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Branch Chained Amino Acid ( BCAA ) supplementation has started  to become staples in many athletes supplement stacks. Why? More and more studies are being done and showing the effectiveness that BCAAs have.

What Exactly Are BCAAs?

BCAAs are the building blocks of the body. They make up roughly 35-40% of your muscle mass and contribute in many of the bodys important functions such as RNA and DNA development, repair tissue, build tissue and are also part of the enzyme and hormonal system.

Doesn’t Protein Powders Contain BCAAs Anyways?

Correct. Most whey protein powders and such contain BCAAs, usually around 3-6g of BCAAs. So what would be the point in buying free form BCAAs? There have been many studies conducted with free form amino acids and show the advantages of using free form instead of just relying on them in chains within foods and protein powders. Free form BCAAs are rapidly absorbed and require zero digestion. In turn thus causing a rapid spike in blood amino acids and to a much greater extend that a whey protein powder would cause as the aminos are peptide bound and can take up to several hours to be secreted into the blood stream.

How Do They Work & What Is Their Purpose?

BCAAs ( especially leucine ) stimulate protein synthesis and some studies show it does that to a greater extend that a whey protein shake. BCAAs also reduce the rate of protein breakdown which means less muscle loss! The consumption of BCAAs has also been proven to increase workout intensity! To keep it in simple terms, BCAAs reduce the amount of the amino Tryptophan that enters the brain. Tryptophan causes an increase in serotonin which in turn causes fatigue, by blocking the amount of Tryptophan BCAAs in turn cause less serotonin to be produced which means less fatigue and better workouts/training sessions!

Purpose?

As a rugby player, BCAAs could help with many aspects. Rugby players go through high intensity training sessions, high intensity gym sessions followed by a high intensity rugby games on saturdays or mid-week! In turn this will cause stress on the body which increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone which breaks down muscle. By implementing BCAA supplementation it stops cortisol being released while also increases the rate of protein synthesis and recovery. Not only would you be stopping muscle breakdown, you will be able to build more muscle or maintain it, while keeping up high intensity training sessions and recovering faster!  Some studies also show BCAAs to help with fat loss, which is even better for us as building muscle and losing fat is exactly what we want!

Here is a study proving it’s effectiveness to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue

BCAA Study

RESULTS: Muscle soreness and fatigue sensation during the training period in the BCAA trial were lower than those in the placebo trial (-32% and -24%, respectively; P<0.05). The plasma CK, LDH, and GEL levels after the training program in the BCAA trial were lower than those in the placebo trial (-21%, -6%, and -15%, respectively; P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that BCAA supplementation during an intensive training program effectively reduces the muscle soreness and fatigue sensation, and that the perceived changes could be attributed to the attenuation of muscle damage and inflammation. 

Here is a conclusion to a second study which shows that BCAA supplementation before and after workouts helps reduce muscle damage caused during training.

BCAA Study On Skeletal Muscle During Training

Conclusion: BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis; this suggests the possibility that BCAAs are a useful supplement in relation to exercise and sports.

 

What Does This Mean To A Rugby Player?

As a rugby player, BCAA supplementation is a diamond for you. As stated above it helps stop muscle breakdown, reduced fatigue and muscle soreness, increases protein synthesis and helps reduce fat. Dosing BCAAs is simple: 5g pre-workout and then 15g post workout followed by a meal a hour after the post-workout BCAA drink. Powder is the best form to get BCAAs so make sure you get a powder based supplement. We recommend along with many top end athletes Scivation Xtend. It tastes amazing ( go for watermelon! ) and has the best profile out there BCAA wise. It can be bought here at the best price along with FREE delivery.

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