All You Need to Know About BCAA – Uses, Benefits and Side Effects

You might be surprised to know that there are 20 different types of amino acids responsible for making thousands of different proteins in human body. 9 out of those 20 amino acids are considered to be essential amino acids. This means that they cannot be made by your body and should be obtained through diet. One of the nine essential amino acids, BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acid) consisting of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

Branched chain is the chemical structure of BCAAs that are found in protein-rich food such as meat, eggs, and other dairy products. They are also sold in powder form as dietary supplement. Extend BCAA can be shopped online if you require this amino acid as a regular part of your diet. Let us learn about its uses, benefits, and side effects.

Uses of BCAA

BCAAs are really effective in boosting the immune system and have a positive impact on the health of gut. It is beneficial for both athletes and non athletes. Some people use BCAAs as a supplement to prevent fatigue. It also enhances the concentration. BCAAs are also used in medical treatments for treating numerous disorders like McArdle’s disease and anorexia.

BCAA supplements are also used to slow muscle wasting in people who are confined to the bed. It is also the effective treatment for poor appetite in patients suffering from cancer or kidney failure.

Top Benefits of BCAA

BCAA has numerous benefits associated with it. Some of the top benefits associated with it are as follows:

Increases Muscle Growth

BCAAs are used as a popular supplement to enhance muscle growth. Leucine present in BCAA activates a certain pathway in the body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis. This in turn increases the muscle growth. In a study, it was found that people consuming a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs after resistant workout had 22% greater increase in muscle protein synthesis as compared to people who consumed placebo drink.

This increase in muscle protein synthesis is approximately 50% less than what was observed in the studies when people consumed whey protein shake containing similar amount of BCAAs. Though BCAAs can increase the muscle protein synthesis, it cannot do it alone. Other amino acids are equally needed by our body.

Decrease Muscle Soreness

Researchers have also found that BCAAs also help in decreasing muscle soreness after a workout. It is not uncommon to feel sore if your exercise routine is new. This soreness is known as delayed onset muscle soreness that develops 12 to 24 hours after the exercise and can last for 72 hours. People consuming BCAAs have shown less muscle damage after the workout as compared to non-consumers of BCAAs.

Reduce Exercise Fatigue

BCAAs help you decrease muscle soreness after the exercise, it also helps you to reduce the exercise-induced fatigue. Every one of us experience fatigue and exhaustion from exercise at some point of time. Your muscles use BCAAs during the exercise making the levels in your blood to decrease. As the blood levels of BCAAs decline the levels of tryptophan (essential amino acid) increases in your brain.

The tryptophan is then converted to serotonin inside the brain, which is the brain chemical leading to development of fatigue during the exercise. So, consuming BCAAs will help you improve mental focus during the exercise which is due to the fatigue reducing effect of BCAAs.

Prevent Muscle Wasting

BCAAs also help in preventing muscle breakdown. The muscle proteins are constantly rebuilt after breaking down. The balance between the muscle protein breakdown and synthesis determines the amount of protein in the muscle. The breakdown or wasting of muscle occurs when the protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis.

Muscle wasting is also the sign of malnutrition and can also occur with chronic infections. BCAAs account for 35% of essential amino acids in humans. It is really important that BCAAs and other essential amino acids are replaced during muscle wasting to slow its progression.

Side Effects of BCAA

BCAAs are generally harmless and many experts suggest that daily consumption of BCAA increases their effectiveness. However, anything if used in excess can yield negative results. The effects of extreme BCAA consumption can be loss of coordination, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and increased insulin resistance. So be wise and limit the consumption of BCAAs whenever you start feeling these signs.