We know for a fact that protein is without a doubt the most important component of our daily nutrition, when the goal is optimal recovery and performance.
That fact is even embossed in the name of the macronutrient.
Protein is derived from the Greek word "Proteios", meaning "Primary".
If you have basic knowledge about protein, you'd know that the building blocks of protein are called "Amino acids".
There are 20 different amino acids that make up proteins, 9 of which are essential amino acids (EAAs), which the body can't produce on its own.
Proteins are basically amino acids, connected with peptide bonds.
When we eat protein-containing foods, the body breaks down those peptide bonds and releases the amino acids into the bloodstream, from where they go to the designated locations.
And here comes the question:
What if we isolate the amino acids and skip the digestion process by buffering the peptide bonds? Will this speed up recovery?
In this article, we will go in depth on the most common questions regarding BCAA/EAA products.
What are BCAA/EAAs?
As we already learned, there are 20 amino acids that make up proteins, and nine of them are essential amino acids (EAAs).
Out of those nine, three are branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)
Leucine, isoleucine and valine are the three branched chain amino acids.
An interesting fact is that about 40% of the essential amino acids in the body are, in fact those three!
Additionally, specifically in muscle tissue, these 3 make up a big portion of the essential amino acids.
BCAAs are essential amino acids with a branched structure, which can only be derived from food.
Though the body can't produce them on its own, it needs them to facilitate a variety of recovery functions and retain active tissue. (Stay fed and supplemented!)
Benefits of BCAA/EAAs
Each of the essential amino acids, when taken separately, has certain properties and functions in the body.
However, when 2 or more of them are combined, we get a synergistically enhanced effect.
In sports literature, it is considered that the different ratios of the 3 BCAAs are what will ultimately determine the end result.
There are a couple of well-known combinations, widely used in BCAA formulas.
#1 - 2:1:1 ratio
This first combination is perhaps one of the most common ones, which have been proven to work.
The ratios of the 3 amino acids here allows for muscle protective properties, which is always a plus.
#2 - 8:1:1 ratio
The second combination is fairly new and focuses around mTOR stimulation.
This stimulation sets off a flurry of anabolic and anti-catabolic processes, which enhance recovery.
#3 - 4:1:1 Ratio
Our third combination is the second most common one and again, revolves around mTOR stimulation, which regulates muscle growth and recovery.
#4 - Isolated Leucine
The last option comes in the form of isolated leucine, which has been shown to be the only anabolic amino acid out of all three.
However, whether isolated leucine is superior or not is yet to be cleared out, as in many studies it seems that leucine works better in synergy with the other essential amino acids (EAAs).
mTOR positively affects cell growth by promoting many anabolic (constructive) processes, such as muscle protein synthesis (MPS), and by also limiting catabolic (destructive) processes.
Frequently asked questions
Do BCAAs help muscle growth?
One of the main reasons many of us take supplements, is to enhance our muscle building effect and potential.
And so, this is one of the most common questions about BCAAs - Do they actually enhance muscle growth?
Well, in fact there was a study, conducted in 2017, which researched the effects of BCAAs on myofibrillar hypertrophy.
Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the growth of the muscle fibers that make up each muscle group.
The study suggests that there is indeed a positive effect on muscle growth, but it is negligible.
It appears that BCAAs are far more effective when paired with the other 6 essential amino acids, thus making BCAA-only formulas far less effective.
Spoiler alert: We are about to show you the ultimate BCAA/EAA formula in just a second...
What is the recommended dose?
The recommended dose of BCAAs varies from person to person, workout to workout as well as your total daily protein intake.
Remember that BCAAs/EAAs are in fact the building blocks of protein which you'd otherwise get from food.
All of these factors point us at about 20 to 40 grams, split in even doses and taken either before and after training, or before, after and during training.
If your total daily protein requirement is 180g and you consume 30g of BCAAs, you have to get the other 150g from food.
The wide range of 20-40 grams can be utilized according to the size of the muscle group you are training.
If for example, you are only training smaller muscle groups, you would be on the lower spectrum of that range.
Do BCAAs help muscle soreness?
One of the lesser known facts is that BCAAs & EAAs are in fact best at improving delayed onset muscle soreness.
While that is not necessariuly an anabolic effect, it will improve your growth by allowing you to do more frequent pain-free workouts.
This in turn realizes the main principle of fitness training, namely proigressive overload.
Progressive overload is the training principles that implies a gradual increase in the demand upon the musculature. (Increasing reps, sets, frequency or even decreasing rest times between sets)
Gain-O-Rade - The perfect BCAA/EAA formula
We know for a fact that EAAs are effective and this is exactly why we have created a product, based on all 9 essential amino acids.
Our BCAA/EAA blend will allow you to maximize your athletic output and prevent muscle fatigue.
The 4 Pillars
Gain-O-Rade was carefully formulated to create synergistic effects between the 9 EAAs and other ingredients.
Here is what makes this product stand out:
Gain-O-Rade comes in three mouthwatering flavors:
- 1Leg Day Limeade: The delicious sour lime flavor will not just make you go crazy on your leg days, but will also help you go crazy on your baloon method workouts.
- 2GraperMelon Gains: This anabolic mix of candy grape and sweet watermelon will leave you with goosebumps upon every sip.
- 3Tropic Thunder: Last but not least, we have the powerfully tasty pineapple flavor that ceases muscle fatigue and soreness, allowing you to go max intensity during every workout!
Proteins and amino acids seem to be of prime importance when the task at hand is optimal recovery and athletic performance.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) seem to work best in combination with the other 6 essential amino acids, thus facilitating anabolic (constructive) processes.
BCAA/EAA supplements will not replace daily nutrition but are a viable addition to your supplement arsenal.
If you are interested in learning more about proper nutrition, have a look at our calorie calculator page, where every valuable advice on both weight gain and loss, can be found.
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
I created SuperHuman You to give you access to the most cutting edge information so you can reach your body goals as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve been obsessed with training since 2005 when I attended IMG Academy and got to train alongside NBA, NFL and Olympic Gold Medal winning athletes.
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