What are Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and how can they help

Published: 03rd November 2009
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Branched chain amino acids or BCAA are made up of leucine, iso leucine and valine, three types of amino acids. These amino acid molecules form a branched structure when they come together, which is why they are called branched chain amino acids. BCAAs form over 65 percent of the total 20 amino acids present in the body. This explains the reason for its importance. Another reason why BCAA is important is that they form a part of those amino acids that the body does not synthesize itself; it receives them from the diet.
The essential quality of BCAA does not rely only in its proportion of being a major part of the total amino acids but its capability of being used as an energy source. Other amino acids (apart from BCAAs) are first digested by the body and then they turn their path towards the liver where they are stored and are only released when the body requires them. On the other hand BCAAs do not go to the liver, they make their way directly to the muscles. BCAAs can be used directly as a fuel, which stimulates the growth of the muscle tissues. Additionally, BCAAs positively influence muscle repair and develop muscle strength according to weights.
Another major benefit of using BCAAs is that it reduces the feeling of fatigue. The feeling of tiredness is produced through serotonin, which is produced by trptophan. Valine, a component of BCAAs, restricts the entry of trptrophan in the brain which fatigues the body. According to research, intake of BCCA prior to workouts brings down the tryptophan entering the brain, which lowers the feeling of fatigue. This helps the body stay in action for a longer time.
BCAA supplements are available in the form of powders as well as capsules. You can either consume these capsules about four times a day or mix the powder with protein shake or do both. The body requires a total of about 20 gms of BCAA supplement so you can divide it accordingly.

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