Why Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) are Essential for Athletes

Do you know that branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are of a special importance to athletes and body builders? Why? Because they can provide optimal energy levels, enhance sports performance by building protein and muscle tissues, reduce fatigue, and much more. Besides, BCAA has found its application in the treatment of such serious diseases as muscular dystrophy, cancer and cirrhosis.

What is bcaa?

BCAA is a combination of essential branched chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine that are of special importance for bodybuilders and athletes because these amino acids are used by the body to build up protein.

Because BCAA’s are essential amino acids, they are not produced by the body in the same way as non-essential amino acids, but are rather obtained from our diet and nutrition. That is why, it is suggested that bcaa supplementation is of significant importance to athletes because they can alleviate any deficiencies that the body alone cannot synthetize.

Due to the way of BCAA’s metabolism, which occurs in the muscle rather than the liver, the effect of these branched chain amino acids is much quicker and efficient than of any other amino acid. After bcaa are digested, protein breaks down into individual amino acids that can either be used to build new proteins or become some sort of a fuel that produces energy for the body, thus enhances sports performance in a natural way. If your diet is balanced, branched chain amino acids will be used for protein synthesis, essential for endurance athlets and strenuous workouts.

BCAA's are also used to reduce fatigue in both anaerobic and endurance sports. Because of its anticatabolic properties and vital role in protein synthesis, leucine is considered to one of the most critical BCAA.  

What is bcaa used for?

Numerous studies on BCAA’s were done in the past several years, demonstrating practical and theoretical use for these amino acids. Although there are a few reseaches showing mixed results, in most cases BCAA supplements have shown quite favorable results both in animals and humans.

Increase protein synthesis. Several studies demonstrated the ability of BCAA’s to provide beneficial results on protein synthesis, which resulted in bigger muscles. In addition, BCAA supplements increase the level of such hormones as growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin, which adds to the benefits of these amino acids.

Under certan conditions, including extreme stress (e.g. strenuous long-term exercise in mountains), 10 grams per day of BCAA supplements demonstrated the ability to increase muschel mass.

Endurance. BCAA’s ability to serve as a donor of nitrogen in the formation of l-alanine, shows benefits for the whole body. It provides the tissues with glucose after glycogen stores are depleted, which may enable you to train at higher intensities for longer periods of time. BCAA supplementation may also keep your energy at higher levels, even when you are on a low carbohydrates diet.

Faster recovery. Studies show that BCAA supplementation results in the increase of metabolic recovery, meaning that the recovery period between workouts is much faster.

Fat Loss. At least two studies demonstrate the ability of BCAAs to significantly promote visceral body fat loss, which is usually hard to lose under normal circumstances. 25 wrestlers participated in this study. After 19 days of BCAA supplementation, the group with a high dosage of BCAAs lost the most body fat (mostly in the abdominal region), about 17% in average. This may give credence to BCAAs effectiveness at fat loss in the abs part. The second study showed that when in extreme stress (e.g. hiking) , people saw muscle mass gain as well as fat loss.

Immune System Boost.  When your body experience strenuous workouts, stress, or illness, your immune system suffers and you become more prone to infections and strength loss. BCAA’s cam help reverse glutamine loss, which is very important for the immune system. In addition, these amino acids can help prevent  the body’s catabolic state, and this also improves faster recovery and less damages to your body cells. With the help of BCAAs, muscle proteins aren’t burned for fuel, thereby this supplement spares breaddown of muscular protein. This helps the body train more hard and increase protein synthesis, which means more muscles for you. A study done on obese patients, who were put on a starvation type diet, the administration of BCAA helped induce anabolism and nitrogen sparing, which made the body burn fat instead of lean muscle mass, thus sparing muscle protein.

BCAA supplements for therapeutic uses

There is some evidence that BCAAs may be beneficial for appetite improval in people undergoing cancer treatment. Appetite improved in 55% of those taking BCAAs (the dose was 4.8 g daily) compared to only 16% of those who took placebo.

BCAA supplements may also reduce the symptoms of lateral sclerosis, however not all studies proved its positive results on this health condition.

A series of small studies show that the supplementation of BCAAs may decrease the symptoms of dyskensia, which is a movement disorder caused by long-term usage of antipsychotic drugs. The branch chain amino acids also were found to be promising in helping with the recovery from traumatic brain injury.

