Branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements are one of the most important supplements for building muscle and are a staple of any bodybuilders supplement stack. The three branched chain amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
These three amino acids cannot be produced by the body, which means they fall under the category of essential amino acids. There are 8 essential amino acids which must be obtained through dietary sources. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the most important of all of the essential amino acids. They are required for protein synthesis which means if you lack BCAAs your body will not be able to build muscle.
Luecine- of the 3 BCAAs, leucine is the most important. Leucine is the only dietary amino acid that has the capability to increase muscle protein synthesis. It slows the breakdown of muscle tissue and increases muscle synthesis. The ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine in BCAA supplements is usually 2:1:1 respectively. This is because leucine is the most important of the three. There are even supplements on the market in which the main ingredient is leucine.
Protein powder does contain branched chain amino acids and glutamine, however, it’s still important to supplement these amino acids when you’re working out because your body needs even more than you’re getting from your protein and diet. If you ask bodybuilders about the base or core of their supplement stack, they will tell you protein, glutamine, and BCAAs. Without these supplements, all other supplements are pretty much a waste of time and money.
There are protein complexes such as Optimum’s Pro Complex that do have BCAAs and glutamine added, so if you prefer to only take one supplement rather than the three a protein complex would be a good option, as well. There are also supplements that contain glutamine and BCAAs, so you don’t have to take them one at a time. Xtend by SciVation is an excellent supplement that can be used pre, intra, and post workout. It contains glutamine ad BCAA’s and it tastes great.
Best Pure BCAA Supplement:
Optimum BCAA Caps
Best BCAA Supplement That Includes Other Amino Acids: