Fitness supplements are all the rage. And it makes sense. It’s incredibly challenging to get all the vitamins and nutrients we need from our diets alone, especially if you’re incredibly active or working toward a fitness goal.
BCAA supplements are particularly crucial to muscle recovery, and if you haven’t tried them yet, you don’t know what you're missing.
If you’ve heard of BCAAs but aren’t quite sure what they are or why we use them, here, we’re taking a deep dive into all things BCAAs and how they work.
What are BCAAs?
BCAAs, or branch chain amino acids, are made up of three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids get grouped because they are the only three amino acids with a chain that branches off to one side.
BCAAs are essential amino acids, which means your body cannot produce them naturally. Therefore, you must acquire these amino acids through your diet or supplementation.
How do BCAAs Work?
In your body, BCAAs make up 35 to 40% of your amino acid pool and 14 to 18% of the amino acids found in your muscles.
Most other amino acids get broken down in the liver, but BCAAs get broken down in muscles. This breakdown produces usable energy that’s beneficial for exercise.
BCAAs can also be used as the building blocks of protein and muscle, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing serotonin production to help reduce the feeling of fatigue during a workout.
Why use BCAAs for Recovery?
In addition to boosting energy levels, helping build muscle, regulating blood sugar, and reducing fatigue during your workout, BCAAs are also, and most often, used after a workout to aid in recovery.
BCAAs help your muscles feel less sore after exercising by lowering the blood levels in the enzymes involved in muscle damage. So, by protecting your muscles from these enzymes called creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, BCAAs can improve recovery quite noticeably.
When your muscles recover more quickly and effectively, you’ll be able to train more often and go harder on your workouts, leading to better results. Especially if you’re training toward a specific goal, BCAAs can be extremely beneficial to help you get there.
How to Get Enough BCAAs
As we mentioned, BCAAs are essential amino acids that you can only get through your diet or supplementation. Foods with the highest amounts of BCAAs include:
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Beans and lentils
- Tofu and tempeh
- Pumpkin seeds
However, the best way to make sure you’re getting enough BCAAs is by taking a BCAA supplement. Especially if you’re highly active or a professional athlete, BCAA supplements should be part of your regimen.
BCAA supplements can be taken before, during, or after a workout but, if you’re focused on improving muscle recovery, taking them after an exercise is usually sufficient.
Overall, BCAAs are essential amino acids that can do wonders for your fitness, from improving energy levels to improving muscle recovery!
Try our MEND Recovery Supplement, packed with BCAAs for endurance, performance, and recovery. In a tasty fruit punch flavor, there’s no better way to get ultimate nutrition for your muscles.