Pushing yourself at the gym can lead to some excellent returns, both in the short and long term, but an unfortunate side effect of intense physical activity is soreness that can make it more difficult to go out and push yourself again a day or two later. As a result, people tend to look for ways to reduce the level of soreness they experience, and there are a number of different products that claim to have that very effect. Of course, just because a product is advertised to help with muscle soreness doesn’t mean that it will, but there are a few options with a sound scientific basis for their claims; one such option is a BCAA supplement. So, do BCAAs help with muscle soreness? To find out, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL® explain.
How BCAAs Help Limit Muscle Soreness After Exercise
When someone starts a workout – whether it’s in the form of resistance exercise, cardio exercise, or anything else – their body fuels their efforts with glycogen, a type of glucose that is stored in the muscles and used as fast energy when needed. However, this reservoir of fuel has a very limited capacity, and once it runs out, the body needs to find some other way to power itself as you work out; one way it does so is through the process of catabolism, which involves breaking down muscle tissue for use as fuel. Unsurprisingly, this breakdown leaves the muscles damaged, as does the physical force you exert on them when working out. The combination of these two factors is believed to be the cause of delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.
While they can’t entirely prevent the harm done to muscles during exercise, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) seem to have the ability to limit the damage that causes muscle soreness – according to a number of studies, at least. One such study1 published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that muscle damage for participants was “suppressed by BCAA supplementation;” the authors of a second study2 – this one published in Nutrients, another peer-reviewed journal – concluded that, after examining the findings of 11 other studies, BCAAs can be effective “on outcomes of exercise-induced muscle damage” and were especially potent when taken right before exercise.
In addition to the power of BCAAs to limit muscle soreness, another amino acid, glutamine, has demonstrated a similar effect. In another study3 from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, researchers found that supplementing with glutamine not only led to “diminished muscle soreness” but also helped participants return to peak strength more quickly. Because they contain the three BCAAs as well as glutamine, the amino acid supplements provided by aminoVITAL® are especially effective at helping with muscle soreness, and they can provide a number of other fitness-related benefits as well.
How Much BCAAs Do I Need to Help with Muscle Soreness?
When it comes to figuring out the amount of BCAAs you need to take to help with muscle soreness, the answer in your specific case will depend on a few factors. Many people get all the BCAAs they need from the foods they eat, but if you’re experiencing muscle soreness, it probably means that you work out pretty intensely or frequently, in which case you’ll likely need more BCAAs from supplements like aminoVITAL®’s Action mid-workout mix.
The exact amount of BCAAs you should take to help with muscle soreness can vary based on your size, diet, and level of activity, but most active individuals can benefit from amounts of up to 20 grams per day – more, in some cases. Of course, much of your daily dose of BCAAs should come from a protein-rich diet, but using a BCAA supplement along with a balanced diet and exercise routine can help ensure that you’re getting enough of these amino acids to counteract muscle soreness after working out.
When to Take BCAA Supplements for Muscle Soreness
As mentioned above, studies2 have shown that BCAAs are most effective for helping with muscle soreness when taken immediately before your workout, generally within half an hour of starting. This makes sense when you think about how BCAAs address this problem: By ensuring that you have plenty of these amino acids in your system going into a workout, you can give your body the resources to head off muscle damage before it starts.
Along with the soreness-fighting benefits of BCAAs, taking one of these supplements can help you feel energized as well. In fact, the energy provided by pre- or mid-workout BCAA supplements is another reason why they’re so effective at helping with muscle soreness; because they can be used as fuel when your glycogen stores run out, BCAAs give your body the means to stay energized without having to break down muscle tissue. In effect, this preserves existing muscle mass, fights muscle soreness, and helps you stay pumped up during even the hardest workouts – three benefits that any fitness fanatic will appreciate.
Fight Muscle Soreness with Fast-Acting BCAAs Available from aminoVITAL®
Just because you added an extra set to your routine or did an extra lap around the track doesn’t mean you have to suffer through intense muscle soreness later on. With the help of a BCAA supplement from aminoVITAL®, you can reduce the pain of working out while boosting its effects, improving your performance at the gym or on the field. To learn more about how BCAAs can help you reach your fitness goals, visit the aminoVITAL® website today, or give us a call at (888) 264-6673.