BCAA – or BCAAs fully explained and guide

We have already reviewed some BCAA supplements, but in this post we are going to explain to you what BCAAs are, where you can find them, and why they can benefit you when training.

Also, we will explain a bit about why some blogs states BCAAs are bad ( they are good but in certain things they could be not so beneficial).


But let us start with what BCAAs really are!


What are BCAAs?


BCAAs are the short name for Branched-Chain Amino Acids.

They have crucial amino acids inside of them, since your body isn’t be able to produce these, so these are very popular nowadays to take them, especially when performing workouts.


The amino acids they have inside of them are:

– L-Leucine

– L-isoleucine

– L-Valine


There have been some (lets say lots actually) scientific studies about them, and the benefits they would give you.



They studied it as they would study new medicines, they give some people true medicines (in this case those aren’t medicines but BCAAs), and the other group, only receives placebos. Then they study the results of that case (the case is when they’re doing exercises, to have the best results), which they found out that when you take them correctly, they will give you a (slight) advantage.



This gives you a bit insight into the BCAAs, now let us see, who can take them!


Are you eligible of taking them?


You should take them when you perform workouts, or doing heavy exercises (doesn’t matter what, swimming, running, or cycling,..), since they help in the recovery rate, and what you want when you perform these kinds of heavy exercises on regular base, is to recover fast. So, that is why these supplements are for, you can take them without any problem with other supplements!


Most of the BCAAs also have another benefit, which is, that they are tasty!


The benefits of BCAAs

Like I’ve already mentioned, they have some benefits, and of course, the more you workout, the better/higher those benefits will be. These benefits include:


– Better protein synthesis (it really triggers it)

– Your glucose uptake will be increased, also will be the same for your insulin sensitivity

– Your muscle soreness will be reduced

– You will feel that your energy level is increased, for some people it won’t be too much, for other more

– Because of BCAAs, your muscle loss when cutting or having a bad time, will be minimal

– Your fat loss will be increased (and that without the risk of having too much muscle loss, excellent, no?)

– The last benefit it has is the increasing of your longevity



As you notice, they have benefits which will aid you to reach your goal/achievement a bit easier, of course, you need to work for it, and together with other supplements, this is a very good add-on.



BCAAs comes in some ratios:


– The 2:1:1 ratio

– The ratio of 4:1:1

– And 8:1:1



The difference of those ratios will be explained now.

When looking to the 2:1:1 ratio, the 2 stand for the amount of Leucine, the first 1 is the Isoleucine, and the second 1 is the Valine.

Why is this so important?


Well, studies have been showing that Leucine is the ingredient which gives you the clean look, the 2:1:1 ratio is the minimum ratio to feel effects (you really need all the ingredients to make sure you will have the effects). So practically, the 8:1:1 gives you the most Leucine, but it is up to you what you want to choose. I prefer the 4:1:1 ratio, I perform exercise with a kinda high intensity, but not high enough to take the 8:1:1, so if you really perform hard ones, you should take that ratio!


When should you take BCAAs?



There is actually no time to take it, however, I remember when I start to take it, I always did it after the training, it was in the old school age, with tablets, and those were so horrible, they taste so bitter and were very expensive for that time.

But now I would say, taking them just before or during your workout is the best, since you will get more energy during the exercises, and you will have a better protein synthesis, which means more gains and more and heavier lifts!


You will reduce the chance of muscle pain, and speed up the recovery time, thus increasing the frequency of workouts, which leads again, to better results!


Scientists claims that when having enough BCAAs in your body also can help you to live longer, but I don’t know about it yet, we need more studies about that, and then I will be happy to share that news with you here!


Where else you can find BCAAs?


You can find them in food, other than supplements alone, such as:

– Meat

– Chicken

– Fish

– Eggs, also dairy products


I forgot to add one supplement more, which has a good amounts of BCAAs as well, which is whey protein.


We already saw the food, where you can find them, but don’t worry about the vegetarian people among us, they also have it in plants!


Those plants are:

– Soybeans

– Baked beans

– Lima beans

– Lentils

– Brown rice

– Whole weat

– Corn

– Almond

– Cashew nuts (I love cashew nuts, could literally eat kilograms of them)



If you’re looking for the highest rate of them, in the beans you find the most of them, where brown rice actually have a low ratio compared to it.



The recommended daily intake is around 42 milligrams for every kilogram of body weight, don’t overdose, that isn’t good for you, and you will harm your body!


When looking for the highest base/concentrate of BCAAs, you should consider doing the meat or chicken, nothing comes close to it.


Now, we’ve seen the benefits and where to find it, but nowadays, we find some sites stating they aren’t good!

Why some sites state BCAAs aren’t good?



Let me say, BCAAs are good, as long you don’t over consume then, also, you find them in your food, so when you’re not performing workouts, what use does it have to take more? I’ve already mentioned that taking more than the daily dose can cause problems, I will put them below:


– Kidney problems

– Bloating

– When you’re a woman, and you’re pregnant, you can have serious problems with it

– Your blood pressure can suddenly plummet

– Increased chance of blood clots, and damaged blood vessels -> you can read this side effect here

– Your sleep could decrease because the high amount of BCAAs, there is another amino acid called Tryptophan, which uses the same pathway as those 3 BCAAs, they also go to the brain, for that stimulating effect, now, if you have too many of them, you will receive less of Tryptophan in your brain, which causes lower serotonin producing, which can cause problems with your mood as well!


– Also, be careful when you decide to eat lots of meat to have the BCAA intake, remember, it has a lot of cholesterol, so too much of it isn’t good, and you could have weakened bones.


So, is it true what some sites state?


Yes and no, their statement BCAAs doesn’t work isn’t right, however, the thing is, like with everything, don’t overdose it, keep it at your daily dosage, and you will be fine.


Just don’t forget if you don’t perform workouts or exercises, you don’t need to take supplements, since it is a waste!


I hope this post will help you more to understand how BCAAs work, and why you should consider taking supplements when you do exercises.


If there’s any question, or you want to share your opinion with us, feel free to write it in the comment section below!

2 thoughts on “BCAA – or BCAAs fully explained and guide

  • Carole July 15, 2018 at 3:12 am

    Hi there, this is a very interesting article. Thanks for explaining how BCAAs work and their benefit. I just learned a lot from your article!

    • Emmanuel Buysse July 15, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      Hi Carole,
      We sometimes write these guides to help people understanding what is the science behind of it, and how it will help them to even achieve their goal better.

      Thanks for the positive comment!


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