One double-blind study found that leucine (one of the BCAA’s amino acids) was ineffective at the dosage of 0.2 grams per kilogram in 96 patients with muscular dystrophy. The subjects were studies on a long-term basis (over 12 months) with no significant differences between the leucine and placebo groups.

Who uses bcaa?

Because of their vital importance in a proper muscle tissues functioning, BCAAs are widely used and popular among body builders, endurance athletes, and other people wishing to stay healthy and strong. Due to its metabolism in the muscle, athletes and body builders supplement BCAA during workouts and  trainings requiring endurance and vigour. Even if you exercise a little, this may cause the BCAA’s levels to drop speedily leading to the increased catabolism (muscle breakdow), and fatigue. If you want to build muscles or if you train hard and for a long period of time, BCAAs can be a good choice to ensure that your energy is produced not from the muscles that you’ve worked so hard to build.

BCAA-Rich Foods
BCAA-Rich Foods

What foods supply the most bcaa?

BCAAs can be found in most protein-rich foods, with its greatest content in dairy products and red meat. The higher the quality of protein source, the higher amount of BCAAs you get. Whey protein as well as egg protein are rich in branched chain amin acids.

Isoleucine can be found in most food sources and it is particularly high in meat, fish, and cheese products.

The food sources of leucineis mainly such quality protein foods as beans, brewer's yeast, caseinate, brown rice bran, and corn.

Valine can be found in soy flour, fish, meats, cottage cheese, grains, mushrooms, peanuts, and vegetables.

How many bcaas are in a banana?

Banana is rich in many essential amino acids, including BCAAs. The content of leucine is 320 mg per gram, isoleucine – 250 mg/gm, valine – 260 mg/gm.

How bcaa powder looks and tastes?

Branch-chain amino acids (BCAA powder) is a white grainy powder. Its taste is slightly bitter, although this bitterness can be hidden with any juice you usually take (banana, orange, apple juice) or any other whey or protein supplement.

What are bcaa soluble in?

BCAA are readily soluble in formic acid, but they can hardly be soluble in water, and are practically insoluble in ethanol. BCAAs can be soluble in dilute hydrochloric acid. For a better supplementation, you can mix BCAA powder with a smothie, protein supplement or any other drink in about 30 minutes before workouts.

What is the best way to take bcaa?

The most common form of BCAA supplementations are powder, pills, and liquid drinks. Both forms are effective, however their difference lies in the speed of the amino acids absorption.

It was reported that when you ingest protein and leucine with carbohydrate, this stimulates protein synthesis in the muscle tissue, as well as optimizes the body’s protein balance when compared with the supplementation of only carbohydrates alone after 45 minutes of strenuous workouts. There is some evidence that orally-ingested BCAAs have an anti-catabolic effect during and after workouts.

Several clinical studies demonstrated that BCAAs can increase protein synthesis and reduce protein degradation. However, many people presume that if they increase their consumption of whey protein, which is rich in BCAAs, will lead to the same effect as pure BCAA powder supplementation. Unfortunately, they are not right. BCAAs in whey are bound to other amino acids and must be freed through digestion and only then they are absorbed into the bloodstream to exert their effects. Even though whey protein seems to be comparingly fast digesting, it still takes several hours for all the amino acids to be absorbed into the bloodstream. However, pure BCAA powder requires no digestion as it is rapidly absorbed into the body’s bloodstream, providing much more effect than peptide bound amino acids.

Even if you take just a few grams of BCAAs, your blood plasma will be spiked to a much greater extent than a 30 gram dose of whey protein. Protein synthesis will be felt in much more greater degree. The reason why pure BCAA powder has such a powerful effect on blood levels of the amino acids, is because of the metabolism of BCAA, which passes directly to the blood stream rather than digesting in small intestine or the liver. Therefore, an oral BCAA supplementation is considered to be of the same effect as injection, because it reaches the bloodstream very  rapidly.

Best time to take BCAAs
Best time to take BCAAs

When to take bcaa powder?

The effectiveness of BCAA supplementation depends on a few factors. If you eat much with lots of protein, the benefit of these amino acids may be limited. Unless you are very skinny or obese, you should follow more a dialed in re-comping approach that involves adding small amounts of muscle and dropping small amounts of fat at the same time.

