Can Branch Chain Amino Acids ( BCAA ) Really Assist You?
As the popularity of supplements has grown particularly over the past 5-10 years, we see more and more critics come out of the woodwork in an attempt to discredit certain supplements. I can understand if this is genuinely to ‘find the truth’ as I always endeavour to conduct my own research into products that I feel are important. Like everyone else, I want to ensure that I am confident before committing. However, it’s important to seek information from credible sources and not be influenced by marketing or advertising.
There are many and varied Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) supplements on the market and it does seem to confuse many first time, or even more advanced, users of this product. There have been a number of studies conducted on the effectiveness of BCAAs and here are the top 4 findings:
- BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio of Leucine, Isoleucine and valine hold significant back up studies. Other BCAAs do not have the same amount of support. There are only minimal studies of BCAAs with different ratios and these are not well documented. Put simply, a ratio of 2:1:1 in a BCAA formula is what you should be looking for.
- Over a 12 week period studies have shown that use of BCAAs on training days significantly increase levels of recovery and lean tissue.
- Most, if not all, studies conducted targeted men between the ages of 20-40. One group was given a placebo and the other group was provided with BCAAs in the aforementioned ratio. After a 12 week training routine (focusing on weight training/resistance work), the placebo group witnessed a 0.5g increase of lean tissue with no noticeable feeling of greater recovery. The group provided with BCAAs gained an average of 1.4kg of lean tissue. Yes, that’s correct – 1.4kg of lean muscle in a 12 week period! Not just weight gain but pure muscle gain. This group also noted that they felt better rested and recovered. Both groups underwent the same training routine and neither group knew if they were taking the real BCAAs or a placebo.
- The group taking the real BCAAs were convinced they were not taking a placebo during many stages of the study as they consistently felt energised beyond standard energy levels, particularly when consuming the BCAAs during their workout routines.
BCAAs have become increasing popular with novice, intermediate and trained athletes. Increasing performance is one of the major goals that most aim to achieve and BCAAs seem to assist greatly. Don’t forget that extra lean muscle tissue also allows you to remain leaner due to the metabolic effect that it has on the body’s systems; burning more calories and maintaining greater levels of energy. Always look for BCAAs with a 2:1:1 ratio of active ingredients and low sugar levels and you’ll surely be on your way to greater gains.