The human body is an incredibly complex and intelligent system that constantly functions to provide optimal health and well-being. In order for the body to function at optimal levels, it must be properly taken care of. Muscles are constantly adapting to the physical work being put on the body by either breaking down or building up. Branch chain amino acids are an important aspect of maintaining optimal function and provide numerous health benefits for all ages.
What are Branch Chain Amino Acids?
Branch chain amino acids, BCAAs, are the building blocks of the muscle composed of protein. There is a total of twenty different individual amino acids that all perform different functions but are categorized into two types: essential and non-essential. The eleven non-essential can be produced naturally within the body, while the other essential nine are obtained purely through nutrition or bcaas (branched-chain amino acid supplements). There are multiple functions of amino acids and a rundown of each can be found here. However, the top three essential amino acid muscles crave for maintenance and growth are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three are known as the branch chain amino acids.
How Do BCAAs Influence Muscles?
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are all individual in nature but work together to prevent muscle breakdown, increase stamina, and boost power. Leucine aids in the distribution of natural pain relievers, production of insulin, and repair of both skin and bone tissues. Isoleucine not only acts as one of the primary sources for muscle energy but is a fundamental component in the generation of red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for oxygen circulation within the body. Like isoleucine, the third essential branch chain amino acid valine also acts as a central source of energy for muscles but holds another duty in being responsible for the absorption of all twenty amino acids during digestion. All three of the BCAAs within the body directly affect the ability of muscles to operate optimally.
What are the Benefits of BCAAs?
BCAAs have numerous perks when taken into consideration. They have been shown to decrease unpleasant symptoms of liver disease, positively impact muscle renewal, growth, and injury, and enrich the quality of life in the elderly population. An in-depth explanation of the benefits of BCAAs within liver disease patients can be found here. Research has shown that patients struggle with low protein levels but through BCAA supplementation it can help regulate the levels and reduce symptoms. Branch chain amino acids have incredible research to support muscle maintenance and growth. The higher levels of leucine help repair muscles faster while increased valine provides improved oxygen levels to provide adequate oxygen for the high demand during muscle growth. This benefit extends to the elderly population as well. As movement declines the use and need for muscle activation declines as well, stimulating muscle loss. BCAAs provide the environment and nutrients to prevent further muscle loss allowing for more energy, decreased injury risk, and a higher quality of life.