Most people have probably heard the term before, thinking it’s got something to do with DNA. However, as the basic building blocks of proteins, they are the foundation of so much more.
While amino acids are key components of proteins, hormones and a host of other organic compounds, we want to look at the muscle builders, known as branch-chained amino acids (or BCAA). Of the 20 amino acids we need for good health, 9 are referred to as ‘essential’ with 3 of those being the BCAAs leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Valine – stimulates muscle growth and regeneration while also being involved in energy production.
Leucine – important for protein synthesis and muscle repair, while also being important for wound healing and the regulation of blood sugar levels as well as the production of growth hormones.
Isoleucine – is important for muscle metabolism and is heavily concentrated in muscle tissue, it plays a key role in the production of haemoglobin and the immune system while also helping to regulate energy levels.
While their general functions are mentioned above, this is how BCAAs translate into direct benefits.
Ease the burn – BCAAs have been shown to reduce the breakdown of proteins in your muscles. This can help ease muscle soreness post-workout.
Beat the drop – as the 3 BCAAs combine to control energy levels as well as managing blood sugar, they can help you feel less tired after exercise.
No wastage – while their muscle building abilities are clear, this also translates into reducing muscle damage and wastage, which can happen after particularly heavy cardio sessions.
The most common source of amino acids are protein-based foods such as meat, eggs, seafoods and dairy. If you have vegetarian or vegan leanings, soy, quinoa and buckwheat are also ideal sources of amino acids. If you’d rather drink your protein than eat it, then why not try out Nutrilite’s Soy Protein Drink Mix for your daily supplement needs? It even comes in 4 different flavours to suit your personal taste!
Check out this quick video about the benefits of supplementing your day with Nutrilite Soy Protein Drink.
Body builders and certain athletes may also use supplements like whey protein isolate, which is made by removing most of the fat and lactose in whey, leaving a higher concentration of protein. For those looking to get their essential amino acids for their post-workout recovery, but not necessarily having the time to prepare balanced meals consistently, another great source is XS Mixed Whey Protein with Chocolate Flavour, which gives you 30g of protein in each 40g serving when mixed with water or milk.