Branched-chain amino-acids (BCAAs) are amino acids built of leucine, isoleucine and valine.
What are BCAAs and who should take them.
Branched-chain amino-acids (BCAAs) are amino-acids built of leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are known to reduce body fat, stimulate growth of muscle tissue and help maintain the figure developed through muscle- defining workouts.
Therefore, when asked about who the offer of BCAA supplementation should be targeted at, we should answer that at all those who are searching for ways to increase their lean mass and have a well-defined body. Here I mean both athletes and amateurs who value healthy lifestyle without obesity and want to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart diseases, cancers or diabetes. With BCAAs, they can develop a beautiful body and get rid of fat without losing muscles.
BCAAs in tests
To confirm the above, let me refer to two tests.
The first one, carried out in 2009 by Stoppani, involved 36 strength athletes divided into 3 groups. The participants were subjected to an 8-week supplementation with a BCAA drink, whey drink and carbohydrates respectively. Athletes from the BCAA group reported muscle growth of 2 kg when compared to the “whey” subjects and of 3 kg when compared to the “carbohydrates” group, with concurrent fat loss of over 1% more than in the remaining groups.
The other test was conducted in 1995 by Candeloro. During the test, ten healthy and non-working-out persons took BCAAs for 30 days, whereupon measurements were taken, showing muscle growth (by 0.08 kg) and noticeable fat loss.
The results of the first test are in opposition to the opinions of certain specialists who claim that additional BCAA supplementation of a well-balanced diet is aimless. Conclusions drawn from the experiment clearly show the advantage of taking BCAAs as a supplement over their equivalents that can be found, for instance, in whey, for the growth of muscles with concurrent fat loss.
A decisive factor in the determination of the time of the day when BCAAs should be taken is the fact that branched-chain amino acids activate the same anabolic paths as the thoroughly tested nitrogen oxide, i.e. by permeating directly to the muscles (right after administered, nitrogen oxide instantly activates protein synthesis and enhances muscle proliferation). Knowing this, it can be concluded that both NO and BCAA should be taken pre- and post-workout.
BCAA before bedtime and right after waking up?
The considerations presented above are additionally supported by the otherwise true opinion that at night, it is catabolic processes that prevail in the body, while the anabolic phase is calmed down, wherefore supplementation with BCAA would smooth away the metabolic changes that are unfavourable to muscles. Nonetheless, it shows that both branched-chain amino-acids and tryptophan are distributed within the muscles and the brain through the same transport paths. In the brain, tryptophan is transformed into messengers such as melatonin and serotonin, indirectly lifting the mood and improving the quality of sleep. The competition between NO and BCAA for this transport path can significantly impair the body’s resting parameters and disturb the person’s mental condition. In muscles, in turn, melatonin and serotonin stimulate muscle proliferation, which is a desirable effect as well.