There are any number of reason why a woman may want to get more fit, including to promote a healthy lifestyle or prepare for a physical competition, but the effort can be both taxing and time-consuming. In today’s busy world, this means that most women want to get as much as they can out of the time they spend exercising, which is where fitness supplements come in. While a person doesn’t need supplements to improve their health, using even just one of these products can greatly enhance the results of your workouts, so long as you choose wisely. As one of the most popular types of supplements on the market, BCAAs may seem like a promising option, and rightly so, but is there anything you should know when choosing BCAAs for women? To find out, keep reading as the team at aminoVITAL®, makers of BCAA supplements, provides some answers.
Why Do Women Need BCAAs?
While it has been argued that men and women feature certain biological discrepancies, the need for amino acids is not one of them. In total, women’s bodies need 21 basic amino acids – called the proteinogenic amino acids – which comprise two groups: the nine essential amino acids, which are histidine, threonine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, phenylalanine, leucine, methionine, and tryptophan, and the 12 nonessential amino acids, which are aspartic acid, arginine, glutamine, glutamic acid, proline, tyrosine, serine, selenocysteine, asparagine, alanine, glycine, and cysteine. The first group, those deemed essential, can’t be made within the body and so have to be gained by consuming certain foods, drinks, or supplements, especially those that are high in protein.
Within these nine compounds essential to women’s health are three that share a unique molecular shape, one with a branch sticking off to one side; these are the branched-chain amino acids – more commonly known as BCAAs. While these amino acids are set apart by their shape (from a purely scientific standpoint, at least), they also boast some impressive abilities when it comes to supporting a woman’s athletic performance. This is the primary reason women use BCAA supplements: Since the basic BCAA-related needs of the body are typically met through a balanced diet, supplements are used to add to that basic amount and meet the increased needs of an active lifestyle.
What to Look for When Choosing BCAA Supplements for Women
Now that we’ve established the general purpose of BCAAs for women, let’s talk about how to choose the right supplement to fit your needs. As with many types of supplements, those based on BCAAs come in a wide variety, from those centered around one particular amino acid to those that strive to balance the three. When browsing your options, one of the first things you should look for when choosing BCAAs for women is a high proportion of leucine, the most powerful of the group.
Leucine is the BCAA that’s primarily responsible for helping a woman’s body build bigger muscles, which happens through the process of muscle protein synthesis, or MPS. When you down a BCAA mixture that’s high in leucine during exercise or as part of a post-workout supplement, you’re stimulating MPS1 at a crucial point in your recovery, encouraging the body to create more muscle tissue than it otherwise would have. In addition, the body can create some beneficial compounds as a result of leucine ingestion, substances called metabolites. One such compound, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), has been shown to help reduce the damage done to muscles1 as a result of exercise, which helps women preserve their existing muscle mass and limiting the degree of recovery required post-workout. As a result, leucine is generally considered the most important part of a BCAA supplement, so aim for a product that offers this amino acid at a ratio of about 2:1:1.
Isoleucine and Valine
While there’s no doubt that leucine is critical to the effectiveness of BCAA supplements for women, the other two amino acids in the group – isoleucine and valine – offer some very important benefits as well, ones that not only help athletes on their own but that also enhance those provided by leucine. Isoleucine, for instance, provides some of the same muscle-building benefits as leucine, but at a much lower level; however, it also provides unique advantages, such as an ability to promote the flow of glucose (the body’s favorite form of energy) to the muscles in a mid-workout supplement, and it’s also believed that isoleucine can help promote a swift recovery after a tough workout.
The third of the BCAAs, valine, serves a number of different purposes in the body, but one in particular stands out as a useful boon to fitness-focused women: the ability to guard the muscles against being broken down, similar to the benefit provided by HMB. Unlike that metabolite, however, valine (along with the other two BCAAs) can serve as an additional source of fuel during intense physical activity, and all three BCAAs play a role in preventing central nervous system fatigue during workouts by limiting the flow of tryptophan into the brain. In short, when choosing BCAAs for women, look for a product that can deliver on every front, not just one or two.
Try Lean, Powerful BCAA Supplements for Women from aminoVITAL®
With so many different options out there, it’s easy to see why some legwork is needed when choosing BCAAs for women. At aminoVITAL®, we strive to create supplements for women that are low in calories to help build lean muscle mass – our Action intra-workout mix has only 15 calories, for instance – to further our customers’ fitness goals while still providing an array of advantages during exercise. To learn more about the benefits of aminoVITAL® BCAA supplements, visit us online or call (888) 264-6673 today.