Athletes, bodybuilders, and the generally fitness-minded among us often turn to supplements to improve the results of our workouts. For many years, protein shakes were almost universally regarded as the go-to fitness supplement, but a more advanced product – BCAAs – has come onto the scene and taken a spot among the most popular and effective supplements out there. Still, BCAAs are fairly new, and a lot of people have questions regarding how best to use them. One common question users ask is whether they can take BCAAs on an empty stomach; to find out, keep reading as the amino acid drink mix experts at aminoVITAL® tackle that very topic.
What are BCAAs?
If you’ve heard the term “BCAA” thrown around on message boards, in fitness articles, or among friends who go to the gym and wondered what it means, you’re not alone. The term is an acronym for a specific type of amino acid called a “branched-chain amino acid.” This may not mean much to you yet, but it will soon.
Amino acids are the building blocks of many of our body’s necessary materials and structures. Those who remember their high school biology class may recall amino acids come together to form the various proteins that keep our body running – repairing tissues, building new cells, regulating the body’s systems, etc. There are 20 different varieties our body uses, but nine of those must be obtained from outside sources, such as foods or supplements. Within this group of nine “essential” amino acids, there are three designated as BCAAs.
Though they get their name due to their unique shape, branched-chain amino acids are remarkable for other reasons as well. These three compounds – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – are very effective at boosting the type of muscle gains that athletes crave, which is why they have become increasingly popular among the health and fitness crowd.
Taking BCAAs on an Empty Stomach
It’s natural to wonder what effect a supplement may have when taken without food; many of us have experienced the drawbacks of drinking too much coffee or alcohol without a meal in our bellies, and amino acids can be quite potent. With this type of supplement, however, you don’t have to worry: It’s actually better to take BCAAs without food in your stomach.
When we consume solid foods, our bodies have to take time to digest it, breaking the food down into the various nutrients it contains. This process slows down your digestive system, giving your body the time it needs to do its work, but also delaying the availability of those nutrients. When you take a BCAA supplement, you want the amino acids to take effect as quickly as possible, whether you’re taking them before, during, or after your workout. However, taking your supplement with food in your system means you’ll have to wait for the digestion process to progress before you actually receive the benefits of those compounds.
And there’s another reason why taking amino acid supplements on an empty stomach is ideal: there’s less competition for absorption. As food is digested and the nutrients are released, they begin the process of being absorbed into your bloodstream for delivery throughout the body. If you take your BCAA supplement at the same time that the nutrients from your food are being processed, those amino acids will have to wait their turn before being absorbed and released – an additional delay when all you want is speed and efficiency. In short, taking your amino acid supplement will take effect much more quickly on an empty stomach, making that the ideal condition.
The Benefits of BCAA Supplements
Now that you know what BCAAs are and how to take them, you may be wondering what benefits they can offer. For the most part, the help that amino acid supplements provide is the same as that from a protein shake, only they’re a much faster and leaner way to give your muscles the fuel they need before and after a workout. Drinking a protein shake means consuming whole proteins, which then need to be broken down into their amino acid building blocks; because they contain free-form amino acids, BCAA supplements let you skip that step, so your body can absorb and use those compounds almost immediately.
The formulas used in amino acid supplements like those from aminoVITAL® are also much lighter than what you’ll find in a scoop of protein powder. Instead of the sugary mixes you’re used to, BCAA supplements provide amino acids in a form with minimal calories and sugar, and only as many carbs as your muscles need to replenish glycogen stores. Next time you’re looking for a lean, efficient, and effective amino acid pre-workout supplement to increase gains and boost energy and endurance, consider a BCAA supplement from aminoVITAL®.
Try Fast, Effective Amino Acid Supplements from aminoVITAL®
If you’re tired of all the excess sugars and calories found in protein shakes and want something lean, effective, and fast-acting, try a BCAA supplement from aminoVITAL®. Our products, such as our pre-workout and post-workout recovery drink, are made with only those ingredients your body needs to improve performance on the field or at the gym – amino acids, electrolytes, and minimal carbs and calories. If you’d like to find out more about BCAAs, amino acid supplements, or the variety of products offered by aminoVITAL®, visit us online or call (888) 264-6673 today.