Last week we began our BCAA adventure. If you haven’t read it already, take a look at the first part here. I’m sure you all were waiting with bated breath for the finale of our BCAA experience!
Wait no longer. We will continue today with a rather interesting study. This study appeared to contain promising results. It indicates that the supplement containing BCAAS outperforms the carbohydrate-only drink and the whey protein drink used by some of the participants. In fact, this study showed a significant increase in strength in the exercises performed, a decrease in body fat, and a significant increase in lean muscle mass when using the BCAA containing supplement. These results also imply that BCAA supplementation would be superior to the Carbohydrate-only and whey protein drink.
How wonderful! So BCAAS are the gym-goers dream drink!
This study was funded by a company with vested interest in this particular product. Scivation, which makes the BCAA supplement Xtend. Even though it was not outright stated in the study, “The BCAA containing supplement” would likely have been their product, Xtend. In that case, it would mean that the BCAAS were not isolated, and in fact were used in combination with L-Glutamine and L-Citrulline as well as Vitamin B6. Unfortunately, due to bias as well as being confounded with L-glutamine and L-citrulline, it is hard to take this study into consideration. It’s unfortunate because the study showed some great promise with BCAA supplementation.
If you would like, Examine.com has over 100 references to BCAA related studies at the bottom of this page.
Well, so far the research shows a big whoppin’ “maybe.” Unfortunately, downing an obscene amount of BCAAS does not equate to more muscles. It appears that they do not enhance athletic performance, but they can aid in muscle recovery.
There also seems to be a minor anti-fatigue effect, which I mentioned in the previous post. Though, it seems to primarily benefit those who are new or lightly trained. It appears to be much more beneficial to those who do not have a high intake of BCAAS in their diet.
If you are still considering purchasing BCAAS, you could try just supplementing with Leucine instead. Isoleucine and Valine appear to not be nearly as necessary when supplementing with BCAAS. In fact, it may be more cost-effective for you to just purchase Leucine by itself, instead of with Isoleucine and Valine.
Although, if you end up trying this out, Leucine tastes kind of like a pile of burning garbage. So it might be better to go with something that has a not-so-crappy taste to it.
Now, how should you take it?
According to examine.com, the dosage of leucine should be 2-10 grams. For a combination dose, 20 grams with a balanced ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine should do the trick. The optimal dosage of Valine requires more research.
You could use a high dose of BCAAS prior to exercising as it could potentially stave off fatigue, as that may be more beneficial than taking it during the workout. A decent dose after the workout could help stimulate muscular recovery.
If this leaves you with the question about how much you should take for your personal workout, email me and I’ll be happy to answer.
For those who consume sufficient amounts within your diet, supplementation may not be necessary. If you are consuming plenty of BCAA rich foods, such as meats, eggs, and dairy, they may not be necessary for you.
Thank you for reading my BCAA series. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have some time go ahead and send me an e-mail. I would love to hear from you and would appreciate any feedback!
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