What Are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's)?
You may know that there are 21 amino acids, all of which act as the building blocks of proteins needed for organs, tissues, and cells. Of these; 9 are essential as the body is unable to self-produce them, yet they are critical for survival. However, all of them help the body to build and maintain muscles, contribute to metabolism regulation, repair any muscular damage, assist recovery and regulate immune functioning, etc.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids comprise of 3 specific essential amino acids that aid glycogen storage, maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle protein breakdown:

- Leucine
- Isoleucine
- Valine

BCAA’s are part of the essential list, they need to be supplied via your diet from any complete protein. Complete protein food substances include animal-sourced foods like dairy, poultry, fish, meat, eggs, etc. Plant-based protein sources encompass chickpeas, whole grains, lentils, etc. For those opting for a BCAA supplement, it is usually recommended to consume it either whilst working out or immediately after it.

Breaking down BCAA’s:

- A unique trait, amongst many others, is that BCAA’s can be oxidized in muscles to generate energy/fuel.

- Of these, leucine stands out as the most important in the amino acid trio. It decreases during physical activities and must be replenished to stimulate continuous protein synthesis, inhibition of muscle catabolism (breakdown) and the building of muscles.

- A well-rounded diet and healthy regime require the full spectrum of essential amino acids to build and maintain muscles. A high protein diet from natural, whole foods is recommended before looking into supplements.

- BCAA’s are able to combat fatigue by influencing the rate at which individuals get exhausted whilst participating in physical exertions. Depending on the duration of exercise, the intensity, and one’s fitness, BCAA’s can help to restore tryptophan levels in the brain. Tryptophan changes levels of serotonin and stimulates exhaustion.

- BCAA’s and leucine, in particular, can help personal weight-loss journeys. Supplementing leucine when paired with glutamine has helped obese people on hypo-caloric diets by normalizing visceral fat, and reducing excess fat, both of which are hallmarks for metabolic problems.

- BCAA consumption can decrease muscle soreness and also enhance energy metabolism and endurance levels. It lessens lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase that are involved in muscle damage.


Ensuring your body gets the appropriate amount of BCAA’s, can lead to numerous gains including:

- Reducing muscle soreness due to reduced muscle damage.
- Prevent muscle breakdown during exercise.
- A decrease in fatigue as BCAA’s substitute depleted glycogen stores.
- Prevent muscle waste.
- Stimulate optimum muscle building and growth through protein synthesis.
- Increasing the time it takes to get exhausted.
- Boosting power output.
- Weight loss.
- Decreased lactate production.

Whether you exercise regularly, participate in HIIT sessions or want speedy recovery, BCAA can be consumed to provide countless benefits. BCAA powder can be mixed either with sports isolate drink or water to bombard muscles with amino acid rejuvenation quickly. On the other hand, BCAA capsules are very convenient and can be taken both before and after training.