BCAAs- leucine, valine, and isoleucine, also known, as Branched Chain Amino Acids are essential nutrients that our body obtains through the consumption of meat, dairy, and legumes. Professional athletes often consume BCAA supplements as they reduce muscle soreness, increase fat burning and reduce the breakdown of muscle cells in the body. For anything that our body cannot naturally produce, we have supplements for it. However, this too is no magic drink and has both pros and cons of consuming it.
1. PROs :
1) Builds Muscle Mass
One of the most common reasons for consuming BCAA supplements is its ability to build muscle mass easily. The supplement has amino acids that stimulate protein synthesis, which results in increased resistance training. It gets easy for the body to prevent muscle tissue loss by providing nutritional gain, your body otherwise could not get.
2) Energy Production
BCAAs stop the body from cannibalizing its own muscles and act as a stimulant that boosts energy. Similar to the effects of caffeine, BCAAs fuel the workout by maintaining energy levels during glycogen depleting exercises. While Isoleucine helps the body to use energy, leucine allows faster metabolism that is best for a high endurance workout.
One of the winning points of BCAAs is their ability to manage fatigue in the central nervous system. A fall in the amino acid tryptophan leads to the production of serotonin that causes fatigue. Branch chain amino acids aid in pumping blood to the brain which tricks it into believe that the body is not tired. Thus helping the individual to train harder and longer.
2. CONs :
1)Depletion of Vitamin B
Consuming high doses of BCAAs can deplete Vitamin B in the body, which is critical for amino acid metabolism. These vitamins manage anxiety, cognition, energy levels and food pangs in the system. A misbalance can have huge health repercussions. A regular intake of Vitamin B in your diet can ease the problem.
2) Disrupted sleep patterns
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that calms the body, improves mood and aids in sleep. BCAAs help in reducing fatigue; they do so by preventing tryptophan influx in the brain that in turn reduces serotonin levels in the body. Low carb and high protein diet along with BCAAs can make sleep irregular and difficult. Having a glass of milk may raise serotonin levels and provide a better sleep.
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3. Verdict :
In the end, supplements are not a replacement for high-quality protein food. Relying only on BCAAs is not the best choice and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Before consuming a supplement in the market, a proper research and consultation with a physician must be done. However, BCAAs is an effective tool for athletes who look for high performance and speedy recovery.