Amino Acids & BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids)

Don’t Underestimate the Advantages of Amino Acid Supplementation.

Amino Acids, often referred to as the ‘building blocks of protein’, are not only important for general health, but also necessary for building muscle and losing body fat.

As it is digested, protein is broken down into its component parts, amino acids. There are 22 dietary amino acids in total, of which 8 are considered essential – that is, they cannot be synthesised by the body and must come from food. It is not protein that bodybuilders need to build muscle, it is the amino acids in protein.

Amino Acids - Purple WRAATH

Purple WRAATH is great for intra-workout amino acid supplementation

Branch Chain Amino Acids

Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine are known as Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) as a result of the way they are molecularly structured. BCAAs are important to bodybuilders, as unlike other amino acids, they are metabolised in the muscle, rather than in the liver.

Staying Anabolic

When the body has insufficient carbohydrate resources to tap into for energy, especially during exercise, it will look to source energy from the breakdown of muscle fibre. This process is counter-productive to bodybuilders, and BCAAs prevent the body from doing this. Taking BCAAs before training (pre-workout), or during (intra-workout) is a great way of ensuring that the body does not use your hard earned muscle fibre to fuel your workout. Instead it can concentrate on building more.

Get the Most From Your Workout

BCAAs are known to improve both performance, and the efficiency of the body during a workout. Taking BCAAs pre/intra-workout reduces Cortisol levels (a stress hormone produced during training), and increases Testosterone. It has also been found that levels of the enzyme Creatine Kinase (and enzyme produced during muscle breakdown) are reduced during BCAA supplementation. Studies have shown that supplementation with amino acids/BCAAs before exercise also kick starts the anabolic process, as the increased blood flow caused by training drives the amino acids into the muscle.

Increased Recovery

BCAAs reduce the amount of damage done to muscles during training, which in turn reduces Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the soreness and tightness felt, often the day after training. This is most likely as a result of the increased protein synthesis stimulated by Leucine, and BCAAs restricting muscle breakdown.

Optimised Hormone Levels

The main anabolic hormones, HGH (Human Growth Hormone), Insulin and Testosterone, work against the stress hormone, Cortisol. BCAAs promote levels of all three anabolic hormones. Leucine and Insulin go hand in hand, and so Leucine becomes especially important when on a cutting phase, as carbohydrates will be restricted and the risk of muscle breakdown is increased. The anti-catabolic properties of BCAAs, taken before training, will ensure that breakdown of muscle fibre is avoided.

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