What is BCAA? How Many Grams Should I Take of This Stuff?
BCAA is an abbreviation for Branch-Chain Amino Acids. It is constituted by three of the 8 to 10 essential amino acids you need for lean muscle growth, namely Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. It is kind of like the 1-2-3 punches that produce a superb result in bodybuilding.
They work well in their respective roles and operate cohesively like the most legendary trio in team sports such as NBA’s Jordan, Pippen & Rodman of the Chicago Bulls in the late ‘90s or UEFA Champion’s League’s Van Basten, Gullit & Rijkaard of AC Milan, earlier in the same decade. So you might be wondering, “how many grams of BCAA should I take?”
Our bodies need to process around 20 amino acids to build muscles and produce other vital cells in our body such as hemoglobin.
About half of which are labeled “essential”, meaning they are not naturally manufactured by your own internal systems and must come from consuming foods, beverages, and even supplements.
Our BCAA trio actually accounts for 35% of the 9 essential amino acids in muscle proteins. Let’s take a closer at these three:
Leucine – this amino acid is an all-around player. It is a great defender as it is a scorer. Not only that it kindles production of muscle proteins, it also helps guard your fleshy tissues against early fatigue and deterioration.
Leucine is also known to aid well in protecting your body when it is in the state of suffering from iron deficiency, serious trauma, or extreme muscular pain, like when you got injured or had a surgery.
Isoleucine – this amino acid is great in keeping your body’s game under control. It is proficient in running fast break plays to deliver oxygen to various parts of your body and in producing healthy red blood cells.
It also assists in regulating your blood sugar level and increasing your muscles’ capability to absorb energy-boosting glucose.
Valine – this amino acid is the quintessential team player. By providing plenteous support in the production and delivery of nitrogen to various cells, valine helps the entire BCAA in playing its role in protein synthesis and glucose conversion that provide your muscles with energy fuel and tissue growth.
How does surplus BCAA help in bodybuilding and sports training?
Every human being, or mammal for that matter, needs to get a regular supply of BCAA from basic nutrition to survive and stay strong. Among the best sources, in our case, are protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry and dairy products, seafood and legumes.
Seeing as it’s one of the most supplement ingredients, most people often ask the question, “how many grams of BCAA should I take?”
While said sources may suffice in meeting our daily protein requirement, supplemental BCAAs still proved to be very useful when we engage in a strenuous workout and athletic activities for the following reasons:
- BCAAs are proteinogenic amino acids. It doesn’t mean that they always look good in pictures (a joke, sorry), but they are “protein creating”. We all know that protein is the nutrient mainly responsible for building lean muscles.
- BCAA accelerates lean muscle growth. Besides intensifying the process of protein synthesis, it also helps in increasing the production of growth hormones, testosterone, and insulin in our muscular system.
- BCAA enables you to train longer and harder. By supplying the required nitrogen in L-alanine production, your muscles are furnished with buffer energy fuel in the form of glucose to keep on going after your stored glycogens are spent through an intense workout. It’s known to give you the pump you need for longer, and more intense workouts.
- It helps delay muscle fatigue and speed up recovery. Clinical studies conclude that BCAA prevents serum decline during a workout, which inhibits serotonin production that causes fatigue. It also helps your body to recover fast not only from a high-intensity workout but also from stress, infection, and injury.
In fact, physicians commonly administer it intravenously to trauma, comatose and post-surgery patients. The faster the recovery rate, the better the results you’ll have for your workout regimen.
Conclusion: How many grams of BCAA supplement then should I take?
Many qualified fitness instructors recommend an intake of 5 – 10 grams on training days. It will also be wise to spread it out like: take 1/3 of the amount before workout; 1/3 in the middle of your training session; and 1/3 after to, optimally help in your post-workout recovery phase. In order to do this, you have to get them in powder and not in pill form.
There are no worrisome side effects for taking BCAA supplements, however, refrain from overusing or abusing it. Remember that anything of excess is bad.
If this has helped you in any way with your inquiries and concerns, or if you have a different answer, feel free to leave a comment or share with your friends!