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What are BCAAs and why are they important?

Today, more and more athletes are using BCAAs for their performance benefits. But what are BCAAs? BCAAs is an acronym for branched chain amino acids. To learn more about BCAAs and their importance, read this article!

1. What are BCAAs?

 BCAAs are composed of three essential amino acids

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

Like all amino acids, BCAAs are components that your body uses to make proteins. However, unlike other amino acids, branched chain amino acids are not metabolised by the liver, so your organism cannot make them. They must be consumed through your diet.

BCAAs will bring benefits to your body to help you achieve better performance. But what are their benefits? 

 

2. BCAAs improve performance 

The consumption of BCAAs reduces physical and mental tiredness during your training sessions. 


One study shows that BCAAs reduce muscle glycogen induced by exercise. In fact, the group that received BCAAs held 17% more before reaching exhaustion, compared to the placebo group. They therefore increase the body's capacity to use fat as an energy source.


In another study, participants were exposed to thermic stress. Those who consumed the drink containing BCAAs cycled 12% more than the placebo group.


During intense physical effort, the body needs energy, consuming BCAAs will allow you to use them directly as fuel, instead of drawing energy from your muscle tissue, avoiding muscle damage, cramping or injuries. But that's not all.


BCAAs also activate the enzymes responsible for building muscles, helping to increase your muscle mass.


 

3. BCAAs facilitate the recovery 

BCAAs improve recovery and provide protection against muscle damage, as they reduce blood levels of the enzymes that are involved in muscle damage. 


Various studies have asked participants to evaluate their level of muscle pain after performing muscle-building exercises. Participants who received BCAAs rated their muscle pain up to 33% lower than those who received a placebo. 


BCAAs allow muscles to recover properly after an injury or intense effort. So they are necessary for all athletes, after a big session, for a faster recovery! Allowing for more intense and frequent sessions.

 

 

 

4. BCAAs promote weight loss

If you're trying to lose weight in dry periods, BCAAs can help your body to get rid of unwanted fats.


Some studies show that people with extra BCAAs in their diet have a lower percentage of fat, more muscle and a better metabolism than others. 


Indeed, according to researchers, leucine is the amino acid that determines muscle definition, increasing energy expenditure and fat burning. 


BCAAs stimulate the secretion of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Your muscles will absorb more sugar, which will lower your blood sugar level and help keep it at a healthy level. This optimizes your metabolism. 


However, studies have a few flaws. For example, they provide very little information about the composition of the diet, which can influence the results.

 

5. When should BCAAs be consumed? 

BCAAs are multifunctional and perform different functions that can vary depending on when they are consumed.


Before training, they provide the body with an immediate source of energy, preserving the BCAA's reserves in the muscles throughout your training, even if it is very long.


After training, they stimulate protein synthesis and promote both muscle development and recovery. It is recommended that you take them within 30 minutes following your sports workout to maximise muscle recovery and the absorption of nutrients.

 

 

BCAAs have many benefits, they improve physical performance, reduce fatigue after intensive training and can also help with weight loss. So what are you waiting for to test them and progress in your favourite sport?


In addition to BCAAs, protein also plays a crucial role in building muscle and improving your performance. In order to build up your muscle mass efficiently and sustainably, it is necessary to consume a sufficient amount of complete protein. Näak Ultra Protein Recovery™ is a classic in sports nutrition, containing 24 g of protein and 4 g of BCAAs per portion. 


To find out more about proteins, click here.

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