BCAA supplement or branched chain amino acid supplement is a kind of supplementation that some bodybuilders and athletes take to prevent the shrinking of muscle size and strength due to reduced muscle protein synthesis and breakdown. Branched chain amino acids aid your body in the healing process of injured tissues, in accelerating recovery and in safeguarding your muscle tissue from breaking down or catabolizing when you exercise.
This most vital group of essential amino acids is composed of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine and perform significant duties in the synthesis of protein and the production of energy. Additionally, BCAAs also have other uses as each of the component also serve other purposes. Leucine, for instance, is crucial for wound recovery of skin and bones and protects muscles. Isoleucine aids in increasing energy and is vital in hemoglobin formation. Valine aids in promoting or maintaining the balance of nitrogen, which is necessary for the development of muscles. Thirty-five to 40 percent of the essential amino acids of the protein in the body is composed of BCCA's while 14 percent of the aggregate amino acids in skeletal muscle also consist of BCAA.
In the human diet, approximately 15 to 20 percent of our total protein consumption is BCAA's. Dairy products and red meat are rich sources of these amino acids. However, if you are a bodybuilder, these sources may not be enough to gain muscle mass, hence, you may need to take BCAA supplement.
BCAA supplement has been a subject of numerous studies to probe into its usefulness in the treatment of liver failure and catabolic disease states and for its role in enhancing exercise performance. It has been observed that levels of plasma leucine significantly decreases following aerobic, anaerobic and strength exercise as a result of elevated metabolism/breakdown of BCAA in muscle tissue. By taking BCAA supplement, the decrease in plasma BCAA brought about by the exercise is prevented and increases the level of BCAA in the muscle. What sets BCAA's apart from other amino acids is that they are not easily degraded in the liver. So, when you increase BCAA intake, their level in the blood and other tissues also increases. Their increased tissue concentration reaching more than the needed amount is deemed beneficial especially with their part in stimulating protein synthesis through numerous pathways. The rise of BCAA levels also elevates production of other amino acids like glutamine.