If you’re new to the professional fitness world you may have seen the acronym BCAA flying around, but perhaps you’re not sure what BCAA is, what it stands for or what BCAAs do. So let’s jump straight into it and give you some answers.
What does BCAA stand for?
BCAA stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acid. If you’re not much of a science buff or a nutritionist, that’s not going to mean an awful lot to you, so let us explain in basic English. BCAAs are a group of these three essential amino acids:
Don’t worry too much about what each of these three amino acids are individually. You don’t really even need to remember their names. What matters is what they do and what they’re for, which we’ll get to in just a moment.
Why are BCAAs described as ‘Essential’?
There are 21 amino acids in total, and 9 of them are classed as ‘essential’. Why? Because those 9 amino acids are the ones that the body cannot produce by itself, meaning we need to get them from our diets. The BCAA amino acids are three specific aminos that help prevent muscle protein breakdown and aid the body in storing glycogen (an important energy reservoir the body can call upon when it needs fuel).
Where can I find BCAAs naturally?
BCAA’s can be found naturally occurring in any complete protein, which will contain all 21 amino acids including BCAAs. Complete protein sources include both animal-sourced products and plant-based products, such as the following:
|Animal-sourced Products||Plant-based Products|
|Meat & Poultry||Chickpeas|
|Dairy Products||Quinoa & Whole grains|
It’s always good to know that these essential BCAAs can be absorbed through regular dietary intake, but it’s also possible to get them through the use of supplements. Athletes and sportspersons sometimes like to supplement their diets and workout regimes with BCAA supplements to get a more concentrated intake before, during and after workouts. Let’s look a little closer at just what BCAAs are used for in this context.
What are BCAAs used for?
In the fitness and sports world, BCAA supplements are often used as intra-workout support. They provide athletes and sportspersons with all the amino acids they need for their workouts. These acids are thought to help stimulate muscle protein synthesis, increase endurance and reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, and they can be taken before, during or after workouts in the form of shakes or drinks.
Extensive studies have been carried out into the effects of BCAAs. For example this study has linked the use of BCAAs to reduced muscle damage, while this study has linked it to helping the body produce energy.
Want to introduce BCAAs into your workout supplement routine?
Great news! BCAAs are incredibly easy to add to your workout supplement intake, available in a variety of flavours and formulas to suit you. Here at Kinetica Sports, for example, you can choose between our BCAA Hydro Fuel and BCAA ZERO (fat free and sugar free) supplements, both of which can be added to water and shaken to create delicious intra-workout drinks. All of our BCAA supplements have been developed by leading sports specialists and contain all three BCAAs plus electrolytes and whey protein for a complete workout boost.