You may have fallen fast asleep in your high school chemistry labs, dangerously close to the Bunsen burner, but this article will not put you to sleep! Although “branched chain amino acids” sounds like rocket science or the ingredients for an afternoon nap, you are actually going to love this science lesson. Why? Because it will teach you about boosting muscle growth and enhancing athletic performance. This is science that will directly affect those of you who are interested in bodybuilding and athletics. This is science you can put to the test and actually see the effects! But let’s start out with the basics and then move on to discuss what you can expect from branched chain amino acids.
What Are Branched Chain Amino Acids?
Branched chain amino acids are not some scary synthetic chemical. In fact, branched chain amino acids are already found in food. Your body obtains these essential nutrients from protein-rich foods like meat, dairy, nuts, and legumes. They are called “branched” because these amino acids come in chain-like structures. They have only recently become a bodybuilding tool. The first use of branched chain amino acids was to treat serious conditions and diseases like ALS, liver disease, and those with poor appetites due to kidney and cancer patients. This is because all these patients suffer muscle wasting degeneration. Branched chain amino acids step in here to inhibit muscle loss and or breakdown. Simply put, branched chain amino acids stimulate protein building in muscle, thus the use of them in bodybuilding supplements.
Branched Chain Amino Acids and Bodybuilding
There are many uses for branched chain amino acids, but I will first discuss its use for muscle building. Branched amino acids have a lot of research to back them up as muscle-building nutrients. These muscle nutrients are especially helpful for weightlifters who are also on diets. This is because dieting is catabolic; it breaks down muscle mass for the body to use as energy. This is counterproductive to lifting weight to build mass. Branched chain amino acids increase protein synthesis, so if you’re also a dieter, you won’t experience the same muscle. You’ll still lose body fat, but not the muscle tissue that you’re working hard to build. The evidence is scant on this last part, but branched amino chains may also boost workout intensity. Some think that it increases serotonin in the brain, making you more positive, energetic, and down to get ripped.
Other Uses For Branched Chain Amino Acids
The reason why people are now using branched chain amino acid supplements for building muscle is the same as previous uses. These amino acids help nourish bodies, and especially muscles, so it is natural that some patients require branched chain amino acids. For example, patients of anorexia and other diseases that affect muscles are often given branched chain amino acids to aid nourishment and make sure they don’t lose muscle and protein nutrients. There are several uses for which branched chain amino acids still need to be researched. These kinds of supplements are generally safe to take, but it is still best to check with a doctor to make sure.