Are BCAA supplements worth it?

For a long time now we've seen many gym goers carrying around a large container with pink liquid in it. Most of the time these containers are filled with a BCAA supplement. We've written this blog to share our opinion whether or not you should invest in this specific supplement or not.

What are they? 

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Before telling you our overall opinion of BCAA's let's have a look at what they are. BCAA's consist of three essential amino acids. We need to consider the fact that our bodies cannot make BCAA's, therefore, we need to consume them through food and/or supplementation.

This raises the question

"Is supplementing BCAA's worth it?"

Let's get started!

Benefits of BCAA's

Over the years there have been several studies on BCAA's and this is what they concluded.

1.  Enhances protein synthesis

  • One of the largest roles BCAA's has is the fact it increases protein synthesis which can increase overall muscle mass.

2. Enhances performance by decreasing fatigue

  • They can be burned as energy maintaining ATP energy levels when performing glycogen depleting training sessions. Basically, BCAA's will help you burn more fuel efficiently. 

3. Decreased delayed onset muscle soreness

  • Delayed onset muscle soreness is that pain and stiffness you feel in your muscles 24-72 hours after training. Many studies have shown that BCAA's will decrease delayed onset muscle soreness which can increase your training frequency.

4. Prevents muscle loss during long-duration exercises

  • Scientists suggest that by having an adequate amount of BCAA's in your diet while exercising for a long period of time you may prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown) by improving your ability to burn energy efficiently.

5. Increases longevity

  • BCAA's have been known to have an anti-aging effect because they increase the formation of mitochondria, and prevent muscle loss from aging.

Are they worth it?

Let's now answer this frequently asked question. In our opinion, supplementing BCAA's are not worth it and we will explain why below.

1. Found in other food sources

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  • The majority of you are most likely consuming enough BCAA's due to the fact that they are in food sources such as meat, eggs, and nuts.

* Because BCAA's are mainly found in meat and eggs you may want to consider supplementing BCAA's if you are a vegan/vegatarian. 

2. Expensive

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  • Let's face it, you should be saving for a house. Save your money and spend it on whole foods with BCAA's already in it, you will get a much higher nutritional value. We've seen some BCAA's cost up to $100.00 per container, that money could be spent on higher quality groceries for the week. 

3. BCAA's have calories

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  • BCAA's do have calories but are not required by the FDA to show it on the containers. They have about 6 calories per gram which may not seem like a lot but for the people consuming an extra 15 grams of BCAA's per day this can add up to 630 calories per week which can make a difference in most cases even if it isn't huge. 

Foods with a high amount of BCAA's

We suggest you save your money on supplements and invest in whole foods such as; 

  • Chicken breasts (6oz contains 6.6 grams of BCAA's)
  • Lean ground beef (6oz contains 6.2 grams of BCAA's)
  • Eggs (1 egg contains 1.3 grams of BCAA's)
  • Salmon (6oz contains 5.9 grams of BCAA's)
  • Roasted peanuts (3oz contains 4.4 grams of BCAA's)

Takeaway

Save your money and invest in whole foods and consume a balanced diet for maximum results. If money isn't a concern then go ahead and buy a BCAA supplement it may have some minor benefits but remember it's a supplement, not a substitute.

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