Taking into account these circumstances, there may be a good value in adding high doses of BCAA, especially during and after workouts. In this way the total calories will be kept lower to minimize fat gain while still keeping protein synthesis high. All this is done thanks to the benefits of the mTOR cascade. Several scientists suggest that daily calories can be reduced by about 300-500 and thanks to the supplementation of BCAA powder (the intake of which must be high enough around workouts), the body will not lose lean muscle mass, but will burn fat instead.

Furthermore, high doses of BCAA during workouts (about 30-40 grams) may significantl reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). In addition, there is some evidence that athletes had reduced soreness after a squat workout. The BCAA intake may be able to help athletes effectively train 3-4 extra days thanks to accelerated recovery.

How much does one tablespoon of bcaa weigh?

One tablespoon of BCAA powder weighs 5866 milligrams, which is the same as 5.8 grams.

How many teaspoons are 5 grams of bcaa equal to?

A regular BCAA dose for people, involved in not so strenuous workouts as body builders, is equal to approximately 5 grams. If measured in teaspoons, 5 grams of BCAA powder will be 1 teaspoon with no heap.

How many grams of bcaa powder should you take?

The typical therapeutic dosage of brainched chain amino acids (BCAA) powder is from 1 to 5 grams on a daily basis.

How long do bcaa last in solution?

To increase the anabolic effects of exercise, you should take BCAA powder 15-30 minutes before and after workouts. Due to the way BCAA is metabolized in the body, it comes directly to the blood stream resulting in more strength, endurance and muscle recovery.

When will i notice results from taking bcaa?

The effect from taking BCAA is usually felt in 30 minutes when the amino acids reach the blood stream and release their energy.

How long do bcaa's stay in your body?

After consumption, BCAA’s stay in your body for 3 to 4 hours reducing fatigue from low intensity and long duration exercise.

Where are bcaa metabolize in the body?

BCAA metabolism is not the same as other amino acids. It differs in two ways:

  1. The oxidation of each three amino acids that comprise BCAAs are catalyzed by two common enzymes: an aminotransferase which produces branched-chain-keto acids (BCKA) and a dehydrogenase which metabolizes the BCKA;
  2. The body metabolizes BCAAs as a group of amino acids. Their cirulating concentrations correlate with each other closely – when one branched-chain amino acid is reduced, so are the other two and vice versa.

BCAA are very energy-rich. While they are oxidized, they produce significant quantities of cellular energy known as ATP.

Physical workouts are associated with increased BCAAs oxidation, although these amino acids remain minor fuels when compared with carbohydrate or fat.

BCAA is mostly catabolized in skeletal muscle. This represents an important difference between brainched-chain and other amino acids that are primarily digested in the liver and intestine. When you eat a protein-rich meal, the BCAA account for a disproportionately high fraction of the increase in circulating amino acid levels. This increase in the levels of BCAA enables these amino acids to serve as regulatory signals for a variety of cellular processes.

What is recommended bcaa powder dosage?

Dosage recommendations for BCAA powder as well as pills vary widely and more research is required before confirming the final recommended dosage of BCAA’s. One of the most recent researches suggests that that BCAA’s dosages typically range from 200-300 milligrams (mg) of each BCAA daily to 2 and 5 grams of each on a daily basis. Another study showed that BCAA is effective in smaller doses, too. Therefore, the dose of 150mg of each leucine, isoleucine, and valine daily may have positive health effect.

Many body builders and marathon runners recommend the intake of BCAA using this scheme: 5 grams before, 5 grams during and 5 grams post workout. Several resources mention this type of scheme:

Before exercise you should take 10 grams of BCAA’s along with 10-15 grams of whey hydrolysate and 20-25 grams of high GI carbohydrates.

During exercise it is recommended to take BCAA at the dose of 10 grams, whey hydrolysate - 10-15 grams, and high carbohydrates drink or foods - 20-25 grams.

After exercise athletes recommend 10 grams of BCAA, 40 grams of whey isolate and 50 grams of  carbohydrates

How much bcaa gram do you need for recovery?

The usual dose of BCAA’s for recovery is 5 to 10 grams after workouts.

How many mg of branched chain aminos should i take after workout?

The same answer as to the above question – 5 to 10 grams of branched chain aminos.

What is the maximum daily dose of branch chained amino?

