What’s are BCAA’s?
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) is the collective name for a group of essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) that have clear benefits for muscle growth, fat loss, reduced muscle soreness, muscle recovery and intra-exercise energy, according to numerous peer reviewed published research studies. They are deemed essential because our body can not make them out of other amino acids so the only way that we can get them in our diet is through foods or supplements.
While BCAA’s are present in whole food sources of protein, they are not found in any significant quantity. Furthermore, unlike whole food sources of protein, BCAA’s bypass normal digestion and are directly taken up by muscle tissue. BCAA’s not only benefit hard training individuals, ongoing clinical trials use BCAA’s in a variety of situations including potentially preventing weight loss in the elderly and cancer patients as well as other circumstances.
As the name implies, BCAA's have a "branched" chain side which makes it easier for these three amino acids to be broken down for energy during intense training. Scientific studies have shown that the more BCAA's found in muscle tissue during intense exercise the more they will be used for energy and to prevent muscle breakdown.
Do You Really Need To Use BCAA Supplements?
Often times, with any nutritional supplement, you’ll find critics and bloggers, many of whom don’t seriously train or understand sports nutrition yet they suggest that you don’t need supplements and are better off eating a quality whole food diet. While I always advocate a quality whole food diet, there is a special need for certain supplements, one being branched chain amino acids.
Research studies have clearly shown that a high protein diet (as defined as 1.5g/kg of protein per pound of body weight) is important for adding muscle in strength training populations. Yet additional studies have shown that foods high in BCAA content elicit even greater muscle gains.
As previously explained, BCAA supplements are digested and processed differently in the body than whole food sources of protein thus they offer a unique advantage. Studies conclude that when resistance training subjects consumed BCAA’s, muscle protein synthesis was increased at a greater level than individuals who did not consume BCAA’s. Not only do BCAA’s increase maximal protein synthesis but they also help to maintain lean muscle during times of stress or long lay offs.
What about weight loss and BCAA’s?
Scientists have speculated that BCAA’s “appear to have unique obesity-reducing effects” and concluded that subjects consuming BCAA products also experienced decreased food intake and body weight since BCAA may increase the signaling of muscle building genes. The BCAA isoleucine has been shown to improve glucose tolerance while leucine has been shown to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
BCAA’s and Your Hormones.
An interesting study was done on BCAA’s and hormones. Subjects were asked to take 6 grams of BCAA’s for 3 weeks or no BCAA’s at all. After those 3 weeks the subjects performed a week of high intensity strength training. The BCAA group had higher testosterone and lower cortisol post training as well as lower biomarkers of inflammation.
BCAA’s boost performance, decrease fatigue and muscle soreness.
Hard training individuals, especially Crossfit athletes, know what it’s like when they hit a wall during their workouts due to fatigue. BCAA’s can help with fatigue management during strength training. For starters, BCAA’s are efficient energy sources during training which allows your body to maintain intra-cellular ATP for sustained training energy.
BCAA’s also prevent the uptake of tryptophan into the brain thus delaying central nervous system fatigue.This can allow you to recover faster in between sets.
Particularly important to the Crossfit athletes reading this, one study on trained men found that subjects who consumed BCAA’s before and after doing 100 drop jumps significantly reduced muscle soreness. These individuals also experienced a 33 percent less drop in maximal strength during the activity.
BCAA’s and depression
Researchers have speculated that BCAA’s may help depression issues since BCAA’s increase brain serotonin levels thereby improving mood levels.
How Does Betaine work?
Betaine acts as a methyl donor to the amino acid homocysteine where it forms methionine. Methionine helps to create creatine in the body. Studies have speculated that betaine may increase muscle strength and size since it potentially increases the body’s creatine production. Methionine may also increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis which is also a trigger for muscle and strength gains.
Additional studies have suggested that betaine has a role in raising SAMe, a nutrient that supports liver health and mood.
Betaine for hard training individuals and crossfitters.
Let’s get down to the brass tacks about betaine for performance and physique goals. In 2010,the University of Connecticut found that weight training individuals who took 1.25 grams of betaine twice preday increased their strength by 25 percent and power by 20 percent. That’s amazing! The researchers also noticed that betaine significantly elevated markers of muscle protein synthesis post workout.
