Your Guide for Healthy Living
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and Their Role In Fitness
If you are working out regularly and have read articles on sports nutrition, you may well have encountered the term “BCAA” or even had it recommended by your trainer. Questions I get are, “what are these, and what do they do?”, “does everyone need them?”, and “are people of a certain age more needful than others of these products?”
Amino acids are molecules that are found in proteins, both meat and vegetarian sources, and are the essential building blocks for many functions in the body. Certain amino acids, because of their particular molecular structure, are referred to as “branched-chain.” They are generally considered to be excellent sources for muscle growth, maintenance, and strength.
While a protein-rich diet contains these branched-chain amino acids, it cam be hard to keep up with the body’s demand while in an athletic training program. Additionally, loss of hormones as we age can lead to “sarcopenia,” which is general loss of muscle density. Getting enough protein in the diet to sustain muscle strength on a daily basis may be difficult, hence the need for supplementation.
Good quality whey protein is an excellent source of all amino acids, including the branched-chain group, which is why I recommend it for anyone in an exercise training program. In addition, however, when strenuous workouts are taking place, both in the competitive arena and with individuals striving to become more fit, a BCAA supplement is of huge benefit. These are often combined with other nutrients to help build the mitochondria, which are the energy sources of all muscle cells.
Adding this to your supplement regimen can make significant differences in your performance and overall well-being! If you are vegan, you can still utilize BCAA by substituting a pea- or hemp-based protein powder.
These can easily be found on Wellevate. Here are the ones I recommend:
- Klean Athlete – Klean Isolate – Whey Protein
- Klean Athlete – Klean BCAA + Peak ATP
- Sunwarrior – Warrior Blend – Vegan-Friendly Protein