Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are considered by many as a great health supplemental option. Especially, in those who exercise. It works both ways- aids in fat burning as well as helps provide the necessary fuel to muscles for the necessary repair and recovery process.
What are the benefits and some of the best sources of BCAA?
BCAA are a group of three essential amino acids- Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine which. Essential amino acids mean the body cannot produce these on its own, and since they are necessary for the basic wear and tear of the muscle fibers the diet should include food sources that provide these BCAAs.
The rationale behind using BCAA:
Several studies have constantly maintained that BCAA levels in plasma drop during exercise as it is used up by the working muscles. Supplementation of BCAA in during exercise is necessary to increase protein synthesis, reduce the breakdown of muscle fibres and maintain the muscle pH levels. Through preventing catabolism, BCAAs play a role in increasing muscle mass in those building muscles.
In people who are obese or overweight, they may often change their eating practices in order to lose weight. During this approach, it is possible that with the change in caloric consumption, the body undergoes fat loss and simultaneously loses muscle mass to some extent. This muscle mass breakdown can be detrimental to health in the long run, and that is what BCAA supplementation prevents.
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While the widely used dosage for leucine is approximately 3-3.5 gm. per kg body weight/ day, it is 1-1.5 gm. per kg body weight/day for isoleucine and valine, each. In total, 5.5-6 gm. of BCAA would be the best suited amount to consume during or after training.
Here are 3 best sources of BCAA that you can opt for:
- Meat and meat products: Fish, lean meat cuts, eggs, chicken breast are some of the high biological value protein that will give you a complete amino acid profile, i.e., all the essential, non-essential amino acids.
- Plant sources: Peanuts, Soya, lima beans, lentils, brown rice, whole wheat and nuts are good sources of BCAA. Beans have the most protein and can be considered the better choice for BCAA.
- Whey protein: Whey being a high biological value protein has the highest amount of leucine, isoleucine and valine content. While whey protein does contain complete amino acid profile, in exercising individuals it is suggested to take an additional dose of 5.5-6 gm. of BCAA to support muscle protein synthesis efficiently.
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