BCAAs – Branched Chain Amino Acids

Protein Advisor > Supplements > BCAAs – Branched Chain Amino Acids

What are BCAAs exactly?

A BCAA is a branched chain amino acid. Amino acids are organic nitrogenous compounds that are linked together in long chains joined by peptide bonds, much like the beads of a necklace. These strong chains combine to form protein. Therefore, amino acids are the building blocks of protien. When protein is consumed it is broken down into its amino acid constituents, which are then specifically put together to perform numerous functions. There are around 20 naturally ocurring amino acids and of these, 8 are considered to be essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body by other materials and must therefore be obtained through food or supplements.

The BCAAs consist of three essential amino acids– L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. The BCAAs work togther to effectively support muscle protein synthesis.


What benefits do BCAAs offer?


The main benefit of BCCAs is the role they play in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. When BCAAs are combined with resistance exercise, the chemical signalling pathways that enable protein synthesis are triggered. The BCAAs therefore enahnce the rate of muscle protein synthesis.


In addition, BCAAs reduce the rate of protein breakdown. In order for protein breakdown to occur, various processes involving different components must take place.  mRNA is a molecule that is used to convey the genetic information needed in order to synthesise these specific components. BCAAs reduce the production of mRNA molecules that code for the components which are necessary for protein breakdown.


Tryptophan is another essential amino acid which acts as a biochemical precursor for the neurotransmitter, serotonin. In other words, tryptophan participates in the chemical reactions that lead to the production of serotonin. BCAAs compete with tryptophan for entry into the central nervous system, resulting in a reduction in serotonin levels. Serotonin contributes to the development of fatigue and lethargy during exercise. Therefore a reduction in serotonin levels could result in a more effective and intense workout.


Are BCAA supplements for me?


When combined with adequate resistance training, BCAAs could help accelearate the rate of muscle protein synthesis whilst at the same time, reducing musclde protein breakdown and also allowing for a more intense workout. Therefore, if your fitness goals are to maximise lean muscle growth, BCAA supplementation could aid in achieveing this. Furthermore, if you are prone to feeling fatigued or lethargic during your workouts, BCAAs could contribute to a more intense workout session. The USN BCCA Syntho Stack has been carefully developed to combine the essential amino acids in a ratio that will effectively maintain, repair and build muscle protein tissue.




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