By Kate Horney
BCAAs (branched chain amino acids)…What are they? What do they do? Should you take them?
Here’s a little science lesson for you. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 amino acids and of the 20, nine are considered essential. Of the essential amino acids, three (valine, leucine, isoleucine) account for as much as 1/3 of muscle tissue.
Since we break down muscle tissue when we exercise, BCAAs are a good supplement to take if exercise is a part of your lifestyle.
There are many benefits of BCAAs for women. Here are just a few:
- BCAAs Lower Cortisol: Cortisol is a stress hormone that busy women are all too familiar with. The main functions of cortisol are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system, and aid in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. When cortisol is released with low levels of HGH (human growth hormone, which often occurs when we don’t get enough sleep) and/or high levels of insulin, it causes muscle burning and fat storing. BCAAs lower cortisol and thus have an incredible ability to suppress stress induced cravings and blunt hunger.
- BCAAs Balance Brain Chemistry: BCAAs are precursors to our brain’s stimulating chemical glutamate, as well as our brain’s number one relaxing chemical (GABA). What busy mom doesn’t need some extra help relaxing? By balancing these stimulating and relaxing responses in the brain at a chemical level, we can stop cravings before they even start.
- BCAAs Control Hunger: In addition to balancing blood sugar, the BCAA leucine activates hunger controlling molecules (mTOR and AMPK) in the brain.
Here are some things you may not know about BCAAs:
- BCAA metabolites were found to be a significant indicator of lean mass in a population of young and middle-aged adults.
- People who consume a threshold dose of essential amino acids that contain BCAAs with every meal have less visceral belly fat and more muscle mass.
- BCAAs trigger protein synthesis and inhibit the breakdown of muscle cells.
- In healthy people, BCAAs improve glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity. In diabetics, BCAA dietary intake with other therapeutic interventions may improve metabolic markers.
- BCAAs play an important role in muscle and energy production during exercise, which is the reason that they are often used during workouts.
- BCAAs convey many health benefits and a higher dietary intake has been identified as a predictor of longevity.
- BCAAs have been found to reduce muscle soreness from intense muscle-damaging exercise.
- BCAAs improve training motivation, especially when fatigued.
Wondering how to use BCAAs? Keep reading…
BCAAs: WHO IS IT FOR?
It is for anyone exercising, weight training, or taking part in any rigorous physical activity. My favorite BCAAs are PEScience Amino IV. This is what I use personally and what I recommend for my clients.
BCAAs: WHAT DOES IT DO?
Amino IV stimulates muscle protein synthesis, the first step for your body to build more muscle.
BCAAs: WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE IT?
Amino IV is best taken during training or exercising, as you would normally drink water or a sports drink.
BCAAs: HOW DO YOU TAKE IT?
BCAAs: CAN IT BE STACKED?
Amino IV can be stacked with virtually any supplement.
BCAAs: WHO SHOULD AVOID IT?
Anyone who has the disorder known as phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid amino acid supplements. Those with PKU lack the enzyme necessary to break down the essential amino acid phenylalanine.
When lowering your carb intake, BCAAs will become a busy mom’s best friend by not only by lowering your stress hormones, but by controlling hunger and cravings and giving you the energy you need to keep up with your daily life!
Use the code BEYONDFIT to save 30% off your order at pescience.com!
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