Taking BCAAs is said to positively affect your recovery and performance in the gym, but do BCAAs work? Investing in a supplement is only worth it when the supplements provide the results they describe.
In today’s article, we’ll be looking at the studies and research associated with BCAAs to see if they actually provide consumers with the benefits described. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to decide whether BCAAs are a must in your supplement arsenal or they’re worth skipping.
What are BCAAs?
Let’s discuss what exactly BCAAs are in order to understand what benefits we can expect from the composition of these compounds. BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are essential nutrients our bodies need. People obtain BCAAs by consuming certain foods that have protein, such as: (1✔)
The three branched-chain amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They get the name “branched-chain” due to the chemical structure seen in these amino acids. The research has leucine as the most important BCAA in the trio due to its positive effects on our body’s composition. (2✔)
Uses For BCAAs
When it comes to BCAAs, most people think that consuming branched-chain amino acids is for athletes and bodybuilders seeking better gym performances. While this is true, BCAAs have other health purposes away from athletic performances.
Liver cirrhosis is scarring of the liver due to chronic liver damage, which can cause liver failure. Clinical evidence using BCAA has been observed to have benefits and improvements with patients that advanced liver disease. (3✔)
With 124 patients in the experiment, 63 in the BCAA group, and 61 in the control group, the MELD score, model for end-stage liver disease, was better for the patients being administered branched-chain amino acids. It was concluded that long-term supplementation of BCAAs could improve liver function and reduce major complications. (3✔)
A common use for BCAAs within athletes is the use to treat muscle soreness after intense training exercise. When we train or exercise our muscles, the individual fibers inside of muscles begin to wear and tear, causing delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. (4✔)
Having delayed onset muscle soreness can inhibit your performance in the gym due to the discomfort it causes. Your range of motion may be limited due to the hindering feeling inside your muscles, which cuts your time in the gym.
For this, bodybuilders and athletes take BCAAs to reduce the amount of soreness they get after their workouts. Research shows that BCAAs do, in fact, help reduce muscle soreness to get athletes back in the gym faster. (5✔)
Preserve Lean Muscle Mass
When wanting to lose weight and fat, many people need to go into a caloric deficit to achieve their body goals. However, when doing this, the chances of losing lean muscle mass get harder unless you’re consuming the right amount of protein with proper exercise. (6✔)
In a randomized experiment with seventeen resistance-trained men, certain subjects were given BCAA supplementation for eight weeks while on a hypocaloric diet. At the end of the eight weeks, the BCAA supplement group had an increase in repetitions to fatigue on the bench press. (7✔)
The results of this experiment showed just how effective BCAAs are when it comes to preserving lean muscle mass even in a caloric deficit. (7✔)
Worth The Investment?
Let’s answer the question at hand about branched-chain amino acids, do BCAAs work? From what researchers have gathered from the studies and experiments, it’s safe to say that BCAAs do, in fact, work. They provide consumers with benefits as long as the supplement is taken on a consistent basis.
However, let us discuss another aspect of the supplement worth talking about; the necessity. Do we even need to take BCAA supplementation? This simple answer here is not at all; BCAA supplements can easily be substituted.
As mentioned before, we can get our daily dose of BCAA from whole foods that are complete proteins. You can easily incorporate these foods into your daily diet and, with that, fulfill your needs for BCAAs.
Even with different supplements like whey protein, your BCAAs can still be met. Whey protein is extracted from milk, a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, including the branched-chain ones.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that with all the research and studies we have gathered, BCAAs do work. Not only do they work for athletic performances and training, but they also have clinical benefits to people with liver damage.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with comments you may have!