The branched chain amino acids make a powerhouse team to support muscle maintenance and growth, weight loss, and mental energy. The three amino acids that make up the the BCAA group are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Build Muscles Without Calories
When you exercise, you need extra protein to build muscle. A lot of this protein requirement is actually a specific need for BCAAs, rather than the other amino acids. You can actually supplement with BCAAs and get the benefits of extra protein without the extra calories. BCAAs can be used to build muscle while keeping calories low and losing weight at the same time.
Reducing calories can sometimes result in muscle loss in addition to weight loss. When researchers put a group of wrestlers on a moderately low calorie diet, and gave them BCAAs, they lost signficant amounts of abdominal fat while keeping their performance and muscle mass high.
Recovery, Soreness, and Hormones
In people who are exercising, BCAAs can inhibit the breakdown of muscle tissues that occurs during exercise, leading to faster recovery of muscle strength. BCAAs have also been shown to reduce soreness at 48 and 72 hours after exercise. BCAAs reduced signs of muscle damage in the blood. And, in men, administration of BCAAs resulted in significantly higher testosterone and lower cortisol levels. This type of hormone ratio makes it easier to build muscle and is even more important than total testosterone level.
Mental Performance For Endurance
BCAA’s have another important benefit: They can help keep you from getting tired during endurance exercise. BCAA’s inhibit an amino acid called tryptophan from getting into the brain as you exercise. When tryptophan crosses over into your brain, it turns into serotonin, which contributes to mental feeling of fatigue as you exercise longer. You feel as if you can’t run or bike as far. Some studies indicate that BCAA’s may actually improve endurance performance in this way
Try It With HMB
One great combination for a fit, lean body is to combine BCAAs with HMB. HMB inhibits the enzymes that break down your muscle tissue post-exercise and increase soreness and recovery time. HMB by itself has been shown to accelerate recovery after a workout and increase the building of new muscle as well as reduce body fat. According to research, a BCAA/HMB combo increased muscle mass and muscle strength synergistically, more than researchers expected based on results from either one alone.
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