Are BCAAs a Waste of Money?
The protein shake once reigned as the king of fitness supplements, but no longer; today, amino acids are converting those who used to swear by protein into believers in the AA way. Still, as more and more people take advantage of amino acid supplements and the benefits they bring, these products have naturally come under some scrutiny. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask whether a fitness supplement is worth the money, especially given the number of ineffective and downright dishonest brands out there. One of the many good things about amino acids, however, is that they are backed by sound science and the aminoVITAL® dedication to the highest standards of quality. To learn about the value of BCAAs and other amino acid supplements for yourself, keep reading as the people from aminoVITAL® explain.
What Do BCAAs Have to Do with Fitness?
For those unfamiliar with the terminology, the phrase “BCAA” refers to a specific kind of amino acid called a “branched-chain” amino acid – a name that comes from their unique chemical structure. These compounds are notable not only for their shape, however, but also for their effects on the body: They boost gains, improve recovery times, limit soreness, and provide energy during even the toughest workouts.
The amino acids classified as BCAAs are examples of the so-called “essential” amino acids, meaning that they must be obtained through food or supplementation because they cannot be produced by the body. Other essential amino acids offer some fitness-related benefits as well – most notably arginine and glutamine – but BCAAs are the unchallenged rulers among fitness supplements.
Each of the three BCAAs plays its own unique role in achieving these benefits. Below, you’ll find more information about these essential compounds and the ways they can improve your fitness outcomes.
Arguably the most important of the three BCAAs, leucine is the amino acid responsible for triggering the creation of new skeletal muscle. It does this by activating the mTOR signaling pathway in muscle and fat tissue, kicking off the process by which our muscles get bigger. This makes leucine an indispensable part of any weightlifting or bodybuilding routine.
The least specialized of the three, valine’s effects are less well-studied than those of its brethren. That said, valine has been linked to a number of important functions in the body, including the protection of muscle tissue from excessive damage during exercise, facilitation of the flow of glucose (the body’s main form of energy) to the muscles, and regulation of the immune system.
Like leucine, isoleucine has some ability to improve muscle growth, though that’s not where it really shines. This amino acid is important for helping the muscles stay energized during periods of intense activity because it promotes glucose uptake in the muscles, plus it helps protect those tissues from breaking down. And as if that wasn’t enough, isoleucine also improves recovery times when taken as part of a post-workout supplement.
Amino Acids vs. Protein Shakes
For those still skeptical about amino acid supplements, there’s another thing you should know: amino acids are the main component in protein. In other words, those protein shakes you’ve been using are essentially a less efficient form of amino acid supplement.
When you consume whole proteins, your body must convert those molecules into a useable form, which means breaking the bonds between the amino acids that make up those proteins. This takes time, delaying the effects of the supplement for as much as 90 minutes. For a time-sensitive post-workout supplement, that delay can make a big difference; it’s well-known that the ideal window for replenishing your muscles after a workout is within half an hour or so of finishing your exercise.
When taking an amino acid supplement, however, your body is supplied with free-form amino acids that require almost no digestion before they’re put to use. This is part of why amino acids are becoming such a popular product: they offer many of the same benefits as traditional protein supplements with the added advantage of taking effect much more quickly. Plus, amino acids have one other point of superiority: they’re better for you.
Most of the popular protein-based supplements out there – whether in the form of a powder or pre-mixed shake – contain significant amounts of calories and sugar. While this may be helpful for those looking to add lots of mass to their frame, most people prefer to generate lean muscle instead; for that purpose, amino acids are much better. Not only are these compounds fast-acting, but they also lack the excess carbs and calories that can undermine your overall weight and diet goals. These two advantages – plus all the positive effects BCAAs have on the body, particularly the muscles – make amino acid supplements the superior fitness product.
High-Quality Amino Acids Available from aminoVITAL®
Finding the fitness supplement that will most effectively help you craft your perfect self isn’t always easy. So many of us have been relying on protein-based products for so long that it can be hard to imagine anything else serving that role, but you should give amino acids a chance; they’re lighter, faster, and more efficient – all things you probably strive for when exercising. To learn more about amino acid pre-workout supplements from aminoVITAL® and how they can help you, visit us online or call (888) 264-6673 today.