Pretty much anyone who has an interest in exercise or fitness has tried some form of supplement in their life. For most people, that means a protein supplement, either in the form of a powder or shake and typically containing whey. For decades, protein-based products have been the go-to source of fitness supplementation, and today, much of that market dominance is still intact. However, a relatively new type of product has started gaining popularity among those who once used protein – a product that is lean, fast-acting, and arguably superior to protein-based products: amino acid supplements made with BCAAs. Still, there are many people who are unfamiliar with BCAAs and their role in supporting athletic performance, so it’s perfectly reasonable to ask, “Are BCAAs ‘worth it’?” To find out, keep reading as the team at aminoVITAL® provides some answers.
The Benefits of BCAA Supplements
Of the 20 amino acids our bodies need to survive, nine are essential, meaning that they must come from outside sources, and 11 are nonessential, meaning that they are produced internally. The BCAAs belong to the first group; for those who don’t know the term, “BCAA” is an acronym for “branched-chain amino acid,” a classification that encompasses three specific essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
The three BCAAs have garnered a lot of attention from scientists, researchers, and fitness junkies in recent years, thanks to advancements in our understanding of amino acids. These compounds provide a variety of benefits:
Leucine may be the most important BCAA, thanks to its unique role in those who exercise. This amino acid is responsible for triggering the synthesis of new muscle tissue, a necessary process for those who want to increase muscle mass and improve their gains. Its metabolites – the substances created when the body processes leucine – are quite useful as well; one particular metabolite, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), has been shown1 to decrease muscle damage brought on by exercise.
The second of the BCAAs, isoleucine, has a function almost as critical as that performed by leucine: This amino acid promotes the movement of glucose (the body’s main form of fuel) to the muscles and helps the cells there convert it into energy2. This helps users push themselves harder for longer during exercise, improving performance, and isoleucine can even streamline the post-workout recovery process, so you’ll be ready for your next routine in no time.
The third of the BCAAs is valine, an amino acid that plays many roles in the body. For those who exercise, the primary benefit of supplementing with valine is that this amino acid works to protect the muscles from damage caused by intense exertion. This not only helps preserve existing muscle mass, but it also reduces the amount of healing that must be done between workouts. Valine also helps regulate key systems in the body, including the immune and central nervous systems, and is involved in the production of energy.
Are BCAAs Better Than Protein?
Because most common protein supplements use “complete” proteins – meaning that they contain all nine essential amino acids, including the BCAAs – most of the benefits listed above can be gained through traditional protein-based products. However, BCAA supplements offer some significant advantages over protein shakes and powders; learn more below.
BCAA Supplements Are Low in Calories
Most amino acid-based products, including the BCAA supplements provided by aminoVITAL®, contain far fewer calories and grams of sugar than many popular protein supplements. A single scoop of protein powder typically has well over 100 calories, while an intra-workout energy supplement product like the Action drink mix from aminoVITAL® has only 15 calories (and no sugar to speak of).
BCAAs Take Effect Much More Quickly
When you down a protein shake, you probably won’t experience any effects for more than an hour. That’s because the whole proteins found in conventional protein-based supplements require significant time to digest, as the amino acids in proteins are joined by peptide bonds that must be broken before those amino acids can be absorbed into the bloodstream and used by the muscles. By comparison, BCAA supplements kick in much more quickly due to the fact that free-form amino acids take far less time to be absorbed. The result is that amino acid-based supplements may take effect up to three times faster than whey.
Are BCAAs Worth the Money?
In truth, the answer to this question will depend on the person, but because BCAAs make for such effective, efficient supplements, those dedicated to building lean muscle would probably say that yes, BCAAs are worth the money.
Not only do the amino acids found in these supplements provide most of the benefits you’re used to (assuming you’ve used protein in the past), but they do so much more quickly and without adding excessive sugars and calories that could ultimately undermine your weight and fitness goals. Still, it’s up to each prospective user to decide what achieving those goals is worth and whether BCAAs are the solution they’re looking for.
Fast, Effective BCAA Supplements Available Today from aminoVITAL®
Whether you’re new to the fitness scene or a veteran of your local gym, BCAA supplements have something to offer you. If you’re on the fence about whether these supplements are the right fit for you, go to the aminoVITAL® website today to read about these potent products, including how they can improve performance and increase gains. To learn more about BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL®, visit us online or call (888) 264-6673.