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  • Zak Lanzas

The best Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's)

What are the best Branch Chain Amino Acids? Well firstly what are Branch Chain Amino Acids and what are the benefits of taking this for of supplement? Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's)are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which are all essential amino acids not produced by the body but needed for survival. BCAAs are the largest collection of amino acids in the body, accounting for up to 35% of muscle proteins. BCAA's have become one of the “must have” bodybuilding supplements – why? COZITWORKS and there is a ton of research to back up the effectiveness of Branch Chain Amino Acids together with testimonies from a host of world class bodybuilders. These are not the standard “sponsored” testimonies that you see in magazines, where the bodybuilder is paid to endorse a product, even if they don't typically use the products themselves. BCAA's are widely used and are probably only second to the protein shake in terms of most popular bodybuilding supplements that work. But are they “better” than a protein shake? BETTER THAN A PROTEIN SHAKE

Taking BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in greater decrease in body fat, an increase in lean mass and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat versus ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink. (Jim Stoppani, et al., Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2009.) After exercise, recovery of muscle protein synthesis requires dietary protein or BCAA's to increase tissue levels of leucine in order to release the inhibition of the initiation factor 4 complex through the activation of the protein kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Leucine’s effect on mTOR is synergistic with insulin via the phosphoinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway. Together, insulin and leucine allow skeletal muscle to coordinate protein synthesis with physiological state and dietary intake. (Layne Norton and Donald Layman, Journal of Nutrition, 2006.) Studies indicate that meals supplemented with leucine can both acutely and over a longer period of time beneficially affect muscle protein anabolism.* In elderly adults, even small amounts of ingested leucine can help support muscle protein retention.* The anabolic effect of extra leucine on muscle protein was observed in the elderly and the response of muscle protein synthesis following ingestion of small amounts of amino acids was greatly enhanced by additional leucine supplementation.* (Christos Katsanos, et al., American Journal of Physiological and Endocrinological Metabolism, 2006.) IMPROVE RECOVERY AND REDUCE SORENESS

Exercise may increase BCAA requirement, and BCAA supplementation before exercise attenuates the breakdown of muscle proteins during exercise. Leucine strongly promotes protein synthesis in skeletal muscle, suggesting that a BCAA supplement may attenuate muscle damage induced by exercise and promote recovery from the damage. BCAA's are also helpful for muscle recovery following intense exercise, as BCAA supplementation before training decreased delayed-onset muscle soreness after squatting exercise. (Yoshiharu Shimomura, et al., Journal of Nutrition, 2006.)


Supplementation with BCAA's was surmised to increase the lactate threshold before exhaustion in high-intensity exercise on a cycle ergometer. Subjects using BCAA's had noticeably higher plasma BCAA concentrations than the non-supplemented group, in addition to higher respiratory exchange ratio and both VO2 max and VO2 workload levels. These results suggest that BCAA supplementation may be effective to increase endurance exercise capacity. (Keitaro Matsumoto, et al., Journal of Nutritional Science Vitaminol, 2009.) Exercise is known to deplete serum BCAA levels via oxidation. BCAA supplementation before and after intense exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle protein synthesis. This suggests that BCAA's are a useful supplement in relation to exercise and sports. (Yoshiharu Shimomura, et al., Journal of Nutrition, 2004.) Of course what this leads to is what is the best BCAA supplement? BCAA's come in powder, tablet and capsule form. They are come in a variety of ratios Leucine:Isoleucine:Valine 2:1:1, 4:1:1 and 8:1:1 being the 3 most popular. In terms of anecdotal evidence from people who are serious natural bodybuilders/athletes the preferred choice is 8:1:1 and the highest quality capsuled version of this is 247BODYBUILDER

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