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Expert Guides

Your Brief Guide to BCCAs

Publish date: 19/07/2013

Amino acids are a vital ingredient for muscle mass building and strength building. Branched chain amino acid (BCCA) supplements are one of the best known and popular supplements with serious muscle builders all over the world. In this article we will look into how BCCAs influence and help the body building process.

What are BCAAs

The amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine are collectively referred to as the BCCAs. They are essential amino acids since the body cannot synthesise these on its own and hence the importance of supplements. They are extremely vital for muscle growth.

How do BCCAs Help

  • Acting as Source of Energy for Muscle Tissue:

    BCCAs are unique amongst amino acids in ways that unlike other amino acids which are metabolised by the liver, they are mostly metabolised by muscle tissue. This leads to generation of energy in the form of ATP, which is the primary energy source for muscle contraction, which in turn helps you lift weights. The metabolism of BCCAs in muscle tissue acts as the source of quick supply of energy to help you finish your strenuous workout routine.

  • Enhancing Performance

    In addition to acting as sources of energy, BCCAs also help in fat  oxidation in glycogen depleted tissues helping you to train or longer hours. They also help in preserving your glycogen reserves and thus increase glycogen availability which aids in longer exercise time and also faster recovery time.

  • Positively influencing anabolic Hormones release

    Anabolic hormones of our body promote protein synthesis leading to muscle growth. BCCAs induce release of anabolic hormones like testosterone and also reigns in the effect of catabolic hormones like glucagon that break down muscle tissue.

  • Aiding in Fat Loss

    BCCAs also help in fat loss. Amongst the BCCAs, Leucine particularly has the ability to enhance insulin sensitivity resulting in better muscle growth and fat loss. Additionally BCCAs have the ability to spare glycogen which is also helps in speeding up fat loss.

  • Acting as Signalling Molecules

    New research has shown that BCCAs, particularly leucine, act as a signalling molecule to send signals to the body towards building muscle. When taken orally leucine activates mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) which in turn activates protein synthesis and enhances the capacity of the body to produce new protein leading to synthesis and growth of muscle tissues. However one must remember that taking leucine alone will not help since a typical 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine when taken together has been shown to best influence muscle growth.

What Proportions of BCCAs Should you Take and When

Experts recommend that BCCA supplements should ideally be had once before, during and after your workout sessions. Depending on your body weight your doses should vary. For people who are less than 150 lbs, 3 grams each before, during and after the training is recommended, while for those who weigh more than 150 lbs, the recommended doses are 5 grams each before, during and after training.

If you are serious about muscle building, BCCA supplements are a must. They positively influence muscle growth in a number of ways as detailed above. Make sure that you take enough of your BCCA supplements as prescribed by your trainer, stick to your exercise routine and see the results that you always dreamt of.

Author: Shelly