If you’ve ever shopped for protein powder, you’ll have noticed that some brands make a point of including BCAAs. But why? Well, both supplements promote recovery and muscle growth and hundreds of studies indicate that taking protein in harmony with BCAAs is an effective way to speed muscle repair. The duo also aid fat loss, regulate hormone levels and boost athletic performance. A number of leading protein supplements, including Healthy Whey, contain both nutrients, negating the need to purchase them separately.
What are BCAAs?
If you’re an experienced weightlifter, you’re probably familiar with BCAAs. Branched chain amino acids are a dietary staple of most bodybuilders. When taken as part of a balanced diet, BCAAs can improve recovery time and support muscle growth. In addition to aiding muscle repair, BCAAs can help you lift heavier and train harder.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. BCAAs are oxidised in skeletal tissue during ATP production. These nutrients are classified separately from regular amino acids, and include valine, leucine and isoleucine. Leucine is considered the most important amino acid in this category. BCAAs can protect your muscles from exercise-induced protein breakdown and increase the availability of carbs. This leads to greater gains and faster recovery.
BCAAs account for 14-18% of the amino acids found in muscle tissue. For this reason, they play a major role in protein synthesis. These compounds are metabolised differently from other amino acids and have positive effects on mental and physical performance. When combined with quality protein and a healthy diet, BCAAs can help you build a stronger, fitter body.
While most people use branched chain amino acids as a recovery aid, they also exert many other benefits. When used regularly, BCAAs can help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, prevent catabolism and create an anabolic environment that promotes muscle growth. BCAAs are typically taken as a pre-, intra- or post-workout supplement.
What about whey protein and BCAAs?
Some protein manufacturers specify BCCAs as part of their formula. Healthy Whey, for example, contains over 20 grams of protein and a generous 4.9 grams of BCAAs per serving. It’s also enriched with l-glutamine, an amino acid that supports muscle growth and repair.
The combination of whey protein and BCAAs work in tandem to support your body. Not only will you recover more quickly from exercise, but you should be able to train harder and longer without feeling sore. When taken as part of a protein shake, the BCAAs will be rapidly absorbed into your body, fuelling your muscles and supplying the energy your body demands. On their own, they’re impressive, but together BCAAs and protein form a winning team.