Branched Chain Amino Acids for Muscle Building

With the capabilities to improve exercise performance and provide protein to muscle, branched chained amino acids (BCAAs) are essential nutrients in helping to stimulate and promote muscle building. Consisting of three of the nine essential amino acids, and accounting for 40% of the performed amino acids required by the body, BCAAs must be provided to organisms through a supplied diet as they cannot be formed synthetically.

What are Branched Chain Amino Acids?

Branched chain amino acids consist of three - leucine, isoleucine and valine - of the nine essential amino acids the body cannot synthesize, and thus must be obtained from an external source. They help improve workout performance by stimulating the building of protein in muscle while reducing muscle breakdown during intense exercise. 

Leucine is the only amino acid capable of stimulating muscle protein synthesis and slowing the degradation of muscle tissue. While having earned more attention than other amino acids for this capacity, leucine is more able to resist muscle degradation as a result of valine's ability to promote growth and repair of muscle tissue. Along with isoleucine's importance in regulating blood sugar and energy levels – both of which can fall to dangerous levels during heavy exercise without its assistance  – the three BCAAs are collectively effective in improving muscle building.

Branched Chain Amino Acid Benefits

Because intense workouts are the most effective way to increase muscle synthesis, but require exorbitant amounts of energy, achieving a desirable goal naturally comes with its limitations. BCAAs allow you to overcome those struggles without the controversial risks associated with products like HGH.

Muscle growth is a result of protein synthesis being greater than protein breakdown. Branched chain amino acids increase the value of muscle synthesis by stimulating muscle growth and repair, improving the body's capacity to synthesize protein.  This added benefit allows workouts to be more intense, thus allowing protein synthesis to remain higher than breakdown.

For those with concerns the high workout rate may cause higher fatigue, branched chain amino acids have been shown to improve resistance to fatigue, improve brain concentration, and decrease muscle soreness 48 hours and 72 hours after an intense workout.

Branched Chain Amino Acids vs. HGH

The performance enhancement benefits found in BCAAs naturally have some similarities to those found in products such as HGH. However, unlike the controversial issues surrounding HGH, BCAAs have remained unscathed primarily because they can be naturally found in food.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced synthetically mostly as an aid to replace the loss of HGH levels as the body ages or most commonly to build muscle and improve athletic performance. Though the body does produce its own levels of HGH, the reasons or benefits for their decline remain unknown. Unfortunately, supplementing HGH levels is seen as providing an unfair competitive advantage and is banned by the majority of sports.

Branched chain amino acids, however, are nowhere near as controversial and are commonly used as a way to improve muscle building and workout efforts. Many bodybuilders have been taking leucine supplements for years as a way to bulk up quickly and safely. In addition, all 3 BCAAs -- leucine, isoleucine and valine -- can be found in meat and dairy, which the majority of people already consume as part of their diet.

In recent years, more companies starting manufacturing BCAA supplements targeted at athletes and bodybuilders. Many of these products contain only one of two amino acids, usually leucine and valine. But a few companies are starting to release powerful BCAA supplements that contain all 3 branched chain amino acids. While we obviously prefer HGH supplements, we know that they aren't right for everyone and feel that a BCAA supplement is a good substitute.