Optimize endurance and intensity during workouts**
What are BCAAs?
Consisting of isoleucine, leucine and valine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are nutrients that the body needs but can't produce on its own, requiring a dietary or supplemental source. Foods that are rich in BCAAs include meat, dairy and soy products, as well as poultry and eggs. Leucine, which was discovered in the early 19th century, is widely considered to be the most prominent of the branched chain amino acids, but the three work together to offer a number of health-supporting qualities. Branched chain amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and are perhaps most famous for their important role in muscle growth, maintenance and repair.**
Branched chain amino acids have become increasingly popular with athletes, particularly those involved in weight training, due to their ability to modulate the metabolism of muscle protein. In fact, science has shown that BCAAs make up approximately one-third of the protein found in muscle. Studies have indicated that BCAAs are rapidly absorbed into muscle tissues. Here, BCAAs may encourage muscle growth and assist in exercise performance, while also aiding in muscle recovery after extended bouts of strenuous activity. Branched chain amino acids are believed to play a role in muscle tissue repair as well as in the creation of new muscle tissues.**
Branched chain amino acids also help to maintain optimal energy metabolism, due largely to their ability to trigger enzymes after exercise that facilitate protein synthesis. Research has suggested that BCAAs may hold even more sports nutrition benefits. Of interest to bodybuilders everywhere, BCAAs are believed to optimize the intensity and duration of workouts by influencing certain fatigue and relaxation neurotransmitters in the body.**
BCAA supplements are available in capsule, tablet and powder form. As supplements, BCAAs are often accompanied by vitamin B-6 to encourage their bioavailability, and are sometimes presented as part of a whey protein powder formula.**
BCAA Directions for Use
Consult with your health professional prior to taking branched-chain amino acids or starting any routine supplementation. Although there is no standard BCAA dosage, supplements are often available in the range of 1,000 mg to 4,500 mg per serving.**