Do I need BCAA supplements to build muscle?
Branched-chain Amino Acids are essential amino acids that are important for protein synthesis.
There are three BCAAs, namely: Valine, Isoleucine, and Leucine.
We normally get them from high-protein diets.
For example, if you already frequently take beans, eggs, fish, meats or protein shakes, you are more likely than not already consuming plenty of BCAAs.
BCAAs have been shown to improve strength, boost energy, increase muscle growth and promote recovery.
More importantly for our article is the fact that they increase muscle growth.
They do this in several ways.
First of all, the building blocks of needed for muscle tissue-synthesis.
Second, they increase protein absorption. Third, they provide the energy needed for protein synthesis.
From these statements alone it is clear that BCAAs are important for muscle building.
However, there is a study that has put that fact into question. (We share the top 9 bcaa brands voted for our readers here.)
One particular study concluded that adding Leucine to diet does not in any way enhance exercise performance whether taken before or after exercise.
The exercise in question was anaerobic running. Most online blogs and publications that say BCAA doesn’t help build muscle often cite this study.
However, the study only focused on one BCAA. Thus, its conclusion cannot be regarded as conclusive for the other BCAAs or when all the three BCAAs are taken as a whole.
What’s more, exercise performance is not exactly muscle building, is it?
Luckily, you don’t have to rely on my rebuttal alone. There are several studies that have also concluded contrary to the above-mentioned study.
One such study is this one that found that individuals were able to gain and maintain lean muscle mass when taking BCAAs. The individuals were in the study were under a low-calorie diet.
This study is proof that BCAAs are needed for muscle building.
Furthermore, another study has shown that BCAAs improve the rate of muscle synthesis by at least 22%.
When combined with whey protein, BCAAs were shown to more than double the rate of muscle synthesis, according to the study.
The researchers explained the observation by stating that even though BCAAs increase muscle metabolism, they didn’t cause as much growth in isolation because they are not best suited for muscle building.
Stacking BCAA supplements with whey protein, on the other hand, produced much better results.
This, the researchers explained, is due because the increased demand for extra protein due to increased muscle synthesis is met by the extra whey protein.
These conclusions provide hope for muscle builders who would like to experience the benefits of adding BCAAs to their diets.
Lastly, BCAAs prevent protein breakdown.
They do this by reducing activity along the protein breakdown pathway. This is key for building muscle because it helps you keep the gains you make.
BCAAs are needed for muscle gains. However, you probably need to use them as part of a wider mass building supplements stack to reap maximum benefits.
Make sure you include whey protein for better results.