Supplements are among the most important factors in any successful workout routine. Even with a well-rounded diet, those who live active lives often require additional nutritional support, especially right before, during, and after exercise. However, adding supplements to your routine isn’t as simple as just buying a product and using it when you feel like it; fitness supplements tend to be most effective when used at certain times or along with other specific kinds of products. As one of the newest and most advanced types of supplements out there, BCAAs are often the subject of questions regarding how to best add them to a routine. One common question: What can you mix BCAAs with? To find out, keep reading as the team at aminoVITAL® – makers of BCAA supplements for pre-, mid-, and post-workout support – shed some light on the topic.
What to Mix Your BCAAs With
The first thing to cover is how to properly use your BCAA supplements. While many types of powdered fitness supplements can be added to a variety of liquids – think protein powder and milk – BCAAs are best utilized when simply mixed with water.
There are a few reasons for this, but the most important one by far is that consuming BCAAs at the same time as other foods or drinks can hinder their effectiveness. Part of what makes BCAA supplements so useful as a pre- or mid-workout supplement is that they take effect quickly – up to three times faster than whey, in fact. This benefit stems from the fact that the BCAAs alone require very little digestion; whereas the amino acids in protein must be broken apart before they can be used, the free-form BCAAs in aminoVITAL® products are already set for absorption into the bloodstream.
By mixing these supplements into a sports drink or, say, a smoothie made with fresh fruit and yogurt (which admittedly sounds pretty good, given the fruity flavors in aminoVITAL® supplements), you can actually delay their effects and limit their ability to help your performance as you exercise. That said, mixing BCAAs with other foods and drinks as part of a post-workout supplement might not be a bad idea; it could allow you to add additional carbs to restore glycogen stores, and since the window of effectiveness for post-workout nutrients is greater than that for mid-workout supplementation, the delay in effects probably wouldn’t matter much.
What Supplements Can You Mix with BCAAs?
As our understanding of fitness supplementation has grown, so too has the sophistication of the modern supplement regimen. It’s not uncommon these days to hear gym-goers talk about the wonderful benefits of the workout “stack,” the term for using a variety of supplements at different stages of your routine. However, there are some instances in which mixing two otherwise safe substances can result in an adverse reaction, so it’s worth asking whether you can mix BCAAs with other types of supplements.
As far as anyone can tell, it seems like there’s no danger of creating a harmful mixture when adding BCAAs to your workout stack. In fact, studies have looked at combinations of these amino acids with popular supplements like caffeine and creatine and found that the mixture greatly enhanced the results of exercise.
Participants in one study1 engaged in three weeks of high-intensity interval training while taking these three supplements and saw significantly more improvement than the placebo group, and a second study – which involved taurine and glucuronolactone as well – backs up those findings. In other words, the available evidence supports the idea that adding BCAAs to your stack will boost your gains after working out.
One possible exception to this would be adding BCAAs alongside protein powder. Because the main benefit of protein is that it provides the amino acids your body needs to produce new muscles, using both protein and BCAA supplements may be going above and beyond what’s necessary for proper fitness nutrition.
That said, you could choose to alternate the two products or vary when you take them; one example of this would be to use aminoVITAL®’s Action mid-workout mix to improve energy levels and kick-start recovery partway through your routine, then have your protein when you get home from the gym. Ultimately, how you use BCAAs will depend on your particular health and fitness goals, so go with the stack that seems right for you.
Can You Mix BCAAs with Medication?
It’s common practice in medicine to advise people against consuming certain (otherwise safe) products in particular situations; for instance, someone taking antibiotics may be told to refrain from drinking alcohol while taking their medication. In some cases, this kind of caution is appropriate for those using BCAAs as well, though the list of medications that might interact with BCAAs is pretty short.
Generally speaking, those taking levodopa, a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease, and those on certain anti-diabetes drugs should ask their doctor whether they can mix BCAAs with their medication, as these amino acids may inhibit the effectiveness of the treatment. Diazoxide, a drug used to treat low blood sugar; corticosteroids; and thyroid hormone supplements all have a small chance of interacting with BCAAs, so talk to your doctor if you take any of these, too.
Mix BCAA Supplements into Your Workout Stack to Improve the Results of Exercise
When someone decides to put in the time and energy required to work out, they generally want to get the most out of their efforts. BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® can help with that very goal by boosting gains, raising energy levels, and streamlining the recovery process, all while adding very few calories to your diet. To learn more about the benefits of BCAAs, visit aminoVITAL® online or call us today at (888) 264-6673.