What Does “BCAA” Stand For?
Most people are familiar with the role protein plays in sports and fitness development, but a more recent trend has been replacing traditional protein drinks and powders with a more advanced option: amino acid supplements like those from aminoVITAL. These supplements contain a heaping helping of BCAAs, a type of amino acid that has been gaining traction as a tool for enhancing muscle growth, aiding everyone from serious athletes to casual gym-goers in their quest for a healthier body. Many people are still relatively unfamiliar with BCAAs, though, prompting the basic question of what “BCAA” even stands for. If you’d like to find out, keep reading as the makers of the aminoVITAL amino acid recovery drink explain.
What is a BCAA?
Although proteins may get the lion’s share of the credit for big muscles and toned bodies, the unsung hero of these features is the humble amino acid. In a nutshell, amino acids are the building blocks of protein, the chemical compounds that your body creates when proteins break down during the digestive process. These compounds are then put to use for all manner of processes, from repairing tissues to crafting neurotransmitters.
The acronym “BCAA” stands for a specific type of amino acid called a “branched-chain amino acid,” a classification that encompasses three particular compounds: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are so named because of their shape; the chemical structure of BCAAs consists of a series of connections branching off of one another and is distinct from the shape of other amino acids. BCAAs represent three of the nine essential amino acids that our bodies require but cannot produce, making them important parts of a healthy diet, regardless of your health and fitness goals.
There is more that makes BCAAs unique than just their shape, however. These three compounds account for a significant portion of the amino acids in your body – as much as 40% by some estimates. Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs are broken down in the muscles instead of the liver, which is one reason they are believed to increase the production of energy during physical activity. They may also help your body regulate blood sugar levels and direct some of that glucose to the muscles that need them. Plus, they reduce the production of serotonin in the brain, which can limit feelings of fatigue during and after exercise.
The Benefits of Using BCAAs
For those in the fitness world, BCAAs have emerged as a popular source of pre-workout energy and post-workout fuel. Because amino acids don’t have to be broken down the way proteins do – remember, amino acids are already the processed from of protein – they can be put to use in your body almost instantly, giving you fast returns on an easy-to-use supplement.
Not only do these compounds offer fast bioavailability, but each individual BCAA provides a benefit all its own. Below are some of the effects you can expect after using a BCAA product:
- Leucine can directly interact with enzymes to trigger muscle synthesis; in other words, this amino acid boosts muscle growth. Leucine is thought to be the most effective of the BCAAs as well.
- Despite the similarities in name, isoleucine serves a very different role than leucine. This amino acid helps to increase energy levels and promotes muscle repair after strenuous workouts, helping you power through tough routines and speeding up your recovery afterward.
- Valine serves a wider role than its brethren; rather than supporting one or two processes, valine works with several to improve muscle health, reduce stress, suppress appetite, and balance the immune system.
Working in tandem, these three compounds provide support for all aspects of a well-rounded workout routine. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, BCAAs can help reduce soreness after exercise and have shown promise for those looking to lose weight or burn fat more efficiently. Regardless of whether you want to see increased gains from resistance training or boost your speed and shrink your recovery time as you train for a race, BCAAs can help.
Where to Find BCAAs
The amount of amino acids in your diet largely depends on how much protein you consume and whether those sources are complete proteins, meaning that they contain all the essential amino acids – including BCAAs – that your body can’t make on its own. Animal-based sources, such as eggs, dairy, and meats, as well as soy-based foods are all complete proteins and so contain BCAAs, while most plant-based sources lack certain amino acids.
If you are physically active, your body may need more BCAAs than just what it gets through food. Amino Vital products offer pharmaceutical-grade vegan amino acids of the highest quality, ensuring that your muscles have all the fuel they need to push through an intense workout make a quick energy recovery. Just add water or – in the case of our Fast Charge pre-workout supplement – simply pour the powdered mix onto your tongue and enjoy the benefits of a light, convenient, fast-acting product.
All the BCAAs Your Body Needs Available at Amino Vital
For more than 20 years, professional athletes around the globe have benefited from the natural effects of BCAAs and amino acid-based products like those from Amino Vital. Now, anyone can get those same advantages in a safe, effective mix containing the highest-quality vegan amino acids available on the market today. Learn more about all the benefits aminoVITAL can offer by visiting us online or calling (888) 264-6673 today.