For most people, diets provide a significant amount of BCAAs, which is about 25-65 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of the body weight. You can take approximately 3 to 5 grams of BCAAs during exercise to delay fatigue and improve exercise performance. The maximum daily dose of branch chained amin acids shouldn’t exceed 30 grams.

How much powdered bcaa should be taken daily by women?

BCAAs are a great supplementation when it comes to a low calorie diet, when your goals are to lose body fat and gain muscle mass at the same time. In a nutshell, when exercising the body usually uses protein stores as in muscle mass for energy. When you take your dose of BCAAs before cardio or training, this will provide amino acids and protein for your body to use as energy. Therefore it doesn’t have to use your precious muscles.

The powdered BCAA is recommended for women in the following dosages:

- 5 grams of BCAAs first thing in the morning on an empty stomach;
- 5 grams 30 minutes before exercise;
- 5 grams right after exercise

You can also use 5 grams of BCAAs during your training or on off days:

- 5 grams of powdered BCAA in the morning;

- 5 grams 30 minutes before lunch;

- 5 grams 30 minutes before supper

What is better BCAA tablets, capsules or powder bcaas?

The effectiveness of bcaa tablets, capsules and powdered aminos is the same. However, the difference lies in the speed of metabolism as well as the convenience of the intake. Many body builders and athletes prefer powdered BCAA’s form. They mix the powder with juice and other beverages as well as add BCAAs to foods. You can take big doses during workouts without having to stop and take BCAA pills and capsules.

If you're tight on money, powdered BCAAs is your best choice. It is much less expensive and you will get more branched aminos for your money. If the price is of no concern and you enjoy the convenience of tablets, take them. There’s one disadvantage of BCAA pills and capsules, however—sometimes they are difficult to swallow and if you are going to have a high dose of BCAAs, you will have to take several tablets at a time, which may be difficult for some people. Besides, you will need a good digestive system to digest tablets as sometimes they may be heavy for your stomach.

Best time to drink bcaa powder?

The best time to drink BCAA powder is 30 minutes before workouts, during exercise and 30 minutes after it for a better muscle and energy recovery.

Are bcaa's good for you?

Several clinical studies showed positive effect of BCAA’s, which comprise of the following branch chain amino acids--leucine, isoleucine, and valine. As with all amino acids, BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein. When a protein food gets to your digestive system, it is metabolized and releases amino acids and short chains of amino acids that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. BCAA’s help the body build muscles, improve recovery from strenuous long-term workouts. Unlike other amino acids, BCAA’s are metabolised not in the stomach, but instead go directly to the muscle, which means that they are very anabolic (in other words, they build muscle) and anti-catabolic (reduce muscle breakdown). Because these amin acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are essential, they cannot be synthesised by your body, that is why they must be obtained from food or supplements.

How many bcaa per day?

An overal recommended dose of BCAA’s is no more than 20-30 grams a day. The usual dosage is 5-10 grams before workouts, 5-10g during training, and 5-10 grams before workouts.

Which is the most important branch chain amino acid?

Many experts consider leucine to be the best and most important of the three branch chain amino acids, because it interacts directly with insulin to stimulate protein synthesis. Isoleucine and valine also play an important role in protein synthesis, their effect is much less than that of leucine. Several clinical studies have demonstrated that leucine can stimulate muscle growth. When compared with the effects of BCAAs against leucine, scientists found out that the combination of all three branch chain amino acids is much more effective than the use of leucine only. In a study subjects were given one of three supplements: 60mg of leucine per kg (about 5g for 180 pounds of body weight), 120mg of BCAAs per kg (about 10g for 180 pounds of body weight) and placebo. The supplements were taken 3 times a day—30 minutes before weightlifting, immediately before lifting and right after the lifting. Two cellular protein levels were measured by the scientists to see the effect of the supplementation on protein synthesis. When proteins are activated, muscles are built much more faster. No difference for one of the proteins was found, however the other protein activation level was much more higher in the BCAA and leucine group compared to the placebo group. When directly the effects of BCAA and leucine were compared directly, BCAAs were found to have the greatest effect on the protein activation, which means that all three BCAAs should be taken together to have the greatest impact on the muscle growth.

What are branched-chain amino acids (bcaas) side effects?

