What is a BCAA?
In the world of fitness supplements, it seems like there’s a never-ending procession of terms and nutrition-focused lingo to learn about. As new trends begin to dominate the conversation surrounding athletic performance and the products that improve it, acronyms like “BCAA” quickly become commonplace. If you’ve heard the term “BCAA” and found yourself wondering what it could mean, know that you’re not alone. BCAAs are a type of amino acid found in a type of supplement that has been gaining popularity, and it may be helpful to know more about this prominent topic. To learn what, exactly, a BCAA is and how it relates to exercise, read on while the amino acid recovery drink experts at aminoVITAL® explain.
Amino Acids and BCAAs
The term “amino acid” might ring a bell for some of you reading this, probably in the part of your mind that stores vague memories from high school. Your biology teacher likely told you that amino acids are the building blocks of protein – which they are – though these compounds also play a number of other roles in the body.
Although there are hundreds of amino acids in existence, only 20 are part of human physiology. Of these 20, there are nine “essential” amino acids – those your body can’t create on its own – and 11 “nonessential” amino acids – those your body can produce, given the right materials. Because of the importance of getting enough essential amino acids in your diet, sources of protein that provide all nine compounds are called “complete” protein; they include most animal-based foods and those made from soy.
Within the group of nine essential amino acids, there are three that have a peculiar shape; these are the branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, a classification that encompasses the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. When people talk about BCAAs, these are the compounds they are talking about.
What are BCAA Supplements?
It has been well-established that the three BCAAs are quite effective at helping people improve their athletic performance, both in the short-term and the long-term. These improvements are part of why BCAAs are now sold as a supplement all their own, in contrast to the traditional protein supplements that have long dominated the market. Like protein, most BCAAs come in a powdered form intended to be mixed in with water or some other liquid, though some can be poured directly onto the tongue for quick, convenient application.
Not only is the main nutrient in these supplements different from typical protein powders, but their overall formulas tend to be healthier. Many protein mixes contain up to 20 grams of sugar – or more, in some cases – while amino acid supplements from aminoVITAL® use stevia leaf extract to sweeten without adding calories. And on the subject of calories, a single scoop of protein powder can pack hundreds of calories, which can easily undermine a person’s attempts at sculpting a lean, toned body. Amino acid supplements usually have very few calories – only 15 of them, if you’re talking about aminoVITAL® products.
The Benefits of BCAA Amino Acid Supplements
Like traditional protein shakes, amino acid supplements are used to boost a person’s gains over time by providing the body with fuel for muscle growth. Unlike whole proteins, however, amino acids offer a number of benefits that make them a superior supplement in many respects.
When you ingest protein in a shake or burger – any source that offers whole proteins – your body can’t simply put those nutrients to use right away. These proteins need to be digested before they can be used, which requires the time-consuming process of breaking the bonds between amino acids. When you consume an amino acid supplement, on the other hand, you are taking in free-form amino acids that require only minimal digestion, meaning that they are almost immediately available to any process that needs them.
In essence, amino acid supplements are just a refined version of the protein supplements you’re probably familiar with. That means you can still expect the results you’ve come to depend on (bigger muscles, faster recovery) plus a few extras. For example, a BCAA blend contains isoleucine, an amino acid that helps you to stay energized during a workout so you can keep your intensity at the highest level. Another BCAA, leucine, promotes the synthesis of new muscle tissue and has proven to be very effective at it. The combination of these two compounds – plus valine, the third BCAA – makes for a potent product.
As mentioned above, amino acid supplements are generally leaner than protein shakes, though formulas can vary brand to brand. aminoVITAL® makes supplements that contain only the essentials – a proprietary blend of amino acids, including the BCAAs, along with electrolytes and vitamin C. This gives you the results you want in a product that won’t sabotage your diet or undermine your goals.
Try a BCAA Amino Acid Supplement from aminoVITAL® Today
If you take fitness seriously and want a product that can deliver results without the drawbacks of other supplements, try an amino acid-based formula from aminoVITAL®. Our products are carefully crafted from vegan-friendly amino acids of the highest purity to ensure their effectiveness and overall quality. To learn more about how a fast-acting, powerful amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® can help you reach your health and fitness goals, visit us online or call (888) 264-6673 right away.