Are Amino Acid BCAA Supplements Good for Triathletes?
- by amino VITAL
Competing in a triathlon is never easy, but many athletes have found that adding certain supplements to their training regimen can make the training process easier and better prepare them for future competitions. This may come as no surprise, since many fitness supplements, especially those based on protein, have been around for some time, and they’re used by everyone from casual gym-goers to the top athletes in the world. However, a newer, more advanced type of supplement has emerged as a way to give your body the stuff it needs to power through those long swims, runs, and bike rides as you make your way to the finish line of your next triathlon: amino acid supplements. If you’ve heard of these before, great; if not, don’t worry, because the people at aminoVITAL® will address whether amino acid BCAA supplements are good for triathletes below.
Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements for Triathletes
Amino acids have been around for as long as life has existed on Earth, though not in supplement form, of course. Today, our bodies need 20 different amino acids, called the proteinogenic amino acids, to function properly; 11 of these compounds can be made inside our bodies, while nine have to come from outside sources like foods and supplements. These nine amino acids are known as the “essential” amino acids.
Within these essential amino acids are three that have a unique shape and an outsize role in supporting athletic performance; these are the “branched-chain” amino acids, also called the BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These compounds have become a well-regarded source of support for many different kinds of athletes, including triathletes; their benefits are described below.
The first of the BCAAs, leucine, is maybe the most important of the three. This compound is used in many types of amino acid supplements because it plays a crucial role in supporting effective exercise – namely, it’s the amino acid responsible for telling your body to start producing new muscle tissue. This process is essential to building strength and improving gains brought about through training and exercise, so it’s a natural part of any effective fitness supplement.
The metabolites of leucine – the compounds produced when the body processes leucine – are helpful as well, further enhancing the usefulness of this amino acid. One metabolite in particular, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), has been shown1 to prevent the breakdown of muscle proteins, which only adds to leucine’s effectiveness as part of a BCAA supplement for post-workout recovery.
The second BCAA, isoleucine, is somewhat different from its similar-sounding friend leucine. While leucine aims to improve strength and muscle mass, isoleucine tries to put those muscles to the best possible use; it does this by promoting the flow of energy (in the form of glucose, the body’s main source of fuel) into the cells of the muscles, and it also helps those cells use glucose quickly and effectively. This makes isoleucine a great compound for boosting endurance; it helps you stay energized during long periods of exercise – such as in the middle of a triathlon – and can even streamline the recovery process, so you’ll be ready to exercise again even sooner.
The last of the three BCAAs, valine, plays a number of roles in the body, from helping to regulate the immune system and central nervous system to providing more energy during periods of exertion. The main benefit of this amino acid for triathletes is the way it can protect muscle fibers against excessive damage during exercise; this not only helps preserve muscle mass and guard those hard-won gains, but it also reduces the amount of healing required after exercise, which can speed up that process as well.
Other Advantages of BCAAs for Triathletes
BCAA supplements have even more to offer than just the effects of each individual amino acid they contain. These supplements boast a few extra advantages over traditional, protein-based products, some of which will be described below:
When you drink a protein shake or some other form of protein-based supplement, your body has to break those proteins down before it can get at what’s inside them: the amino acids that support muscle functions. That’s because these compounds are joined in proteins by peptide bonds that must be broken; however, amino acid supplements don’t have this requirement. When you take a BCAA supplement like those from aminoVITAL®, the free-form amino acids they contain require very little digestion because they’re not joined by bonds, so they can be absorbed much faster – up to three times faster, in fact – than whey protein.
Normally, BCAAs in the bloodstream limit the amount of tryptophan – another amino acid – that enters the brain because these compounds compete to cross the blood-brain barrier. When you work out, whether in a triathlon or otherwise, those BCAAs are sucked into the muscles to support their functions, allowing more tryptophan to enter the brain, where it is turned into serotonin – a neurotransmitter linked to fatigue. By supplementing with BCAAs, you can restore the balance of amino acids in your blood and fight the development of fatigue, an important benefit for triathletes.
Lean, Efficient Amino Acid Supplements with BCAAs for Triathletes
Whether you’re currently focused on running, swimming, or biking, BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® have a lot to offer any triathlete. These products are faster, lighter, and more beneficial than conventional protein-based supplements, which makes them a superior option for triathletes around the world. To learn more about these supplements, including how they can benefit your training regimen, visit aminoVITAL® online or call (888) 264-6673 today.