Valine , leucine and isoleucine are three essential amino acids that belong to the group of amino acids with branched side chains, or BCAAs.
From the article you will learn
- About each of the three amino acids in BCAAs
- How much BCAA you need to take every day
- What foods do BCAAs contain?
BCAAs play an important role in the metabolism and are actively used in the treatment of liver cirrhosis, as well as in intensive care. BCAAs are a popular and widely available sports supplement. She is especially known in bodybuilding and other sports that require muscle growth. BCAAs are classified as essential amino acids , as they cannot be synthesized in the body, and therefore must be ingested with food containing protein.
A branched chain amino acid, valine
, is used in industry for the fermentation of alcoholic beverages, and it is also the basis of many important enzymes. Valine contributes to the process of energy production in the body, which means it plays an important role in building strength and muscle mass. Valine-rich foods are popular with athletes, especially bodybuilders who try to accelerate muscle growth (hypertrophy), increase strength, performance and speed.
Leucine plays a central role in the metabolism of muscle tissue and, therefore, contributes to its formation and preservation. It is an important “building material” for many proteins, which means it supports various processes related to recovery. Adults should consume 10-50 mg of leucine per kilogram of body weight. However, its deficiency may be caused by a lack of vitamin B6 .
Likewise, isoleucine , which is especially important during periods of intense training or severe hunger, plays a key role in providing energy to muscle tissue.
If isoleucine is not present in the blood in sufficient quantities, then the body will begin to consume its reserves, which will inevitably lead to a decrease in leucine levels and a decrease in muscle mass. This effect should be avoided by athletes who seek to build muscle.
11 Benefits of BCAAs
- BCAA accelerates muscle protein synthesis to increase hypertrophy (growth) and maintain muscle volume in the absence of training, for example, during recovery from injuries. This is especially active when BCAAs are used together with amino acids such as alanine, aspartate and glutamic acid.
- The BCAA complex, enriched with leucine, helps build muscle in older athletes. The most effective ratio of leucine to valine and isoleucine is considered 4: 1.
- BCAA activates the process of burning fat (leucine) and increases glucose tolerance (isoleucine), thereby improving body composition. During fat burning training, an athlete should increase the intake of foods and supplements with a high BCAA content.
- BCAAs improve hormonal balance by increasing strength, performance, and stamina by increasing testosterone levels and lowering cortisol levels. Plus, BCAAs can reduce inflammation.
- If you consume more than 4 g of BCAA per day, the development of strength during training improves due to an effective increase in neuromuscular coordination.
- BCAAs increase stamina and reduce fatigue, because it can be used by the body as an energy source to replenish ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy carrier in the cell. It also reduces fatigue by inhibiting tryptophan repressors in the brain.
- BCAA preserves the integrity of muscle fibers, which reduces muscle soreness and allows you to exercise more often, more effectively revealing sports potential.
- BCAAs reduce catabolism (destruction) by protecting muscle tissue. It also prevents muscle loss during sports that require stamina, when the level of BCAAs in the blood plasma can be significantly reduced.
- BCAAs have a positive effect on metabolism and insulin production, improving body composition. Insulin sensitivity can also lower your risk of developing diabetes.
- BCAAs have anti-aging effects because they accelerate the formation of new mitochondria and thus reduce age-related loss of muscle mass. Also, these amino acids have been successfully used in the treatment of cancer and liver diseases.
- BCAAs improve cognitive function by positively affecting neurotransmitters and glutamic acid synthesis.
High BCAA Products
Branched chain amino acids are three of eight essential amino acids. They are mainly found in protein-rich foods. With a balanced and healthy diet, you should not have any problems with meeting the daily minimum nutrient needs of the body. However, some factors can radically increase these needs; therefore, it is possible that supplementation is necessary.
Keep track of nutrition
For example, the “Flash Diet” dramatically reduces the body’s BCAAs that need to be replenished immediately to avoid muscle damage. BCAAs in this case will help with the support and restoration of muscle tissue.
Liver diseases and high-intensity training also increase the need for leucine, valine and isoleucine, so athletes and patients should regularly take them in high quantities.
What types of meat are rich in BCAAs?
Products especially rich in leucine are: beef (approx. 1690 mg / 100 g), raw salmon (approx. 1615 mg / 100 g), eggs (approx. 1090 mg / 100 g) and wheat products (approx. 920 mg / 100 g).
Valine and isoleucine are also found in significant quantities in meat and other products of animal origin. Dried peas (approx. 1160 mg / 100 g), as well as walnuts (approx. 750 mg / 100 g) with their high BCAA content are especially suitable for vegetarians.
Those who eat meat can get most of the minimum daily amount of BCAAs by eating chicken breast (approx. 1220 mg / 100 g) and rice (approx. 330 mg / 100 g). A healthy adult needs about 10 g of BCAA per day, but this amount, of course, can vary depending on each specific case.
If you regularly play sports, then you should think about taking either BCAA in its pure form, or in combination with whey protein.
The aminoacidstudies website has compiled the top 7 proteins to facilitate the process of choosing the right product for you.
Unlike most amino acids , BCAAs are metabolized primarily in the muscles, not the liver. This indicates their extreme importance in the process of providing energy to muscle tissue.
BCAAs are also useful in the treatment of diseases associated with decreased levels of protein in tissues, such as tumors, as it slows down the natural catabolism and breakdown of amino acids. In chronic liver diseases, the intake of a sufficient amount of BCAAs becomes critical , since it is able to stop the flow of harmful substances from the blood into the brain.
