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"BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are composed of the three essential amino acids that are most important for muscle growth and energy production."
-Article written by Ethan Wood, CPT & Registered Nutritionist
What Are Amino Acids?
Before we talk about BCAAs, it's important to understand what amino acids are and what they do for our bodies.
Amino acids are commonly referred to as the "building blocks of proteins." This is because they are required for our body to build proteins, and therefore new muscle tissue. While there are 20 amino acids, our bodies can produce many of these and certain amino acids will be more useful in specific scenarios.
In total, there are nine essential amino acids, meaning our bodies can't produce them and we must intake through diet or supplementation. A protein cannot be considered a complete source unless it contains all nine essential amino acids1.
What Are BCAAs?
Branched-Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, are composed of the three essential amino acids that are most important for building muscle. These consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
BCAAs make up a large portion of the body's total amino acid supply. While most other amino acids are processed in the liver, BCAAs are actually broken down in the muscle. This allows them to potentially play a role in energy production during intense exercise2.
They can be used by the body to help produce muscle tissue3 4, and also reduce feelings of fatigue through a reduction of serotonin production in the brain5.
What Is the Purpose of BCAA Supplementation?
Consuming a well-dosed BCAA supplement around the time of your training can increase your muscle growth potential, decrease muscle soreness, reduce exercise fatigue, and prevent muscle wasting.
Essentially, this will ensure your body has the resources it needs to repair damaged tissues and continue energy production.
These factors make supplementing with BCAAs an effective practice for improving performance and results in the gym.
When Is the Best Time to Take BCAAs?
BCAAs can be consumed at any point in the day, but the greatest benefit will be seen if dosed around the time of your training. Pre-workout, intra-workout, or post-workout are the ideal times to take BCAAs6.
What Does 2:1:1 Mean?
2:1:1 is a ratio referring to the ingredients found in our BCAA powder. This indicates that there is 2g of leucine, 1g of isoleucine, and 1g of valine in each serving. This has been shown in a number of clinical studies to be the most effective blend of amino acids when looking to benefit exercise performance and muscle growth7.