There have not been any reported side effects with the use of BCAA supplements. Excessive intake of BCAAs usually results in other amino acid forms that are used up as energy or stored up as fat. Until more research and clinical studies are done, people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) should not take BCAA supplements.

One study showed that large dosage of BCAAs (60 grams) caused alterations in the blood levels of tyrosine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan. Theoretically, the changes in the blood levels of these amino acids can cause depression in susceptible individuals.

People with liver or kidney disease should not take BCAA aminos in high doses of amino acids without consulting their doctor.

What is the most common dosage of bcaa for power athletes? per kg

Athletes usually take 120 milligrams of pure BCAA powder per kg. It is approximately 10 grams for 180-pound individual.

Do bcaa's raise testosterone levels?

Yes, BCAA’s powder can increase a during and post exercise testosterone level: cortisol ratio. In a study on long-distance runners, each athlete was given a 218-calorie drink with approximately 10 grams of BCAA’s. Another group of athletes received the same calorie drink with no BCAA supplementation. The first group results indicated that the beverage with BCAAs caused greater levels of amino acids in the blood and muscles and higher muscle testosterone levels as well as an increased ratio of testosterone to cortisol. This means that BCAA’s taken during strenuous exercise can produce more testosterone that will help increase protein synthesis.

Do bodybuilders mix their bcaa's in juice?

BCAAs powder can be mixed in orange, apple, banana, peach or any juice. It is also recommended that you eat a high carbohydrate food or drink beverage after workouts. This promotes greater recovery levels for your muscle cells.

Can you break down branched amino acids in a blender?

For a better taste and convenience, you can break down branched amino acids in a blender. Pour milk, juice, or water into the blender, add BCAA’s powder and blend. This makes a great and refreshing beverage rich in BCAAs.

What is the branched amino acid that supplies energy to the muscles?

Leucine has been found to be the most important of the three branched amino acids. However clinical studies demonstrated that the intake of leucine alone doesn’t have the same effective results as BCAA’s supplementation. Therefore, for more benefits it is recommended to take the combination of all branched amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine)rather than leucine alone.

Can i take okg with bcaa?

Ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (OKG) is a nutrient that has 2 active anabolic or anti-catabolic components: ornithine and alpha-ketoglutarate. This supplement acts as a fuel source and is oxidized during the Kreb's cycle, thereby sparing glucose and raising the content of glycogen in the liver. OKG can be taken with BCAA, as well as other energy supplements such as glutamate and glutamine. There is solid evidence that OKG when taken with BCAA has a growth hormone releasing effect: the supplement can release insulin in many healthy people as well as those suffering from health conditions, including catabolic states. BCAA enhances the effect of OKG and produces an anabolic effect by increasing nitrogen retention and increasing lean body mass. Clinical studies suggest that OKG can help in the treatment of burns, trauma or other conditions associated with abnormal muscle catabolism.

Can I take bcaa and caffeine?

BCAA alone has a stimulant effect similar to the one produced by caffeine. The combination of BCAA and caffeine may actually enhance endurance and athletic performance, improve focus and mental performance.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research demonstrated that people taking branch chain amin acids (BCAA) with caffeine had a lower rate of exertion and shorter muscles recovery period. When combined with carbohydrates, BCAA can also improve optimize body’s aerobic exercise performance.

Be aware that too much caffeine may cause side effects including nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness and occasionally rapid heart beat. If you do not use coffee and caffeine on a daily basis, a good idea will be drink the BCAA and caffeine containing beverages before and during workouts.  

Can bcaas be taken with green tea?

Although heat can damage protein, it would not adversely affect BCAAs. As branch chain amino acids are tiny building blocks of proteins, when heat is applied, protein may simply denaturate in the same way as egg turns white from liquid form). Alternatively and to be on the safe side, you can cool down your green tea or any other hot beverage by adding a couple of ice cubes and only then add your BCAA powder.

Does bcaas cause headaches?

When you take high doses of BCAAs, this may help greatly recovery at first and other protein/carbohydrates release for other processes within the body. This may result in a greater feeling of overall vibrance contributing perhaps to more libido and mood. However, if you continue the use of high BCAA dosage, this can wear out serotonin and result in headaches. If this happens, discontinue the use of the aminos and call your doctor immediately if you experience severe headache, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or any other severe symptoms.

Why does bcaa 5000 cause headaches?

