What to drink during training - BCAA or whey protein? Studies show that perhaps the answer is! In this article we will try to determine - bcaa or protein, which is better for weight loss.
What is better to choose - protein or bcaa
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) have become quite popular today during exercise. They are easily digested, so they enter the muscles quickly and help minimize the likelihood of a breakdown. And for people who do not like to drink plain water, they are also a more tasty option to restore the water balance in the body.
BCAAs are made up of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. It is proved that of these, leucine has the greatest positive effect on the growth and restoration of muscle mass. So the choice for BCAA is obvious? Perhaps not.
There is evidence that the synthesis of muscle proteins (an indicator of the degree of muscle stimulation) needs something more than leucine-rich BCAAs. Therefore, perhaps the best choice would be a multicomponent protein (a protein that contains all nine essential amino acids).
Understanding the Role of Leucine
In a study on rats published by the FASEB newspaper, researchers observed elevated levels of leucine in the blood even after muscle protein synthesis (SMB) returned to its original state. If muscle building is stopped while leucine is still present in the blood, then perhaps leucine alone is not enough to maximize SMB stimulation.
Creating an optimal SMB is an energy-intensive process. It has been proven that leucine optimizes maximum muscle building, but this does not mean that it also maintains it at the right level.  In other words, leucine does an excellent job at starting the SMB process. But if shortly after this, muscle building stops, then leucine is not an ideal option, especially with prolonged training. In the end, you are interested in the SMB process lasting as long as possible!
Choosing the best whey
Studies in rats and humans have shown that muscles more efficiently use “intact” leucine (found in whey protein) than free-form leucine (found in BCAA) [3,4]. This suggests that serum stimulates the BMP process better than BCAA.
In a similar study, older subjects were offered either an EAA supplement or a whey protein supplement (with the same amount of EAA). The study showed that the group that took whey protein experienced a greater balance of muscle-protein metabolism . But why did that happen?
What to consider besides leucine
Ph.D. Mike Roberts and his team at the Laboratory of Molecular and Applied Sciences at Auburn University conducted a preliminary study of the role of other bioactive compounds in whey protein in stimulating SMB. In particular, the researchers studied a phenomenon called "exosomes derived from whey protein."
Exosomes are nanoparticles in our blood, saliva, and other body fluids. Their role is to transfer protein and other compounds throughout the body. Using a sophisticated methodology, the Roberts team found that these nanoparticles have a definite positive effect on muscle protein synthesis.
“When you consume whey protein as a result of leucine, it will increase muscle protein synthesis within 1-4 hours,” says Roberts. "However, increased muscle protein synthesis may occur after this time due to exosomes contained in whey protein and stimulating this process in skeletal muscle tissue."
The right decision: protein or bcaa what to choose?
All the same, let's answer the question - bcaa or protein, which is better for losing weight? To date, there is insufficient data to conclude that a fast-acting protein, such as whey, is better than BCAA. However, studies are more indicative of this fact. If you want to maximize muscle growth or maintain it at a constant level during weight loss, whey protein is a smart solution.
What is better after training protein or bcaa?
Immediately after training, the body needs to make up for the loss of energy spent during classes in the gym. If you follow the rule of the carbohydrate window, then within 20-30 minutes after training you need to use something carbohydrate, for example, drink a gainer. But if we are engaged in order to lose weight and burn fat, then we better not eat anything so that the process of splitting fats continues. And at this point, the body needs to be given proteins to preserve muscle mass. And the faster we get ready-made amino acids, the less likely it is to break down muscle fibers for energy. From this it follows that it is better to use BCAA amino acids after training for weight loss. But I advise you to watch your body and understand what works best for you.
If you have any questions about what is better to buy protein or bcaa, ask them in the comments.
- Norton, LE, Layman, DK, Garlick, P., Brana, D., Anthony, TG, Zhao, L., ... & Walker, D. (2007). The translational control of muscle protein synthesis is delayed and extended due to food intake. The FASEB Journal, 21 (5), A714.
- Wilson, GJ, Moulton, CJ, Garlick, PJ, Anthony, TG, & Layman, DK (2012). Elongation factor 2 (eEF2) and adenosine monophosphate activated protein kinase (AMPK) reactions after eating leucine and carbohydrate supplements to regulate the duration of protein synthesis and energy homeostasis in rat skeletal muscle tissue. Nutrients, 4 (11), 1723-1739.
- Nolles, JA, Verreijen, AM, Koopmanschap, RE, Verstegen, MWA, & Schreurs, VVAM (2009). Postprandial oxidative loss of free and protein-related amino acids in the diet: interactions and adaptation. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 93 (4), 431-438.
- Katsanos, CS, Chinkes, DL, Paddon-Jones, D., Zhang, XJ, Aarsland, A., & Wolfe, RR (2008). The consumption of whey protein in the elderly leads to an increase in the accumulation of muscle protein, and not to the absorption of the essential amino acid content contained in it. Nutrition Research, 28 (10), 651-658.