As a nutritionist that most of you have spoken with, (or wish to, can reach us at the contact details shared at the end of the article!) I have seen a significant up rise in the queries with regard to BCAAs. It is not uncommon to see a trend to set in and it becomes difficult for you as a user to differentiate between anything that is all rage and what is right.
This is exactly what this article is going to be all about- where we will together address all your fears, tackle all the myths and get over whimsical surmises and aim for a better education regarding BCAAs.
To begin with, what exactly are BCAAs?
Branched chain amino acids or BCAAs as we all know them, are the three main amino acids that play a major role in your body’s daily function and have a huge impact on your workout performance too. The three amino acids classified as BCAAs are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. You can consider them your own three fairy godmothers because these are seriously essential. This means, these 3 aminos cannot be synthesized by the body and that is why we need to take it through external means of proteins like meats, legumes, nuts, etc. However, certain protein sources (Read: Milk/ dairy) provide the most ideal and better BCAA content. BCAAs are the essentials that our body HAS to get either through diet or supplements- they could be formlated as a part of your bodybilding supplements or whey protein powder or simply available in an isolated form- for their touted role in muscle repair, recovery, maintenance and growth.
Are BCAAs more of men-only thing?
Absolutely not! For one, even for those who are not working out, like mentioned earlier, BCAAs are essential protein needed for our body to function optimally and they need to be a part of our diets-regardless of our gender. Secondly, the goal for many women is to own a toned-up look with well- toned muscles, burn off the excess fat and build strength. Though you will be able to see yourself transform very well from a fat cushioned cocoon to a gorgeous butterfly, it is only sensible to achieve that through better food choices, BCAAs along with a good, consistent workout. Now ask yourselves, why should only men have all the fun and look good too? Get over that fear of “protein’ like it is cancer, and go get yourselves some well-deserved healthy forms and BCAAs too.
Suggested Read: Everything That Women Need To Know About Protein
Is the difference of half or a single gram of BCAAs that great a deal to lose your hair over?
Why do you want to lose hair at all? To see maximum benefits of BCAAs in your post/ pre workout routine, go for the widely accepted ratio for the branched chain amino acid arrangement, which is 2:1:1 as compared to certain ratios that go as high as 8 or even 10:1:1 (leucine to isoleucine and valine). Before you stress over how many gram per serving your essentials are placed at, it is more important that your BCAA ratio is given more focus. The most important time to be taking BCAAs is around your workouts as it enhances your overall muscle protein synthesis (with leucine in the lead). Yet another reason why 2:1:1 ratio you should be sticking to is, that it increases your fat burning efficiency, where Isoleucine plays an important part in adding the fat burning effects to the BCAA composition. As per research, any ratio that goes higher than 2:1:1 has been shown to have a more energy-draining effect on you rather than energy boosting, and works less efficiently for fat loss and even muscle growth. Bottom line: aim for a formulation that can give 3.5 gm. of leucine to 1.5 gm. of Isoleucine and 1.5 gm. of Valine each.
How can you save yourself from amino acid deficiency?
Many of those who are on a restricted diet whether it is allergies to certain foods or opting to be a vegetarian-do run the risk of not having their essential amino acids in place, so that is where supplementing with BCAA helps. Always try to be food-smart when making choices- unless under certain circumstances- avoid limiting protein rich foods like dairy, eggs, lean meats as overlooking this can bear consequences on your diet as well as health over the long run.
In what other way is BCAA consumption relevant?
The other important work that BCAA does is immune support. Everytime you workout and with varying workouts, there is going to be a varying degree of stress inflicted upon the body. Unless the body is well abled to tolerate this stress, you are definitely going to see problems with regard to developing muscles, recovery and even an increased incidence of illness!
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