The Importance of BCAA Supplements

Tom Richardson, Co-Founder and President, TSN
Tom Richardson, Co-Founder and President, Top Secret Nutrition

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are an important part of any good supplement routine for athletes of all levels.  They stimulate and support protein synthesis and specifically, BCAA’s help:

  • Decrease recovery time between workouts
  • Increase muscle growth
  • Reduce the amount of muscle lost during dieting 

WHAT ARE BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS?

We have 20 amino acids in the human body which help build protein.  Nine of these compounds are referred to as “essential” amino acids because they must be consumed through food or supplements. Three of these “essential” amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. Unlike the other amino acids, BCAAs are metabolized in muscle rather than in the liver, which means that they reach muscle tissue faster and therefore play a critical role in muscle development.

The chemical structure of BCAAs is what makes them so unique. As the name indicates, they have branched carbon chains, which are like side chains, that make it easier for the enzymes in your muscle cells to convert BCAAs into energy during exertion. The more BCAAs you have in your muscles, the slower your muscle cells break down muscle fiber. The anabolic stimulus from your training remains the same, but you experience less muscle breakdown, so you can build up more muscle mass.

BCAAs, which make up about 40% of the free essential amino acids in blood plasma, are used as an energy source during exercise and play an important part in glyconeogenesis (a mechanism for reusing the glucose used for energy in muscle).

THREE ESSENTIAL BCAAs

Leucine and Muscle Protein Synthesis

The first of the three essential BCAAs is Leucine.  The research on how it relates to Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) in humans is debated. Some studies report increased MPS while others show suppressed muscle protein breakdown without increased protein synthesis during leucine infusion. One point on which all of the studies agree is that leucine is anti-catabolic, which means that it slows down the breakdown of protein. The debate is centered on just how anabolic leucine is in humans. Further studies on this topic conducted by the researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston) have discovered that leucine appears to promote anabolic signaling, but not protein anabolism. In other words, leucine stimulates the signal to activate muscle protein synthesis but does not actually make it happen.

Leucine is definitely the MVP of the BCAA team!  It also should be combined with the other BCAAs, Valine and Isoleucine for maximum effect.

Valine and the Brain 

Several research studies have confirmed that taking BCAAs, and in particular Valine, before a workout lowers the amount of tryptophan that gets into the brain, thus lessening 5-HT levels and fatigue. Therefore, taking BCAAs can help to prevent feeling fatigued during workouts.  This should allow you to train harder and longer, encouraging greater muscle growth!  BCAA supplementation can also help to enhance mood and brain function by reducing brain fatigue through this same mechanism.


Isoleucine, Metabolism and Fat Loss

Isoleucine is the third of the three essential BCAAs. A recent animal study conducted in Japan has determined that isoleucine is the BCAA that activates the proteins UCP2 and UCP3, which help boost metabolism. In the study, the mice in the isoleucine group had lower weight gain and almost 50% less white adipose tissue than the mice in the control group. 

INTRODUCING TOP SECRET NUTRITION’S BCAA RE-IGNITER

Top Secret Nutrition’s BCAA Re-Igniter is a phenomenally delicious and refreshing combination of vegan BCAA’s, Natural Astaxanthin(AstaPure®) and Coconut Water infused electrolytes. We designed the BCAA Igniter to help you:

  • Improve muscle growth, endurance and recovery
  • Boost muscle performance
  • Reduce workout fatigue
  • Increase fat oxidation

The BCAA Re-Igniter Team includes:

  • 2:1:1 Ratio Vegan BCAA’s( InstAminos™ ) a customized blend of three essential amino acids—Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine—proven to stimulate mTOR for protein synthesis required for healthy muscle growth and recovery.
  • AstaPure® Astaxanthin – is member of the carotenoids family, it is a dark red pigment and the main carotenoid found in algae. Natural astaxanthin is known as the most potent antioxidant available on the market today, 800 times stronger than coq10 and 500 times stronger than vitamin E.
  • Electrolyte/Hydration Blend of Coconut water powder, Calcium citrate, Magnesium Citrate, Sodium and Potassium. Proper electrolytes and hydration are required to allow the body to perform at its best.

The three essential amino acids that are BCAAs are important to all active people.  Some other brands make BCAA products using bird feathers.  Not Top Secret Nutrition!  BCAA Re-igniter is 100% Vegan and uses no animals or animal products. The other ingredients on the BCAA Re-Igniter team round it out as a great team.  Never take plain BCAA’s alone again!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  You can reach me directly by email at tom@topsecretnutrition.com.

Tom Richardson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *