What Are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)?
The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine. They comprise a very important group of amino acids for just about anyone, from world champion athletes to regular people. The body uses BCAAs to promote healing of injured tissues, speeding up recovery, and to protect against muscle tissue breakdown (catabolism) during exercise. BCAAs are important for developing and building muscles. Studies have shown BCAAs to be helpful in other areas as well because of what each ingredient does independently. For example, leucine is necessary for wound recovery to skin and bones and helps protect muscles; valine helps promote or maintain nitrogen balance (essential for muscular development); and isoleucine helps boost energy and is necessary for forming hemoglobin.
The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are composed of the three essential amino acids l-leucine, l-isoleucine and l-valine. 'Branched chain' refers to a chemical structure setting them apart from other amino acids. In humans, about 15-25% of total protein intake is BCAAs, and dairy products are particularly high in them. BCAAs make up 35-40% of the essential amino acids in body protein and 14% of the total amino acids in skeletal muscle. Branched-chain amino acids are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet.
Leucine is obtained by the hydrolysis of protein by pancreatic enzymes during digestion and is necessary for optimal growth in infants and children and for the maintenance of nitrogen balance in adults. Valine contributes to the structure of proteins into which it has been incorporated by the tendency of its side chain to participate in hydrophobic interactions. Isoleucine is used in the body to produce biochemical compounds that help in energy production. BCAAs are metabolized directly in the muscle. This unique quality means that they are very anabolic (they build muscle) and very anti-catabolic (they stop muscle breakdown). BCAA supplementation is used most frequently by body builders and athletes undergoing intense exercise.
Dairy products and red meat contain the greatest amounts of BCAAs. Whey protein and egg protein supplements are other sources of BCAAs. Isoleucine is found in most food sources and is particularly high in many meats, fish, and cheeses. Leucine is found primarily in high quality protein foods such as beans, brewer's yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, and corn. Food sources of valine include soy flour, cottage cheese, fish, grains, mushrooms and peanuts, meats, and vegetables.
BCAAs are currently used primarily for supplementation among strength athletes because they promote protein synthesis in muscle. BCAAs are used to provide energy and they have been shown to decrease post-workout soreness, which translates to faster recovery times even after intense and grueling trainings sessions.
BCAAs serve as important fuel sources for skeletal muscle during periods of metabolic stress. BCAAs are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle stores of glycogen. BCAAs also help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.
BCAAs have an effect on all protein metabolisms and during periods of stress are required by the body in larger amounts than any other amino acid. BCAAs may help build muscle during and following exercise by decreasing protein breakdown and increasing protein synthesis.
BCAAs are necessary for the optimal growth of infants and for nitrogen balance in adults. BCAAs are turned into muscle tissue after entering the body and being metabolized. Isoleucine is needed for hemoglobin formation and also helps to maintain regular energy levels. Isoleucine is also important for stabilizing and regulating blood sugar and energy levels and is required through the diet as it cannot be produced by the body. Leucine is necessary in promoting the healing of bones, skin, and muscle tissue. Leucine is a direct-acting nutrient signal that regulates protein synthesis in adipose tissue. In skeletal muscle, leucine stimulates protein synthesis through multiple independent mechanisms. Valine is helpful in synthesis of glucose in the liver especially during anaerobic activities.
Since BCAAs are so crucial for the proper functioning of muscle tissue, they are very popular with endurance athletes, body builders, and others looking to simply stay healthy. BCAAs are metabolized in the muscle as opposed to the liver, and because of this many body builders and athletes use BCAA supplements while undergoing intense exercise. Even light exercise can cause BCAA levels to drop quickly which leads to muscle breakdown (catabolism) and fatigue. Those in a building phase in any exercise routine or training for long periods of time will find BCAAs a good choice.
What does instantized mean?
We could explain this in very technical terms however, the main point is that BCAA’s are not, by nature soluble in liquid and therefore must be coated with a material that will allow the bulk powder to easily dissolve in a liquid. You may see some products instantized with Soy or Sunflower. Purebulk currently offers BCAA powder instantized with Sunflower.
How does BCAA taste and how should I take it?
beverage and can be sprinkled on food, but - due to the bitter taste- most people prefer to blend BCAA powder in a thick fruit puree/smoothie or shake (banana, orange juice, etc) or with their regular whey or protein supplement. You may consider consuming BCAA 30-45 minutes before a workout, or post-workout. Taking your BCAA with food can help combat feelings of nausea that may accompany larger serving sizes. Quantities larger than 400 mg of BCAA in powder form will likely be too bitter for most individuals to tolerate, regardless of whether it is taken with juice or food. BCAA Capsules may be the best option for taste-sensitive people.
Purity and Concentration of Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) Instantized
Since this is a 2:1:1 blend of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine respectively, a 500 gram or 1.1 pound PureBulk product will contain 250 grams of L-Leucine, 125 grams of L-Isoleucine and 125 grams of L-Valine. This product has been instantized with Sunflower lecithin to aid in solubility. Our product does not contain any fillers, additives or anti-caking agents. This PureBulk product is manufactured in a cGmp certified and registered facility. PureBulk's supplements are tested by accredited third party laboratories in the USA to ensure their identity, purity and potency. To receive a copy of these results or the results for any other PureBulk supplement please fill out the COA request form found here. Please use the comment box provided for any additional document requests.
How should I store it?
Store in a cool, dry area protected from light. Reseal after each use.
Potential Side Effects of Branch Chain Amino Acids
It has been reported that some experience fatigue, skin sensitivity or headaches. As with any medication or supplement, consult a physician before starting any regimen if you have a serious illness or are taking any medication, even if there are no known interactions. It may be necessary to take BCAAs in lower doses for individuals with kidney or liver disease.
Bioavailability, Mixing and Solubility of (BCAA) Instantized
This product is instantized to aid with dispersion in your favorite beverage and can be easily mixed with a spoon or shaker cup.
References & Further Research
Pubmed: Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on plasma and muscle concentrations of amino acids during prolonged submaximal exercise.
American Physiological Society: Branched-chain amino acids augment ammonia metabolism while attenuating protein breakdown during exercise
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Tested by Accredited 3rd Party Labs
This PureBulk product is manufactured in a cGMP registered facility. PureBulk's supplements are tested by accredited third party labs in the USA to ensure their identity, purity and potency. To receive a copy of these test results or any other PureBulk supplement please fill out the COA request form found here.