BCAAs: What They Are and Why to Take Them ?


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Of these, nine are considered essential. When a substance is said to be essential for the body it means without it you will die. Essential amino acids therefore are ones we cannot survive without. Likewise essential fatty acids are necessary for us to thrive.

Of the essential amino acids, three account for as much as 33% of muscle tissue – leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

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The Administration of BCAA, Therefore, Allows the Following Advantages :

1. Greater stimulation of protein synthesis

2. Increased muscle strength due to the opposition of the entrance of free tryptophan in the brain. The latter is an essential amino acid which in the last stages of physical activity, the moment when BCAAs begin to act as an energy substrate, enters the brain, where it is converted into serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that imparts the feeling of fatigue.

3. Limitation of the formation of ammonia (Which is a very toxic substance to the tissues and prevents protein synthesis ).

4. More energy during workouts. This is due to the fact that BCAAs during their oxidation form alanine, which is the most important precursor of gluconeogenesis (formation of new glucose , therefore energy) in the liver , while maintaining stable blood glucose. Not to mention that the synthesis of glutamine depends on the branched chain amino acids.

5. BCAAs work best when the muscle is in a catabolic state, for example due to a low calorie diet, so they can help prevent muscle loss during strict diets.

6. Faster recovery.

7. Stronger immune system.

Taking BCAA Before a Workout

Taking the branched chain amino acids before a workout triggers the response of some anabolic hormones, particularly growth hormone, insulin and testosterone.

· In addition, BCAAs block the entry of tryptophan into the brain (mentioned earlier), so we get more energy during an intense workout.

Taking BCAA in the Middle of a Workout

Taking BCAAs could decrease protein degradation that occurs in skeletal muscle during intense exercise.

· For the reasons mentioned, the administration of BCAA during exercise can also be used to reduce some of the difficulty encountered during long training sessions.

Taking BCAA After a Workout

To restore the energy reserves and to facilitate the protein synthesis, thus decreasing the catabolism post-workout.


As a rule of a thumb, you should take 1g of BCAA per 20lbs of body mass. So, a person weighting 200 lbs should take 10g of   branched chain amino acids, divided in three parts – before, during and after the workout.