BCAA ? for boosting muscle growth and performance
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) is one of the ?must take? supplements for building muscle. The three proteinogenic BCAAs are among the nine essential amino acids for humans, accounting for 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins and 40% of the preformed amino acids required by mammals1. Among the proteinogenic amino acids, there are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. It is therefore hardly a surprise to hear that the BCAA?s are vital for optimal muscle growth, endurance and the reduction in muscle soreness.
Leucine for mTORc muscle growth.
The anabolic potential of leucine has been attributed to its capacity to stimulate translation initiation both dependently and independently of the mTORc signalling pathway. Interestingly, aging has been associated with impairment of nutrient-sensing signalling pathways. However, studies show that the postprandial phosphorylation of mTORc, and its downstream effector p70S6K, was more pronounced following long term leucine supplementation2. In addition to its effects on muscle protein synthesis, there is some evidence suggesting that leucine augments glucose-induced insulin secretion. In animal models, chronic leucine supplementation improved insulin sensitivity despite the consumption of a high-fat diet3. As we age, it becomes for difficult for us to maintain and gain muscle mass. Leucine supplementation increases the potential for muscle protein synthesis in older adults and may make an otherwise insufficient or marginal quantity of meal-derived protein more biologically available for muscle tissue growth and repair.4
The BCAA and the benefits during training
It is well documented that exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) decreases muscle function and causes soreness and discomfort. We have all been there! BCAA supplementation has been shown to increase protein synthesis and decrease muscle protein breakdown, however, the effects of BCAAs on recovery from damaging resistance training needed to be clarified. Therefore, a study5?was conducted to examine the effects of a BCAA supplementation on markers of muscle damage elicited via a sport specific bout of damaging exercise in trained volunteers.