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What's the Deal with BCAAs?

By Adam Galuszka
December 7, 2015

Let’s start with amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of the body, responsible for creating hair, nails, skin, organs, etc. They play a role in the the synthesis of almost everything in the body and also play a large role in the production of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and red and white blood cells. Because our body cannot naturally produce all the amino acids that is needs, we must get some of those amino acids through our diet. The way we get amino acids in our diet is by eating protein. Protein is broken down by the body into amino acids. There are a couple of amino acids that are very important in protein synthesis, BCAAs. BCAAs stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids. In BCAAs there are three important amino acids that are proteinogenic: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Proteinogenic amino acids are the precursors to proteins and are incorporated into proteins during translation. Translation is the process in which cellular ribosomes create proteins. This translation process occurs in the cells cytoplasm. The proteinogenic amino acids found in BCAAs are three of the nine essential amino acids and are key players in the synthesis of of muscle proteins. Essential amino acids are not synthesized by the body so the must be gotten through food. It is well known that BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis and can even increase the rate at which protein is synthesized. In addition to helping with protein synthesis BCAAs also help to slow the rate at which protein in broken down. They accomplish this by mainly decreasing the activity of certain components of the protein breakdown pathway. So long story short, BCAAs are very important for protein synthesis and can be utilized before and after a workout. By having BCAAs both before and after a workout you keep your body anabolic (building phase). A great BCAA product on the FeedX is Optimum Nutrition.