Branched Chain Amino Acids

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So, What's The Big Deal About BCAAs?

Anyone who’s been in the health and fitness world for more than 5 minutes has
heard of branched-chain-amino-acids (or BCAAs for short)!!!

Some swear by it, whilst others say it’s a waste of money!

 

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Well, as always, we’ll explore the facts first, and then take it from there.

SO, WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. 

In other words, protein is made up of amino acids!The body breaks down protein to amino acids with the help of enzymes. Once absorbed, the amino acids are stored (this is called the ‘amino acid pool’).

They consequently come together to form protein within the body.

Essential vs Non-Essential Amino Acids

 

We have 20 amino acids.

 

Out of the 20 amino acids, 9 of them are

 ‘essential amino acids’ (EAAs).

 
 

The rest are non-essential 

amino acids (Non-EAAs).

 

 

friends taking BCAAs

Essential Amino Acids
(EAAs)

Non-Essential Amino Acids (Non-EAAs)

EAAs cannot be made by the body, and must 
be ingested via food. 
Dietary protein provides us with these EAAs. 
 
The non-EAAs, however, can be made 
within our bodies and hence do not require
 protein to make them.

Branched Chain Amino Acids
(BCAAs)

BCAAs consist of 3 EAAs that play a vital role in muscle growth.
These EAAs are called ‘leucine,’ ‘isoleucine,’ and ‘valine.’ 
‘Leucine’ is the principal amino acid responsible for muscle growth!
The list below is taken from my book ‘Lean Gains,’ and highlights the functions of each BCAA.

Leucine

Isoleucine

Leucine directly stimulates mTOR and initiates muscle protein synthesis.

This is the most important amino acid for muscle growth. 

Leucine also prevents muscle breakdown.

Isoleucine boosts energy levels and is used as a fuel for muscle cells. In so doing, it helps spare other amino acids from being broken down. 

It therefore has an anti-catabolic effect (ie. prevents muscle from being broken down). 

Isoleucine also contributes towards muscle protein synthesis.

Valine

Valine is used as an energy source for muscle, like the other 2 BCAAs. 

Although valine contributes towards muscle growth and repair, it’s not as effective as isoleucine or, especially, leucine.

What Are The Pros and
Cons of BCAAs?

But Do We Really
Need BCAAs?

pros and cons of BCAAs
 As you can see from the above table, BCAAs have a range of benefits, but they are
expensive and, if you’re already taking ‘whey protein’ on a regular basis, then you
don’t need to take BCAAs since whey protein already contains ample amounts of
BCAAs, but is much cheaper (in most cases).
If you’re training fasted on a regular basis, however, you’re more likely to break
down more muscle than normal at a quicker rate. 
In these cases, it’s a good idea to
take a BCAA before and after training.

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“I LOST 10% BODYFAT IN 10 WEEKS AND18% BODY FAT IN 10 MONTHS WHILST GAINING A SHED LOAD OF MUSCLE!! 

THE BOOKS I’VE WRITTEN SHOW YOU EXACTLY HOW IT’S DONE!”

Dr Jonathan S. Lee
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10 weeks later image

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