BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acid. It includes 3 amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Amino acids, essential for the functioning of the human body, are the basic "building blocks" of proteins. Over 500 different amino acids are known in nature.
9 amino acids are essential, and these cannot be produced by the human or animal body, or can only be produced in insufficient quantities.
As you can see, BCAA is one of the 9 essential amino acids.
Why is BCAA important for muscle building?
Single amino acids cna stimulate muscle protein synthesis. In this respect, leucine has the most powerful effect. Leucine is therefore a particularly important amino acid for muscle building. This is due to its action through the major regulator of protein synthesis - the enzyme mTORC1. This enzyme can be thought of as a switch that allows or inhibits the production of new proteins within a given muscle cell.
In support of this, a number of studies have been conducted which have found that BCAA supplementation can help reduce muscle loss (catabolism) and help stimulate the growth of lean muscle.
The ratios shown on BCAA supplements refer to the content of the three amino acids, with a ratio of 2:1:1 referring to the distribution of leucine:isoleucine:valine content. The higher the leucine content of the supplement, the "higher quality" the product. BCAA products with a 16:1:1 ratio are also available.
Many people don't know this, but BCAAs can also benefit our strenght levels. During training, serotonin is produced, this "hormone" makes us feel happier after training, but it also makes us feel tired during training. Serotonin is produced from tryptophan, and BCAAs compete with tryptophan to get it to the brain. Therefore, BCAA consumption before/during exercise can help to lower serotonin levels, thus reducing feelings of fatigue.
BCAAs can be used as a daytime refreshment, before and during exercise for performance enhancement or even after exercise for muscle recovery.