In particular, leucine plays an important role in the formation and preservation of muscle tissue , supporting protein synthesis in the muscles and liver, as well as stopping the destruction of muscle cells. In addition, it regulates the energy level in the body and participates in the synthesis of glucose, so its supplies must be replenished if you follow a low-carb diet.
Valine is an important element in protein biosynthesis and the proper conversion of food into energy. It is an important nutrient for muscles , and therefore is regularly used by professional athletes.
Stimulation of insulin production
Another important property of this organic compound is the stimulation of the production of insulin , which controls blood sugar and accelerates the absorption of amino acids in the muscles and liver. A lack of valine in the body can lead to impaired growth and a decrease in muscle tissue.
Isoleucine is also an important basis for protein synthesis and can significantly enhance the process of energy production in mitochondria (energy stations of each cell). BCAAs also stimulate insulin secretion and constantly maintain nitrogen levels in the body.
This is especially important for the formation of new tissues, and provides an opportunity for healthy growth, especially in childhood and adolescence. In very rare cases of an overdose, these amino acids are easily excreted by the body through urine and do not cause any side effects.
BCAAs can be used to effectively treat certain diseases , because they play a significant role in many important metabolic processes. Leucine and valine are especially important, which has been proven by many scientific studies in the past.
Fight with age
Not so long ago, a study was conducted of the effect of supplements with leucine on protein synthesis in old age. The test group consumed 4 g of leucine per day with food. As a result, it was proved that improving protein synthesis, as well as phosphorylation of certain transmitters, which play an important role in nutrition, is a direct consequence of the regular use of leucine in the form of additives.
Thus, a set of muscle mass is very significant not only for bodybuilders , but also for older people who want to lead an active lifestyle, not give in to the aging process and use supplements in accordance with their metabolic needs.
Another study conducted in 2010 showed the relationship between daily BCAA intake and individual body weight, based on BMI (body mass index). In particular, it was proved that a high concentration of BCAAs correlates with a low fat content in the body, which means that the corresponding dose of this supplement has an extremely positive effect on the overall health of a person.
BCAAs and amino acids in general play an important role in the process of healthy and sustainable weight loss.
In addition, it has been demonstrated that a lack of BCAAs can contribute to diabetes . The same study showed that the additional intake of leucine , valine and isoleucine can stimulate the production of insulin in diabetics, resulting in an improvement in the general condition of patients.
Similar results were obtained in studies studying the relationship between arginine, L-carnitine, and diabetes.
Is it beneficial to take BCAA during exercise instead of plain water?
Does supplementation with amino acids during class really help improve results? It depends on your goals.
I am often asked if I really need to drink extra BCAA. Despite their delicious taste, the answer ultimately comes down to two things: the type of exercises you do and your goals in fitness and bodybuilding.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are made up of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are considered "necessary" because our body cannot produce them on its own, so they must be consumed with food. Of course, you can eat foods that are rich in amino acids - chicken, beef and eggs, but the supplement has its advantages, because pure BCAAs bypass the liver and intestines and enter directly into your bloodstream.
BCAAs are especially important for people who want to build muscle or maintain muscle mass. BCAAs, especially leucine, help regulate protein metabolism, promoting muscle protein synthesis and suppressing protein breakdown.
But is this reason enough to take a serving before training? The answer is a little trickier.
BCAA: A Scientific Approach
Research has shown that pre-workout BCAAs can help increase protein synthesis, suppress muscle protein breakdown, and reduce muscle damage and fit symptoms. Sounds pretty impressive right?
But these results do not necessarily prove an increase in strength or muscle mass when taking BCAAs. If your training goal is to increase power and strength, and you are already satisfying your daily protein needs with high-protein foods and protein shakes, then additional BCAAs will most likely not help you.
However, do not throw your shaker away yet! BCAAs may not stimulate muscle hypertrophy on their own, but by taking 6–10 grams before training, they can help increase your weight so much that you stimulate muscle growth and return to the gym sooner, as it will also speed up your recovery.
In addition, BCAAs are used as a direct source of energy during exercise. A decrease in circulating levels of BCAA leads to an increase in the concentration of serotonin in the brain, which, according to researchers, partially helps to reduce fatigue during exercise. This is especially true for endurance exercises.
Adding a spoon or two BCAAs to your drink during exercise can also be helpful if you follow a low-carb diet or work out in a hungry diet because they can reduce fatigue and increase fat burning during exercise, when your muscles are glycogen deficient. .
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are essential for the human body and play an important role in hypertrophy and muscle maintenance . They have a positive effect on the formation of various tissues, healing and metabolic processes through protein synthesis in the liver.
Walnuts and corn (as plant sources), meat, milk and eggs are best suited to cover the daily requirement for amino acids. If the body does not receive the minimum amount of valine , leucine and isoleucine , which can often occur among professional athletes, then this disadvantage can be easily compensated by the use of supplements, which are also useful for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as diabetes.
The most important thing is to consume supplements during periods of very intense training, which will help build muscle.
BCAAs should also be taken during a diet for weight loss, in order to prevent muscle atrophy, as the body may lack certain nutrients during this period. Most diets involve consuming vital nutrients such as amino acids, including valine, leucine and isoleucine, which is why it is highly recommended that they be used for healthy and sustainable weight loss.
Based on: aminoacidstudies.org/bcaa/