Additional studies have found that betaine improves total bench press reps (endurance), improved pedaling power in cyclists and sprint times to exhaustion by 40 seconds. All fantastic findings which are attributed to the lactate reducing levels of betaine. By lowering lactate athletes can delay muscle fatigue and train harder for longer.
In 2013 the College of Springfield found that weight training males who used 1.25 grams of betaine twice preday for six week increased their muscle mass by 4 pounds, arm size by 10 percent and decreased their body fat by 7 pounds. WOW!
A 2014 study from UCONN concluded that the increase in muscle strength, power and endurance are likely due to betaines ability to increase anabolic hormones while also lowering the muscle wasting, catabolic hormone cortisol.
Why did I add betaine to The Physique Formula BCAA’s?
Not only does betaine have some fantastic muscle, strength and power benefits but it seems to also elevate muscle protein synthesis. Since BCAA’s raise muscle protein synthesis significantly, adding betaine helps to raise this key trigger by working with the BCAA’s
Other studies have highlighted betaines ability to increase nitric oxide levels and regulate cellular muscle fluid volume. As you’ll learn later when we discuss taurine, cellular fluid volume is yet another trigger for anabolic muscle gains.
What does l-citrulline malate do?
Citrulline is an amino acid that is a result of the body’s natural conversion of the amino acid arginine into nitric oxide.Studies have actually shown that citrulline increases the amount of arginine in the blood more so than taking arginine directly. This volume of arginine in the blood increases muscle pumps which is a key trigger of muscle growth.
While that sounds great, citrulline’s biggest benefit may be its ability to help you train longer, get less sore and recover faster. Citrulline works to clear ammonia out of the body. Due to intense training, the blood pH levels drop and the training muscle becomes more acidic which leads to muscle fatigue. A 2010 study found that subjects undergoing resistance training who took citrulline malate were able to perform 50 percent more repetitions once they hit fatigue.
A second study, this time in professional cyclists, found that the cyclists who took citrulline had reduced and delayed immune system reactions to training. This indicts that citrulline not only helps muscle recovery but delays immune system suppression.
Why did I add L-Citrulline Malate to The Physique Formula artificial sweetener free natural BCAA’s with betaine?
Since citrulline can increase arginine levels, not only can it raise muscle protein synthesis itself but citrulline may actually help your body use BCAA’s more efficiently during training.
Why was Taurine added?
Taurine is an amino acid found in foods such as meat, eggs, poultry and fish. Studies show that taurine is vital for nervous system development and brain neural protection. In other situations, taurine is used as an antioxidant.
What makes taurine so exciting is that studies have shown it may help athletes boost their VO2 max, increase the time it took for them to reach exhaustion and improved their maximal workload.
Basically that means that taurine can help you train harder for longer. The best part? All those benefits were shown with just 7 days of use!
For years I’ve used taurine due to its ability to volumize a muscle cell. That means that taurine improves the hydration of muscle cell and helps to drive nutrients like amino acids, creatine and carnitine into working muscle. Due to this mechanism, taurine can boost muscle protein synthesis and increase recovery.
Additional research studies on muscle performance show that after 14 days of use, taurine may increase strength levels, reduce muscle soreness and lower oxidative stress and inflammation.
That’s a lot of benefits!
What about the 3 grams of glutamine per serving?
Glutamine, another amino acid, plays an interesting role in BCAA utilization. Studies show that glutamine can help to decrease leucine oxidation, essentially slowing down the speed at which your body runs through leucine. Glutamine itself plays a central role in muscle protein synthesis but The Physique Formula BCAA’s have added glutatamine to help leucine stay around in the body for longer so the BCAA’s can exert all of their wonderful benefits.
Additional B vitamins were added as well since B vitamins are vital for proper amino acid metabolism. High dose BCAA usage may deplete B vitamins so I wanted to add them back in to prevent this.
The Physique Formula BCAA’s provides a research significant dose of each above mentioned nutrient. All study references can be found by clicking here
All Physique Formula products including the orange BCAA’s are all manufactured in facilities with the highest standards including NSF and GMP certified facilities.
What’s on the label is in the bottles and what’s in the bottle is on the label.