Do Runners Need BCAAs?
Maintaining an active lifestyle brings a whole host of benefits for people, whether you’re a casual runner or the most dedicated bodybuilder. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of chronic disease, boost energy and mood, improve skin, and even help you sleep better, but these advantages sometimes come at a price, especially if your exercise routine is particularly strenuous. When you go for a long run or lift lots of weight at the gym, your muscles experience wear and tear – a normal part of exercise, but one that must be addressed nonetheless. Many runners and other athletes use fitness supplements to support damaged muscles, including the ubiquitous protein supplements found in stores everywhere. A new type of supplement has been gaining traction, though – one with the potential to supplant conventional protein-based products as the top fitness supplement around: BCAAs. So, what’s in these amino acid supplements, and do runners need BCAAs? To find out, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
What’s in a BCAA Supplement?
Because they’re relatively new on the scene, there are many runners who are still unfamiliar with BCAA supplements, so let’s start with the basics before moving on to specific benefits.
The term “BCAA” is an acronym that refers to branched-chain amino acids, a classification of amino acid that includes three particular compounds: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. All three of the BCAAs are examples of “essential” amino acids, meaning that they can’t be produced by the body and must be obtained through outside sources like foods and supplements.
Those who don’t often exercise probably get all the BCAAs they need from their diet, but anyone who lives an active lifestyle – such as runners – may require greater amounts of these compounds. Experts have yet to establish the exact doses of BCAAs that athletes should aim for, but most estimates recommended getting between 10 and 20 grams of BCAAs per day, depending on the person’s weight and level of activity.
Benefits of BCAAs for Runners
Each of the three BCAAs carries an individual benefit for runners, swimmers, and other types of athletes; together, they provide advantages unmatched by other types of supplements. Find out more about the benefits of BCAAs for runners below:
Arguably the most important of the BCAAs, leucine is the amino acid responsible for triggering the creation of new skeletal muscle. Numerous studies1,2 have shown that supplementing with leucine brings benefits both during exercise (by protecting muscle tissue) and after exercise (by stimulating an increase in muscle mass). For these reasons, leucine has received significant attention and brought acclaim to itself and to BCAAs in general.
Don’t be deceived by their similar names; leucine and isoleucine are very different amino acids. While leucine is focused on building strength, isoleucine works to improve endurance by promoting the flow of energy (see: glucose) into the muscles, which helps prolong peak output during extended periods of exertion – like, say, during a long run. That said, isoleucine does also play a minor role in the production of muscle tissue, and it has been shown to speed up the body’s recovery process between bouts of exercise as well.
Though it plays a number of roles in the body, including supporting the functions of the central nervous and immune systems, valine’s chief contribution to BCAA supplements is the protection of muscle tissue. During exercise, the muscles tend to develop tiny tears that then need to be repaired. This is a natural result of exercise, but it limiting these effects can help to preserve muscle mass and shorten the time it takes to recover between runs; valine serves this purpose by shielding the muscles against excessive damage caused during exercise.
Other Amino Acids for Runners
The three BCAAs may receive most of the attention, but they’re not the only amino acids to offer benefits to runners. That’s why the proprietary amino acid blend used by aminoVITAL® includes two other compounds: glutamine and arginine. Learn more about each of these compounds below:
Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that the body can produce it, but not always in large enough quantities. Like the BCAAs, glutamine has attracted the attention of researchers, which is how we know it can help regulate the immune system, improve post-workout recovery times, and reduce muscle soreness3 after exercise.
Arginine is another example of a conditionally essential amino acid that can be of use to runners. This amino acid helps the body rid itself of ammonia, a toxic waste product, and it is often turned into nitric oxide once ingested – a chemical that helps open blood vessels for improved circulation throughout the body.
General Benefits of Amino Acids
In addition to the benefits imparted by each individual amino acid, there are a few other advantages to choosing a BCAA supplement over conventional protein-based products. For instance, because the free-form amino acids in BCAA supplements require far less digestion than whole proteins, BCAAs take effect up to three times faster than whey protein. Amino acid supplements also tend to be much leaner, with far fewer calories and much less sugar than what’s found in many popular protein shakes and powders; this makes them the superior choice for those looking to build lean muscle.
Fast, Effective BCAA Supplements for Runners Available Today from aminoVITAL®
Whether you’re an avid runner or someone new to the sport, BCAA supplements have something to offer you. These fast-acting and effective products, such as our Action mix have helped thousands of athletes of every stripe improve their performance and build lean muscle. Learn more about these powerful products today by visiting the aminoVITAL® website or calling (888) 264-6673.