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WHAT ARE BCAAs?

Published : Aug 22, 2019 2 mins read Updated On : Jul 20, 2022

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) is one of the most popular supplements the supplement industry wants to sell us. BCAA is each lifter’s dream supplement because it supposedly:

● helps to gain muscle.
● prevents muscle breakdown when fasting.
● contains significantly fewer calories than protein-rich food or even protein powder.

WHAT ARE BCAAs?

What Are BCAAs?

BCAA is a mixture of three essential amino acids - leucine, isoleucine and valine - that cannot be produced in the human body, however, have very important biological functions.

MYTH 1: BCAA supplements are pointless since you can simply get BCAAs through food sources.

Fact: BCAAs are free-form, and after ingestion result in rapid elevation of plasma amino acid levels, thus they are much quicker to be utilized. On the other hand, a protein from food needs to be digested/hydrolyzed to a degree before plasma amino acid levels rise. Not to mention that nobody is likely to crack open some Tupperware and start downing chicken breast in between sets or while they’re on the treadmill (i.e. BCAAs offer practicality).

MYTH 2: Drinking BCAAs during a fasting period will increase muscle protein synthesis.

Fact: Many people say that BCAAs during a fasting period will essentially give you the ability to build muscle tissue since BCAAs are a necessity for triggering protein synthesis while reaping the physiological benefits of fasting, but the reality is that without the other “absent” essential amino acids you will not be doing much muscle building, not to mention this defeats much of the purpose of fasting to begin with. This is not to say that BCAAs are not useful during a fasting period (since they may provide benefits through other metabolic pathways), but just that they are not going to magically going to help you build muscle during a fast.

MYTH 3: BCAAs are calorie-free.

Fact: Amino acids actually provide about as much energy per gram as other peptide molecules/proteins (i.e. 4 calories per gram). So if your BCAA product contains a 5000mg “BCAA” blend that is about 20 calories per serving.

MYTH 4: BCAAs have side effects.

FACTS: BCAAs do not have side effects. In fact, it is very essential for muscle protein synthesis, stamina, strength, recovery, etc. The only people who are suffering from ALS should not take BCAA’s. Plus, there’s a rare congenital disorder known as maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) where subjects should limit their intake of BCAA’s because the body cannot process BCAA;s effectively. Also, people with severe kidney problems should limit BCAA intake.

WHAT ARE BCAAs?

The “big question”: Do you need a BCAA supplement?

Bear in mind that you should not be using BCAAs as a replacement for lack of protein intake from complete sources like animal and dairy proteins. One should take BCAAs during the physical activity for its performance enhancing effects.

One such product is Fast&Up BCAA which offers more than just basic BCAA as it provides with a complete formula featuring performance enhancing ingredients like L-Glutamine for Muscle Recovery, L-Arginine for Reducing Muscle Fatigue, L-Citrulline for Nitric Oxide (NO) boost and Taurine for Energy, along with an essential mix of electrolytes and vitamins for a performance driven phase of intra-workout. All you have to add 1 scoop of BCAA in 500ml and sip it throughout the workout good energy and recovery.

author
Sayali Naik
Fast&Up Nutrition Consultant

Sayali works with a tons of people and players across the globe and across the sports disciplines, from grassroot to professional Cricketers, Football players, Badminton. Sayali is extremely passio... Read More

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