BCAA powder as a dietary supplement is to be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program.  If consuming long-time extremely high doses of this supplement, this may cause severe headaches. This happens because of long-term consumption of BCAA in high doses over 50 grams daily affect the brain, specifically serotonin production. This may lead to depression and libido decline.

Is bcaa good for your skin?

Several clinical studies suggest that the use of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) can positively affect skin regeneration. Leucine was found to promote healing of skin as well as broken bones, and when this amino acid is combined with isoleucine and valine, the effect is more powerful. BCAAs are used in several skin nutrition complexes, which help fight against wrinkles, nourish skin, burn fat, shape the body, heighten energy levels, and combat free radicals.

Is BCAA safe?

Studies demonstrate that the intake of BCAA supplements in the doses between 5 and 20 grams a day appear to be safe. Higher doses should be avoided because the absorption of these branch chain amino acids from diet can lead to excess in BCAAs and the risk of gastrointestinal distress. In most cases, even if the BCAA dosage is high, these acids are simply converted into other amino acids. However, if you take medications for Parkinson’s disease, BCAAs may reduce their effectiveness.

Is it necessary to supplement bcaas during workout?

Yes, to promote the endurance and immediate muscle recovery, as well as help reduce the lost of lean muscle mass, it is necessary to supplement BCAAs during workout. For a better effectiveness, you should use powdered BCAAs due to their rapid absorption. The powder can be added in water, juice, coffee, green tea or any other beverage.

Does bcaa give you a better looking body?

BCAA promote fat loss, however you should know that without physical exercise these amino acids will not lead to the desired results. As described above, BCAA help burn fat during and after workouts and prevents the reduce of lean muscle mass, which often occurs during long-term and strenuous exercise such as maraphon running, weight lifting, and so on.

Is bcaa good for energy?

What is really so special about leucine, isoleucine, and valine (the three branched-chain amino acids) is how the body handles them. When you ingest other amino acids, they are metabolized in the liver and are broken down to be used by the body as a fuel needed for energy rather than for rebuilding muscle and other tissues. However, the things are different with BCAAs. They go past the liver and are absorbed directly into the blood stream, which sends these amino acids directly to the muscles, where they can be used for building muscle or for energy.

Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs can be used by the muscle directly for energy. When you exercise, BCAAs are readily used by the body for fuel. After workouts, BCAAs are used for building muscles. Because BCAAs supplements are metabolized in the muscle as a direct source of energy, you will experience higher levels of energy during workouts.

Is bcaa a good choice for building musle?

As all other amino acids, BCAA are the building blocks of protein. They produce up to 35% of the muscle mass and are essential for the cellular growth as well as tissue build up. Theoretically, BCAAs can be beneficial to body builders and athletes who are on a fat loss program. Because these amino acids help maintain lean body mass, they are a good choice during strenuous workouts and long-term exercise. Keep in mind that the main function of BCAA is to help maintain your precious muscles, but not to gain them. In this aspect, when BCAA are combined with another muscle building supplement—creatine, it is has much more effect on the muscle growth than supplementing BCAAs alone.

Does bcaa promotes healing surgery?

A 2006 study published in the Nutrition journal found that BCAA supplementation may be useful in recovery after surgical stress. Pharmacologic doses of branch chain amino acids improved the early metabolic response after major surgery. The excess of BCAAs, when other essential amino acids are balanced in the body, acutely increased muscle protein synthesis and glutamine flux from skeletal muscle in patients after surgery. This suggests that BCAA promotes healing surgery, however further research is required to confirm this benefit.

Is bcaa good for liver?

The oral administration of BCAAs was found to improve health condition in patients with liver cirrhosis. According to the 2007 study by Japanese scientists, branched-chain amino acids improve hypoalbuminemia in patients with cirrhosis. Seven cirrhotic patients with hepatitis were given 4 grams of BCAA after each meal for eight weeks. After 8 weeks, the oxidized / reduced state of serum albumin (which is very high in cirrhotic patients) improved significantly, which suggests that BCAA is good for the liver and can be used as a part of cirrhosis healing program.

