What are BCAAs?
Branched chain amino acids refer to three amino acids including leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs help protect your muscles against the catabolic effects of dieting which comes in handy for many bodybuilders who compete and take their physiques to leaner proportions. The leaner a body gets the harder it tries to hold onto fat stores, thus turning to muscle for energy and make it harder for you to preserve lean muscle mass.
Can BCAAs decrease unwanted muscle breakdown?
When building muscle, anabolism is good and catabolism isn't. Unlike most aminos that are metabolized in the liver, BCAAs are metabolized primarily in the skeletal muscle, so your body can break them down quickly for fuel. In short, BCAA’s are readily utilized by the body, and necessary for building and repairing muscle. They can also be beneficial for someone looking to lose weight, without sacrificing hard-earned muscle. Restricting calories can put your body in a catabolic state, where it begins to breakdown lean muscle as a source of energy, instead of fat stores. Supplementing with BCAAs can help reduce this unwanted muscle breakdown.
If you can get BCAAs from a protein powder, why supplement with a formula like Best BCAA™?
The answer is in the speed at which your body is able to utilize those specific aminos. Protein is made up of amino acids bonded together with peptides to form long chains. Imagine peptides being the glue the holds them all together. In order for you to utilize those individual amino acids, your body first has to break apart those bonds. So, although you’re getting your BCAAs in your protein, those aminos aren’t as readily available for fuel as they would be in a standalone BCAA supplement like Best BCAA™?
Which wins the battle for muscle-building supplement, BCAAs or protein?
The answer is both, but in different ways. The co-founder, James Grage, of BPI Sports includes both Best BCAA™ and ISO HD™ in his daily nutrition and supplement regimen. Since peptides are better absorbed and utilized than free from amino acids, James Grage uses the peptide-linked BCAA supplement. With the same reasoning, he uses a protein powder with a high amount of whey hydrolysates. Whey hydrolysate has gone through an extra process to help break apart some of the amino bonds, making smaller peptide chains, which helps increase the ease and speed of digestion. James takes his BCAA supplement right before his workout, and a whey hydrolysate rich protein powder right after (post-workout). It’s the best of both worlds for a complete approach to building lean muscle.