Friday, August 12, 2011

Branched-Chain Amino Acids

I’m sure you have all heard that you should eat some form of protein after a workout, whether it is whey, a lean meat, or other sources.  The reason for this in simple is to restore the muscle after it has been broken down via exercise. Protein is made up of chemical units a.k.a building blocks called amino acids. When protein is broken down into these constitutes the body uses them to build specific proteins it needs. Thus it is the amino acids that are essential rather than the protein. In addition to the variety of amino acids there are three (isoleucine, leucine, and valine) that are called branched-chain amino acids. These particular amino acids are used to provide energy directly to muscle. Branched-chain amino acids are valuable for athletes due to their ability to enhance energy, increase endurance, and aid in healing and repair of muscle tissue.
Each of the three BCAAs (isoleucine, leucine, and valine) has different roles in the body especially in skeletal muscle.
Isoleucine: is needed for hemoglobin formation and stabilizes/regulates blood sugar and energy levels.
Food Sources: almonds, cashews, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, fish, lentils, liver, meat, rye, most seeds, and soy protein.
Leucine:  works with the other two AA to protect muscle and act as a fuel. It fosters muscle growth, lowers elevated blood sugar levels and aids in increasing growth hormone production.
                Food Sources: brown rice, beans, meat, nuts, soy flour, and whole wheat.
Valine: has a stimulant effect. It is needed for muscle metabolism, tissue repair, and proper maintenance of nitrogen balance in the body.
                Food Sources: dairy products, grains, meat, mushrooms, peanuts, and soy protein.

As you can see BCAAs play an important part in an immaculate pre, during, and post workout nutrition regimen. Research has shown ingestion of at least 5g of BCAAs before resistance training reduces muscle soreness and fatigue for several days after exercise. With all of the benefits Branched-chain amino acids reap they are ideal for any fitness regimen. So before, during, or after an intense workout why not load up on BCAAs
Have a Happy Healthy Day!
Krystal Goodman