BCAAs and Why They Matter


by Jennifer Tetrick February 01, 2017

Improve Exercise Performance and Reduce Muscle Breakdown with Branched Chain Amino Acids 

Have you ever had sore muscles? Ever experience total muscle fatigue during a race or workout? Chances are everyone here knows exactly what that feels like (so have we). It’s no fun. But it’s also part of how our bodies adapt to get stronger, leaner and faster.

At GQ6, we get excited about helping athletes achieve their optimal performance. You're putting in the hard work in your training and preparation, and we believe your body deserves the best fuel possible to achieve your goals - whatever level you're at. One of the ways we went about this was by incorporating BCAAs in our GQ6 product line (in 3:2:1 hydration base and rēküvr nite time) to support faster recovery and better results.

BCAAs: What are they anyways?

Branched chain amino acids, commonly known as BCAAs, play an important role in your body’s daily function and also have a major impact on performance, including increasing your body’s resistance to fatigue and promoting better muscle recovery. The three essential amino acids - Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine - are found naturally in protein like meat and eggs but also can be supplemented (like in 3:2:1 hydration base and rēküvr nite time).

Benefits of BCAAs: Optimize Performance

1. Promote Muscle Repair

BCAAs play an important role in protein synthesis, allowing athletes to experience better muscle function, faster repair and less muscle damage overall. This results in reduced soreness after workouts, and prolonged muscle performance when it counts, even better mental acuity and recovery. 

2. Fight Fatigue

BCAAs support better exercise performance by increasing your body’s resistance to fatigue, while preserving muscle glycogen, the energy stored in your muscles. When BCAAs are in "free-form" (like in GQ6), they can be readily absorbed by the body and used as energy, bypassing the liver and gut and providing immediate fuel during workouts. 

Studies have shown that BCAAs may also help you feel less fatigued during workouts, allowing you to go harder, longer. 

3. Improve Recovery

Given that BCAAs prevent as much muscle damage during exercise, they also support more rapid repair afterwards. This means that in addition to feeling less sore, the body adapts and heals faster from a hard race or workout.

For this reason, rēküvr includes BCAAs to support total body recovery as you sleep

[Read more on the importance of sleep in recovery].

4. Boost Immune System

Researchers have found that BCAAs support the immune system, which can be particularly compromised during strenuous exercise and racing. This immunity boost supports spending your body's energy on fitness, rather than wasting it fighting sickness.

When to Use BCAAs

BCAAs can be used before, during and after workouts. Supplements are particularly useful as oftentimes the protein-rich foods these amino acids are found in naturally are not as digestible close to or during a hard workout. They’re also especially useful for those choosing a vegetarian or low-protein diet. (GQ-6’s products, including 3:2:1 hydration base and rēküvr are vegan and gluten free).

A Note on Protein Supplements 

Some may wonder if they can capture the benefits of BCAAs through a protein powder during workouts. While protein powers such as whey protein do include BCAAs, they are bound to other amino acids. To be effective, these BCAAs need to be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Even if the protein is easily digested, this process of breaking down, separating and absorbing the BCAAs still takes several hours, preventing their immediate muscle-repairing, fatigue-fighting benefits for your workout.

Even a few grams of "free-form" BCAAs increase the amount of BCAAs available in your blood to a greater extent than a whopping 30 grams of whey protein. And, consuming that amount of protein anyways during exercise wouldn't be ideal for an endurance athlete's digestive system. 

Resources 

  • Norton, L, PhD. "BCAAs: The Many Benefits Of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplements." BodyBuilding.com. (January 2017). http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bcaas-the-many-benefits-of-amino-acids.html 
  • Matsumoto, K; Koba, T; Hamada, K; Sakurai, M; Higuchi, T; et al. "Branched-chain amino acid supplementation attenuates muscle soreness, muscle damage and inflammation during an intensive training program." Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. (December 2009) http://search.proquest.com/openview/1a6df1e085d025f18bab99401c068972/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=4718
  • Gualano, AB, Bozza T, Lopes De Campos P, Roschel H, Dos Santos Costa A, Luiz Marquezi M, Benatti F, Herbert Lancha Junior A. "Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion." Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. (2011). http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/21297567



Jennifer Tetrick
Jennifer Tetrick

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