17 September 2019

What are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)?

(Click 0n Nutritional Terms And Reference Numbers in Blue For More Info)

Amino acids are the ‘building blocks’ which combine to form the various proteins needed by the body for many important functions, including tissue growth and repair, and energy production.  There are 20 amino acids that make up the estimated 2 million different types of proteins. Of these 20, 9 are referred to as ‘essential’ because they cannot be produced by the body and so must be obtained from dietary sources.

Branch chain amino acids are a group of three essential amino acids comprising leucine, isoleucine and valine, which make up approximately one-third of skeletal muscle protein and account for 40% of the total amino acids required by the body. They are grouped together because they all have a branched molecular structure and perform many similar functions.

Leucine is important for Protein Synthesis and many other functions including the regulation of blood-sugar levels, growth and repair of muscle and bone tissue, Growth Hormone production, and wound healing. It also prevents the breakdown of muscle proteins after trauma or severe stress. It is leucine which provides the signal to switch from a  Anabolic State in which it begins to rebuild. The quicker your body receives this signal after training, the sooner it switches from breaking muscle down to building and repairing it to ensure a full and speedy recovery.

Isoleucine is concentrated in muscle tissues in humans and has a range of functions including regulating blood sugar and energy levels, assisting wound healing, stimulating immune function, promoting the secretion of several hormones, and Haemoglobin production. It may also help to prevent the breakdown of muscle during exercise, and so enhance recovery.

Valine plays a role in muscle growth, tissue repair, and energy production. It also maintains mental vigour, muscle coordination, and emotional calm.

What are the benefits of Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) Supplementation?

The use of BCAA supplementation is supported by numerous scientific studies which demonstrate the wide variety of performance benefits it can provide. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Increasing muscle mass (1,2,3,4,15)
  • Increasing muscular strength (4)
  • Reducing exercise induced fatigue (5,6,7)
  • Reducing post-exercise soreness (8,9,14,15)
  • Enhancing recovery after strength training (10,14,15)
  • Helping to prevent weight gain and aid fat loss (4,11,12,13)

Why use Time 4 BCAA?

Time 4 BCAA is a high strength 2:2:1 ratio of L-Leucin, L-Isoleucin, and L-Valine, which can be absorbed quickly by the body. This is essential for optimum recovery and muscle growth, especially when taken immediately before and after training.