What Are BCAA's?
Naturally, BCAA's make up 35% of our muscle mass. In addition to building cells and repairing tissue, they are part of our enzyme & hormonal systems and form antibodies, build RNA and DNA and carry oxygen throughout the body.
More than 20 amino acids are needed to build muscle, red blood cells, and hundreds of other molecules that sustain life. Our bodies can produce all but 8-10 amino acids, so the rest need to be obtained through a BCAA supplement.
The Function of BCAA's
BCAA's combine simpler amino acids to form a complex whole muscle tissue. In this action, BCAA's stimulate production of insulin, the main function of which is to allow circulating blood sugar to be taken up by the muscle cells and used as a source of energy. Especially during intense weight training, amino acid content is being rapidly depleted.
When and How Much To Take
Generally, you should take 4-8 grams before and after your workouts. I use flavorless BCAA's from Slap Nutrition which are great! Pre workout, I mix them with 8 ounces of water and a shot (or 2) of flavored water enhancers (I like Crystal Light). Then, post workout, I mix another scoop in with my SLAP protein powder and 8 ounces of water. Taking them after a workout with a meal or recovery drink will help speed up the replacement of BCAA's in the muscles, and make your muscles recover faster.
BCAA's are the building blocks of muscle. They're already found in our bodies and will only help supplement workouts. I hope this helps clear up some myths about BCAA's. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me, or send an email!