ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Branched-Chain Amino Acids - What Are They?

Updated on February 26, 2014

I’m sure that by know you’ve probably heard of amino acids and you know that they’re the “building blocks” of protein?

But have you heard about branched-chain amino acids?

Maybe you have, but do you know why people supplement with them?

I like to know why I should take something before I start spending money on it so I’ve started to research branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, for the benefit of myself and others.

First, we want to figure out what they are.

What are Branched-Chain Amino Acids?

When people talk about branched-chain amino acids they’re referring to 3 specific amino acids:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

They’re referred to as “branched-chain” because of their chemical make up. They have non-linear side chains that “branch” off and don’t form a ring. So there’s a pretty logical reason for their name.

These branched-chain amino acids are special because, after proteins are broken down in our stomach and intestines, they’re metabolized in our muscles instead of our liver. They’re broken down small enough to be absorbed into our bloodstream and thenused to build new proteins or burned as fuel to produce energy.

They’ll help you build muscle and prevent your muscles from breaking down. So you can probably see why people who workout aim to up their intake of branched-chain amino acids. You’ll see a boost in your gains and get to hold onto them longer.

Branched-chain amino acids will also:

  • Help You Recover Faster
  • Boost Your Endurance
  • Boost Your Immune System
  • Stimulate Fat Loss

These three amino acids are all essential amino acids, which means our bodies cannot create them; we have to get them from the food and drink we consume. You don’t want to slack on your BCAA consumption because they make up about 1/3 of the amino acids in your muscle!

Where Can You Get BCAAs?

You could take the easy route and get a BCCA supplement or you could aim to eat specific types of food.

If you’re looking to get more leucine in your diet then you could eat things like:

  • Almonds
  • Oats
  • Peanuts
  • Soy Protein
  • Wheat Germ

If you’re looking to get more isoleucine in your diet then you could eat things like:

  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Turkey

If you’re looking to get more valine in your diet then you could eat things like:

  • Beef
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Sesame Seeds

So it’s obvious that it’s not going to be hard for you to get BCAAs in your daily diet. There are a lot of different foods that contain these three amino acids that I didn’t list, but you get the idea.

Some people either don’t eat enough food that contains BCAAs or they want a physical boost in their workout gains so they turn to branched-chain amino acid supplements. If you take straight BCAAs, then your body doesn’t have to break them down; the amino acids are ready to be used right away. This speeds up the recovery process for you.

Let’s take a look into how this sort of supplementation came about.

>> Continue Reading Part 2 - First Supplement Usage >>

Are You Getting Enough BCAAs In Your Diet?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for this good information and a great hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)