BCAA or branched chain amino acid supplements are back in vogue in the fitness and bodybuilding community. Their comeback is not by chance. There is a new research that supports the use of this supplement with claims that it is superior to all others. While working out can get you looking fit and toned, BCAA helps maintain the muscle mass that is usually lost when you workout. For this reason, it is important to know when to take BCCA supplements.

What Is BCAA?

BCAAs are amino acids (leucine, valine and isoleucine) that are essential in your diet since the body cannot produce them. The term "branched-chain" is used in reference to the supplements molecular structure, and it refers to the compounds molecular structure. Amino acids, on the other hand, are the building blocks of protein which is necessary for energy production. You need this energy when working out.

BCAAs are normally used for the treatment of conditions of the brain brought about by liver disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, cancer patients and the elderly who are confined to bed rest. There are also people who use BCAAs to improve concentration and prevent fatigue. They are also widely used to improve performance during exercise and to reduce the breakdown of muscles.

When to Take BCAA

One of the key considerations you need to make is when to take BCAAs. If you want to gain muscle energy and strength you should take BCAAs around workouts. It is advisable to take one dose about 30 minutes to your workout along with your carbs and protein shake. Take the next dose 30 minutes after working out along with your carbs and protein shake. Taking BCAAs in this way helps to keep your cortisollevels low as you exercise, which supports better muscle growth. The dose you take prior to your workout provides your muscles with the energy required to keep off fatigue throughout the session. Taking BCAAs also helps decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which occurs when you train intensely.

You can also make a point of taking BCAAs as the first thing in the morning. The aminos stop the breakdown of muscle as they are used as fuel and for repair. Moreover, taking BCAAs along with dinner or your last meal for the day is a good choice, too. This helps keep up GH and protein synthesis while keeping cortisol down throughout the following day. You could also opt to take BCAAs in between meals to keep your hunger levels down and increase metabolism in order to burn fat faster. If you are unsure about the doses, you can always consult with your trainer on when to take BCAA supplements.

Finally, as a guideline to the dosage, you should take between 3 - 10 grams if you weigh 150lb and below, and 5 - 15 grams if you weigh over 150lb. Make sure you spread the doses throughout the day.

How Will BCAA Help You?

After understanding when to take BCAA for the best outcome, let's learn some of its benefits.

Work Out Longer

The body handles BCAAs very differently campared with how it handles normal amino acids. When you ingest amino acids, they are broken down in the liver before being used by the body. BCAAs, on the other hand, travel directly to the muscles where they are used as fuel and for muscle building and repair. The fuel allows you to work out for longer, with more intensity.


Get Stronger

Amino are the basic building blocks of muscle tissue. Muscle grows by stringing together amino acids and forming more protein. The process is called muscle protein synthesis. BCAAs help you get stronger by stimulating the protein synthesis process.


​Delay Fatigue

Taking BCAAs lowers the amount of tryptophan, the hormone which causes fatigue, getting into the grain during your workout session. For this reason, fatigue will be delayed for both the body and the brain.


Lose Fat

While BCAAs are known for building muscle, they also help with fat loss. Leucine, an amino acid found in BCAAs, causes a large drop in body fats when used as a supplement for several weeks. This is largely due to the corresponding increase in the body’s energy expenditure.

Note: There are risks associated with taking Branched-chain amino acids. You should only take BCAAs for up to 6 months. The side effects associated with the supplement include loss of coordination and fatigue.

While taking excessive amounts of protein is not harmful for healthy people, you should take lots of water as proteins can dehydrate you as they get digested.


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