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BCAA's (Branch Chain Amino Acids)

BCAA Powders VS BCAA Capsules

The main difference between BCAAs in powder form VS BCAAs in capsule form is the rate at which they are absorbed in the body. This rate of absorption can depend on multiple factors, such as product brand, product quality, your personal physiology (i.e. height, weight), the time at which you take these supplements, and more. More importantly, however, the general consensus among trainers considers that BCAAs in powder form are absorbed quicker than BCAAs in capsule form. And not only that, but powdered branched-chain amino acids can also be more effective than capsules, tablets, or BCAA pills.

Are BCAAs Good For Extra Energy?

Of course. When you’re cutting down on calories, your body will undergo a so-called ‘catabolic’ state. This basically translates to a faster rate of muscle tissue breakdown as opposed to making it (‘anabolic’ state).

Both muscle and fat loss is more likely to occur when you’re cutting down on the number of calories that you take in daily. By doing this, your body hasn’t got any other choice except to utilise muscle protein (muscle tissue, made up of amino acids) as a source of energy. So, in order to build muscle, the rate at which you burn calories (protein breakdown) should be lesser than the rate at which your body makes more protein (protein synthesis). When it’s the other way around, you’re more likely to experience rapid muscle loss; whereas if these two rates are in balance, your muscle mass would most likely remain the same. Which leads us to our next key point.

As we mentioned, there are nine essential amino acids, three of which that are considered branched-chain amino acids. These are L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine. They comprise at least 35% of all essential amino acids in the muscles. And not only that, but BCAAs can also be oxidised in skeletal muscle, as opposed to the other remaining six essential amino acids which are mainly broken down in the liver. On top of that, rigorous exercise is also known to increase energy expenditure and, in a way, “spend” the BCAAs (and other essential amino acids) in the muscles.

With BCAA supplementation, you’re getting the additional energy to fuel the muscles, build your body, and maintain your focus all at once.

What is the Best Time to Take BCAAs?

There are several ways to time your BCAA intake, and they are as follows:

  • Before Bed
  • Before Workout
  • After Workout
  • Before Running
  • Before Cardio
  • Immediately after waking up

As you can see, BCAAs are most efficient when taken either right before a major physical activity, or immediately after, to promote quick muscle growth. Granted, there is no evident issue in deciding to take branched-chain amino acids in the morning, but this would deprive you from that extra energy that BCAAs provide before working out. Either way, there is no real downside of taking BCAAs at a time that’s most convenient for your daily schedule.

What are Some of the Best BCAA Products to Buy?

It depends on what your fitness goals are. For example, if you’re looking to bulk up as quickly as possible, then a simple product like Axis Labs Amino XTR should get the job done. If you want to use BCAAs for weight loss, however, then International Protein Amino Recovery is, without a doubt, the right supplement to go for.

What is The Best BCAA Product in Australia?

Again, it depends. Amino acid products and whey protein supplements are equally viable, since nowadays the manufacturer is careful to include branched-chain amino acids in both of these products due to popular demand. If you’re on the verge of what BCAA product (capsule or powder form) is right for you, then we’d recommend carefully reading over our BCAAs guide and come back when you’re ready to make a purchase.

What are the Most Popular BCAA Brands?

The most popular brands of BCAAs include EHP Labs, International Protein, and Optimum Nutrition, Scitec Nutrition, just to name a few.

Are BCAAs Safe to Stack with Creatine?

In short, yes. You can safely combine BCAAs with creatine for the ultimate muscle-building + energy-inducing results both in the short term and over the long haul as well. Here’s how to do it.

Creatine is a non-essential amino acid, which means the body can produce this highly-beneficial compound on its own. As a result of this, you should always stack BCAAs with creatine for about 4 weeks in cycles. As most of you know, creatine does its magic by increasing the levels of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the body. Generally, the higher your ATP levels, the better you’ll perform at the gym. On top of that, more ATP also translates to an increased rate at which protein synthesis occurs, which is the ultimate precursor to more quality lean muscle mass.

Some tips on how to make the best out of stacking creatine and BCAAs:

  • Track your progress continuously
  • Combine a quality workout with a solid nutrition plan
  • Don’t forget to hydrate properly
  • Stay away from processed foods such as industrial sugar, deli meat, sausages, and other unhealthy foods to avoid extremely low and high levels of insulin

Are BCAAs Good for Fasting?

Yes, but you have to follow strict rules to avoid breaking your fasting regimen. If you’re an intermittent faster, then you’re probably either lean, or you’re trying to get there as quickly as possible. So, your goal should be to work hard, minimize muscle protein breakdown (loss of muscle), and also build lean muscle mass whilst doing it. Something to take in mind before you enter fasting is to avoid training completely fasted, mostly because this approach would be absolutely detrimental for your long-term health (catabolic). Therefore, if you want to build lean muscle and get stronger without cheating out on your intermittent fasting goals, BCAAs is the proper way to go.

When you ingest quality branched-chain amino acids during your fasting state, you’re making sure that:

  • Muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth) is kick-started and protein breakdown (loss of lean muscle mass) is prevented. As we said, BCAAs contain L-Leucine which is a major component in triggering muscle protein synthesis.
  • You achieve the optimal benefits for muscle protein synthesis on a “rationed” caloric load. To compare, you’d have to take more than 500 calories from regular foods in order to get the equivalent amount of BCAAs into your body.
  • According to a recent study, BCAAs can enhance muscle protein synthesis in skeletal muscle following rigorous resistance exercise training. BCAAs do this by increasing the phosphorylation of a compound called p70S6k prior to training. All subjects took BCAAs in a fasted state.

Do BCAA Supplementation Have any Side Effects?

There is no concurrent evidence to suggest that BCAA supplementation is harmful in the long run. However, as with most things, excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acid supplements (whether in powder, pill, or any other form) potentially can lead to some undesirable side effects. Plus, BCAAs are not recommended for individuals affected by certain medical conditions. Some of these conditions include:

  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
  • Branched-chain ketoaciduria (Maple Syrup Urine Disease)
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic Alcoholism

In addition, some side effects of excessive BCAA intake can include loss of coordination, fatigue, headaches, and in extreme cases – increased insulin resistance which can transform into type 2 diabetes.

Finally, branched-chain amino acids can also affect blood sugar levels, so individuals with type 1 diabetes (different from type 2) should be careful when taking these compounds, and even consult their doctor/nutritionist if and when needed.

Are BCAA Supplements (Capsules, Powder) Available in Australia?

Yes. You can buy them directly via our Second To None Nutrition e-store by choosing a product directly from this page! You can also search for your favourite BCAA supplement in the upper right corner and then click on your preferred product as well. Finally, you can browse through our categories from the drop-down menu, make your pick, and either proceed to ‘checkout’ or continue with your shopping until you’re finally ready.

Are BCAAs Safe for Women?

There is no evidence to date to suggest that BCAA supplementation is better for men or vice versa. If you’re nursing, however, consider consulting with your physician before including BCAAs in your nutritional plan, just in case.

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