexed muscle soreness for 48 hours post-workout. That is significant.
3. Heightened Testosterone Levels
Aging men can benefit from BCAAs in a way you probably wouldn’t think about. As men age, the natural levels of testosterone in the body decreases. If you want to maintain hormonal balance while working out in the later years, take BCAAs. Research from the College of Charleston, South Carolina found that supplementing with amino acids can raise the level of testosterone significantly during and after a resistance training session.
4. Bolstered Immune System
Have you ever gotten a cold after pushing yourself week after week? High volume, vigorous activity can eventually lead to heightened fatigue, burnout, and a suppressed immune system, especially if you don’t give yourself time to recover. People who have weaker immune systems are even more susceptible to getting ill after intense training. Fortunately, BCAAs can improve your immune system. A study from 2016 found that long-term supplementation with 12 g of branched chain amino acids can improve immune response after endurance training. It was found that the BCAAs were utilized by immune cells in the gut for fuel, giving the immune system faster regeneration rates and enhanced protection against free radicals and pathogens.
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5. Burn More Fat
Based on research that was conducted on Mount Everest climbers, it was concluded that athletes who go through periods of low caloric intake lose more fat and less muscle while supplementing with BCAAs than those who do not. The climbers who were at risk of muscle atrophy while having caloric deficits and climbing the high altitudes of Mount Everest didn’t experience that phenomenon on BCAAs. The researchers don’t know if the same effect will hold true for those not climbing a mountain, but with results like that, why not experiment?
6. Accelerated Healing
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota discovered something awesome while researching the effectiveness of BCAAs for preserving muscle mass. When used during periods of weight loss, BCAAs not only prevented a loss muscle, it help with healing wounds. Though the wounds were those found in muscles after workout sessions, if we attribute this accelerated healing to other benefits, like a boosted immune system and faster muscle repair, then it comes as little surprise.
7. Age With More Grace
BCAAs are unique because of how rapidly they are absorbed into the body, bypassing the usual liver processing and assimilated straight into muscle. One of the reasons the body ages is due to muscle wasting and decreased metabolism. But what if you could supplement for longevity? Published in Cell Metabolism was a study that talked about how rodents were given BCAAs. The mice that had the amino acids lived 12% longer than those who didn’t. The researchers believed it was due to muscle maintenance.
8. Boost Exercise Performance
When taken regularly, it was found that BCAAs can improve the aerobic and anaerobic performance of athletes. One Japanese study done in 2009 found that cyclists who supplemented about 6 grams of BCAAs for a week before a graded test were able to get a 4% VO2max and a 13% higher VO2 at lactate threshold than those who used a placebo. Other research has obtained similar findings. What does this mean for you? Whether you are running on the treadmill or lifting heavy, a higher VO2max means you can endure more intense loads for longer periods of time. That is the difference between one or two more reps—and the more reps you can push out with good form means accelerated gains in the end.
9. Perform Better In Heat
Can’t handle the heat? There’s a supplement for that. BCAAs ward off fatigue of the central nervous system, which can be accelerated in heat and humidity. A published study in the journal Amino Acids found that athletes who supplement with amino acids experienced less mental and physical strain in warm or hot climates than those who didn’t use BCAAs. Though the research isn’t conclusive, it’s worth a try!
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Not all BCAA supplements are worth your time. Gaspari Nutrition’s HYPERAMINO, though, covers every base effectively by doing more than aiding your body to perform and recover faster than ever before. HYPERAMINO is a powder form of BCAAs that comes in an array of tasty flavors and delivers quality BCAAs straight to your muscles for rapidly released energy. Accelerate muscle growth, increase your endurance, and bounce back faster than ever before from grueling workouts and training.
Amino acids are ideal for athletes who are engaging in intense or prolonged bouts of exercise who need to recharge, those who have restrictive diets and might not be getting enough amino acids from whole foods, or anyone who is at risk of muscle catabolism. The research mentioned in this article shows that there are plenty of reasons to take BCAAs before or after a workout to help you maximize your workout results and get healthier, faster.
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