Lately, we have received questions about BCAA's and how they compare to EAA's. In this blog we will jump straight into what they are and why/why not you should be using them.
BCAA's or Branched-Chain Amino Acids (valine, leucine, and isoleucine) are simply 3 of the 9 essential amino acids needed by the body to repair and grow muscle. These 3 amino acids account for 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins. Leucine is an stimulants anabolism for muscle cells, both leucine and isoleucine stimulate fat burning in muscle cells, and isoleucine in particular helps to boost glucose uptake in the muscle cell.
As their name suggests, branched-chain amino acids, are amino acids with a branched side chain. This essentially mean that these amino acids are easier to breakdown during intensive exertion. This also makes them easy for you muscles cells to convert them into energy during intensive exercise.
EAA's or Essential Amino Acids are the building blocks of muscle. When a complete protein (a protein source that contains all 9 essential amino acids) is consumed it will be broken down into single amino's during the digestion process, the amino acids are then put back together in different sequences to then be used by the body to achieve different things. The 9 essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. As you can see, they highlighted BCAA's are already part of a good quality complete protein source.
WHY or WHY NOT?
In the body building world in particular, you will often find athletes taking BCAA supplements before or during a workout to reduce catabolism (the breakdown of muscle), increase the anabolism (the building of muscle) and delay fatigue. BCAA’s interestingly are processed in your muscles rather than your liver so without the need for much digestion at all they can be used as an energy source during exercise. So, for athlete who are trying to reduce muscle breakdown BCAA's can be beneficial. In saying this, they aren't going to be as effective as consuming a good source of essential amino acids pre/post workout.
Great sources of EAA's come from many different foods and protein powders such as; quinoa, beans, certain legumes, certain nuts, peas, brown rice, spirulina, chlorella, chia seeds and flax seeds. A complete protein source is the best way to ensure effective muscle repair.
At Temple Nutrition we believe that, where possible, a diet should be built around great whole food sources. For all your whole food and superfood needs jump on www.templenutrition.com.au and buy online. Temple Nutrition stock some of the best whole food sourced protein powders and sports nutrition products on the market today.