Branched chain amino acids or BCAAs are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 amino acids in total out of which our body produces eleven. The other nine we get from natural food sources or in the form of supplements. Your body needs these amino acids to build new muscles and repair old ones for muscle recovery and muscle growth.
Why Are BCAAs Essential?
BCAAs comprise around 35% of your body’s muscle protein. Unlike other amino acids our body cannot produce them. Therefore, it’s essential that we get them from the food sources that we consume. They also help preserve glycogen which fuels muscles during workouts and they also speed up your muscle recovery post workout.
Benefits of BCAAs
BCAAs can help prolong your workouts so you get more out of it by fighting fatigue during your workouts. When your muscles get tired after continuous exercise, you’re bound to feel some fatigue. BCAAs can reduce this to a huge extent by blocking a chemical called Tryptophan that enters the brain and causes fatigue.
Prevents Muscle Breakdown
High Intensity exercising can cause muscle breakdown if not fuelled by the right nutrition. BCAAs preserve muscle mass during high intensity activities and exercises. They ensure that the muscles don’t break down by prompting recovery thereby maintaining or even growing muscle depending on the kind of activity you perform.
Training intensely on a regular basis could lead to your immunity being suppressed. Having good nutrition with sufficient BCAAs is important as cells in the immune system uses them to regenerate thereby ensuring quick recovery and protecting the body from any harmful infections.
Reduces Muscle Soreness
BCAAs can reduce muscle soreness by helping with faster recovery post an intense training session.
Could Help Burn Fat
Following a high protein diet can help burn fat as the breakdown of protein into BCAAs is an exothermic reaction which means it takes more energy to breakdown protein which eventually means it burns more calories which in the long term can help with fat loss.
Natural Sources Of BCAAs
Getting BCAAs from natural sources is the best way to go about it. There’s a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian sources of BCAAs.
Some great vegetarian sources are dairy products, lentils, soy products etc whereas some non-vegetarian sources would be chicken, fish, eggs etc. It’s always better to get your BCAAs from natural sources rather than going for supplements.
If you’re meeting your daily protein requirements, there is no need for BCAA supplements. However, there are no side effects to using it either. If you’re using a BCAA supplement, always consult your nutritionist before you do so and check the label for ingredients used before purchasing it.