BCAA ethyl ester versus creatine ethyl ester

BCAA ethyl ester is a high potency formula that contains such essential amino acids as leucine, valine and isoleucine. Ethyl ester makes these aminos more bioavailable, which means a better absorption and more benefits for your body.  BCAA ethyl ester is much more effective than other BCAA supplements and all this because of the ethyl ester added to each BCAA molecule. Ethyl ester reduces polarity of BCAA’s and therefore makes it more easily absorbed in the digestive tract. Because of this formula, each branch chain amino acid can go through the intestine almost intact and go directly to the muscle. Ethyl ester also protects the molecules of BCAAs from quick degradation, which makes them more effective and in smaller doses than simple BCAA products.

BCAA ethyl ester belongs to the supplements that can significantly improve your strength and muscle gains through non-hormonal anabolic action. It also promotes the release of hormones like growth hormone, insuling, as well as reduce the secretion of cortisol. BCAA ethyl ester also can act as an anti-catabolic, therefore prevent the body from breaking down muscle tissue and using it for energy fuel.

Creatine ethyl ester has been widely used for a long time. This supplement is one of the best studied dietary supplements that can be found on the market today. Numerous clinical studies have shown significant benefits of creatine, which include:

  1. Better endurance, which means more strength during workouts.
  2. Increased muscle gain, which is one of the main reasons why creatine ethyl ester is taken by so many body builders and weight trainers.
  3. Faster recovery time. The supplement helps muscles recover faster after workouts, and build bigger muscle mass.
  4. Creatine ethyl ester can be absorbed much better by the body than ordinary creatine products. Because of this, many people suggest that the ethyl ester form of creating reduces water retention, and the weight you gain will be pure muscles rather than water weight.

Is it necessary to take both bcaa and l-glutamine?

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition done by Czech scientist (DOI: 10.1177/0148607106030006467) shows that simultanious use of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA—leucine, valine, and isoleucine) and l-glutamine does not have more favorable effect on protein synthesis in muscle, liver, and small intestine than the supplements taken separetely.

As we know, l-glutamine and BCAA are used as nutrition supplements to help treat proteocatabolic illnesses. The scientists presumed that the simultanious intake of BCAA and l-glutamine affects protein metabolism more significantly than separate administration. In their study, researchers evaluated the effect of these supplements on protein synthesis in the liver, skeletal muscle, and jejunum of septic rats.  In turpentine-treated animals, a decrease in concentration of glutamine in blood plasma and skeletal muscle was observed, as well as the decline of the BCAA concentration in the liver and jejunum, and protein synthesis was decreased in all tissues. The administration of glutamine or the combination of l-glutamine and BCAA increased glutamine concentration in plasma and muscle. It also stimulated protein synthesis in the liver. After the intake of BCAA, its concentrations in plasma and tissues were enhanced, however the BCAA effect on protein synthesis was not significant. Synergistic effect of simultaneous administration of BCAA and l-glutamine on protein synthesis was not very effective. This lead to the conclusion that the administration of l-glutamine in rats with septic injury may dramatically improve impaired protein synthesis in the liver, however there is no synergistic effect of the intake of BCAA and l-glutamine on protein synthesis in the liver, skeletal muscle, and jejunum.

What's better, bcaa or amino acid blends?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Amino acid blends are an effective and useful supplement of essential amino acids for the human body. BCAAs are essential to bodybuilders because amino acids aid in repair, growth, and development of muscle tissue.

In addition, with amino acids, you can improve your energy levels so that you don’t feel fatigued after a long day workout or a long run around the neighborhood. If you have suffered from a devastating injury, supplementing with amino acid blend, especially BCAA can help improve the recovery process. You can also use amino acid blends to help regulate hormone levels, as mental disease can often be linked to an amino acid deficiency.

When we eat a protein food it begins its ingestion into individual amino acids and short chains of amino acids in our stomach, but they are too small to be absorbed into the bloodstream. These amino acids have far reaching effects in the body from building and repairing tissues, to produce chemicals that enable our brains to function optimally. This is where BCAA is better than ordinary amino blends, because BCAA is absorbed directly into the blood stream and passes through the liver, which also spares resources of this body's organ.

There are actually 8 essential amino acids, three of which are called branch chain amino acids, also called BCAA's.

Branched chain amino acids consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are important to athletes and active individuals because they are stored in very high concentrations within the muscle tissue. They are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle glycogen stores and may even help prevent muscle protein breakdown during physical exercise. Studies have shown that BCAA supplementation can increase nitrogen retention, which may minimize the loss of lean muscle tissue during dieting an intense training. Studies also show that BCAA supplementation may increase the amount of nitrogen stored within the muscle after training. This may reduce recovery time and aid in the repair and growth of muscle tissue.

