Up Your Muscle Mass with BCAAs

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Up Your Muscle Mass with BCAAs

Pumping amino acids into your system right before you exercise has been previously found to facilitate absorption of amino into muscle. During your workouts, your muscle is like a sponge soaking up muscle building amino acids.  The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine have a distinct chemical structure which allows your muscles, rather than your liver, to metabolize them. Some clinical research surrounding BCAAs suggests an ability to increase protein synthesis and decrease muscle protein breakdown.

In fact, a study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, investigated how BCAAs impact the recovery process. Researchers found that BCAA supplementation taken before and after “damaging” resistance training reduces signs of muscle damage and accelerates recovery in resistance-trained males.

Additional research from the Journal of Nutrition indicates that supplementing with BCAAs prior to squatting may decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscular fatigue for several days after exercise.  In a 2010 study, taking a high-protein snack rich in BCAAs accelerated muscle recuperation post exercise.  Subjects consumed a high protein snack and then 60 minutes after the high protein snack ingestion, the subjects performed arm curls and extensions for 15 minutes.  The subjects raised and lowered the weights with a 3 second up and then 3 second down count. Both groups performed the same workload but they achieved in different ways. 1 protocol consisted of a high-number of sets (9 sets of 15 repetitions) with a long-interval between sets (10 s interval between sets); whereas the other group performed light-weight resistance exercise (27 sets of 5 repetitions) with short-interval with a 3-4 s interval between sets (135 exercises during 15 min, respectively).

So the difference was the lightweight group performed the exercise more frequently with more rest periods than the other group. Results were that after the high protein shake ingestion, intermittent blood volume fluctuation, which was greater in muscle tissue during the exercise pattern performed by the light-weight resistance exercise, had a greater effect on the utilization of nutritional components (BCAA, glucose) from the blood.

The researchers suggested that training with light weight where there is a large blood volume pumped into the muscle tissue with higher frequency was a more effective exercise pattern for increasing amino acid uptake into muscle and results in greater muscle nutrient utilization.

Howatson G, Hoad M, Goodall S, Tallent J, Bell PG, French DN. Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino
acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 12;9:20.

Kato Y, Numao S, Miyauchi R, Suzuki M. Effect of intermittent blood volume fluctuation of light resistance exercise after ingestion of the high-protein snacks on plasma branched-chain amino Acid concentrations in young adults. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2010;56(4):255-9.

Yoshiharu Shimomura, Yuko Yamamoto, Gustavo Bajotto, Juichi Sato, Taro Murakami, Noriko Shimomura, Hisamine Kobayashi, and Kazunori Mawatari. Nutraceutical Effects of Branched-Chain Amino Acids on Skeletal Muscle. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 529S-532S