The BCAA amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine are by far the most important amino acids for building muscles. They can't be produced by the body itself, they have to be constantly supplied through food.
BCAA go directly into the blood stream and are transported to the muscles, while non-branched-chain amino acids are first metabolized in the liver. Therefore, BCAA taken as a dietary supplement is available to the body right away.
It is important that the three BCAA amino acids are supplied to the body together. Only then can they successfully perform their task: Building muscles, providing energy during exercise.
BCAA stimulate the release of insulin. In turn, insulin accelerates the transport of amino acids to the muscle cells. If there is a lack of carbohydrates and fat, leucine in particular can also be used as an energy source.
What is BCAA?
- BCAA are branched, essential amino acids
- They can't be formed by the body; the body depends on an adequate supply of BCAA
- They only develop their structural effect when they are available together
- BCAA are building blocks for building muscle mass
- Whether offered to the body through food or a dietary supplement: They are absorbed in the intestine and are transported via the bloodstream, directly available for building muscle substance
- They speed up protein synthesis
- BCAA stimulate the release of insulin, while insulin accelerates the transport of amino acids
- With the provision of BCAA, the breakdown of muscle proteins for energy production in the event of physical overload can be avoided
Amino acids are used to build up body protein, the basic substance of muscle cells. Amino acids are broken down from food protein in the course of digestion. They are absorbed in the intestine and are available to the body to build up muscle substance.
The branched chain amino acids, the so-called BCAAs, represent a special group of amino acids. These include the three essential amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine. These are amino acids that can't be produced by the body, which means that it is dependent on a supplement. They are part of the diet and are also available as a dietary supplement.
BCAAs are absorbed directly in the intestine. Without being metabolized in the liver, they can be made available to the muscle cells as basic building blocks via the bloodstream in an accelerated manner. A second important function of the BCAAs is to stimulate the release of insulin.
Insulin, for its part, accelerates the transport of amino acids and, especially in the case of physical overexertion, ensures that there is no deficit of amino acids when building up lost muscle substance. In emergency situations, leucine is also available as a fuel for generating energy.
BCAAs are recommended:
- For strength and endurance sports
- When under physical stress
- To support protein synthesis
- To support muscle building
- To prevent a protein deficit as part of a diet
- For patients with muscle weakness
- To protect against the breakdown of muscle mass
- In the case of a one-sided diet, e.g. for vegetarians and/or vegans
Which foods contain BCAA?
Combined, the three essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine are mainly found in meat and dairy products. Endurance or strength athletes in particular, but also vegetarians and vegans, have an increased need for BCAA. Taking BCAA in the form of dietary supplements is highly recommended in this case.
How does a lack of BCAA show itself?
If the body is not supplied with enough BCAA, then this will be noticeable through various symptoms:
- Reduced performance when faced with physical challenges
- Reduction in muscle mass
- Powerlessness and a decline in performance
- Decreasing ability to concentrate
The lack of BCAA can be compensated relatively quickly by taking nutritional supplements.
BCAA - Ingestion and application
In the event of physical and mental stress, the organism consumes more energy and therefore also has an increased need for amino acids. This is especially true for BCAA because they are essential substances, e.g. ones that the body can't produce itself.
BCAA should be taken as early as possible, ideally when additional stress is to be expected. Since meat and dairy products in particular are the suppliers of BCAA, the intake of BCAA in the form of dietary supplements is particularly recommended for vegetarians and vegans.
For whom is BCAA particularly important?
- Strength athletes
- Endurance athlete
- Vegetarians, vegans
- Patients who are on a diet
- Patients with muscle weakness
- People who are under stress