Can a type 1 diabetic take bcaa supplements?

There is no direct contradiction for diabetics type 1. The best bet is to check with your healthcare provider and see what he/she has to say. Every diabetic is different and might be more responsive to one supplement over another. You should always consult your doctor, who is knowledgeable in indocrinology. Give the doctor a full picture of what you do to manage your health.

Where to buy pure bcaa powder?

During intense exercise the BCAA's are expended from muscle tissue at a rapid rate, leading to increased muscle tissue breakdown. Normally, there are no additional sweeteners or fillers in pure BCAA powder. Anything, but pure branched chain amino acids. BCAA powder, while having minimal taste does not mix well on its own. We suggest mixing the product with a shake or simply putting the powder in your mouth and washing it down.

The pure  BCAA powder is usually a 2:1:1 blend of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine respectively. It should not contain any fillers, additives or anti-caking agents. The best way to get your necessary supply of branch chain amino acids is by supplementation. Although there are many protein supplements that have a good portion of branch chain amino acids, you might be better off purchasing a standalone BCAA supplement too because most of them do not disclose the exact dosage of BCAAs in their products for proprietary reasons. 

When you chose the shop to buy pure BCAA you should check license of it to be sure you buy quality and pharmaceutical grade pure products.

What is the best place to buy bcaa amino acid bulk?

If you would like to save on cost, you should buy BCAA powder in bulk as it can be more cost effective than buying capsules. The cost of encapsulating makes BCAA caps more expensive than BCAA powder.There are different types of packing BCAA, for instance, 100, 200, 500. And  when you buy a big bulk pack, many companies and shops can give you  good discount. In this case you should be very attentive  and pay attention to the term of BCAA.


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Excellent resource on Branch aminos which give a huge lift for your intense workouts.

arizonataylor profile image

arizonataylor 6 years ago from Arizona

This is the article I was looking for. Good read. Thank you so much! I vote up!

dusy7969 profile image

dusy7969 5 years ago from San Diego, California

I always felt like BCAAs allowed me to grow without trying to cram down 300 grams of protein every day. I think that they are essential to growth. I'd suggest the powder as well.

Boku 5 years ago

What are your sources???

Ross 4 years ago

Awesome read and very informative some things I knew some I learnt very much worth while reading

joecseko profile image

joecseko 4 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

Great article. I primarily supplement 5 grams of BCAAs daily, at a 2:2:1 ratio. Studies have shown that such supplementation increases free testosterone in men, while mitigating cortisol.

I still use 250+ grams of protein per day. BCAAs won't help you retain a positive nitrogen balance, so complete proteins are still need- every 2.5 hours. Glutamine helps with nitrogen retention, but many forms of glutamine are poorly assimilated.

sandy 4 years ago

can you add the other amino acids to the branch chain would it be safe.

joecseko profile image

joecseko 4 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

Of course it's safe! Amino acids are building blocks of proteins, joined by peptide bonds. There is no evidence anywhere that combining one with another is harmful.

joecseko profile image

joecseko 4 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

"Creatine ethyl ester has been widely used for a long time. This supplement is one of the best studied dietary supplements that can be found on the market today."

This statement is not true of Kre EE. Not just that, but creatine ethyl ester is much more susceptible to creatinine degradation.

youth 2 years ago


Andra 13 months ago

would be helpful if the studies that you referenced were actually sited in this article....

joecseko profile image

joecseko 13 months ago from New York, USA, Earth

What would you like to see sourced, Andra? I have huge collection of university studies available to me. Conversely, though, some of these statements cannot be sourced, as some are either not proven, or disproven.

Oh, and there are in fact ten essential amino acids. One being essential to adolescent boys (L arginine). That leaves nine that are essential to adults

Hoochfly 11 months ago

This is a friggen horrid article. So much broscience

Dini 3 weeks ago

I started taking 5g of raw Leucine powder as recommended by my crossfit coach and it caused me insomnia..I mean really bad sleeplessness. I have always been an excellent peaceful sleeper with no problems.Can sleep in planes,in car,on sofa anywhere:) Can you explain as to why this happens. I like the benefits of taking BCAA's but now am afraid of consuming them.

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