BCAA to build muscle


Athletes who target muscle building want to achieve this goal as quickly as possible and with an optimal result. In addition to extensive training, nutritional supplements are also used. BCAA are supposed to promote muscle building as they provide additional protein building blocks. In addition, the existing muscle protein should be protected. However, it is not that easy to determine the correct dosage. There is a wide variety of information in books and on the Internet about how high the dosage should be and how often athletes should take BCAAs per day.

Are BCAA useful for building muscle?

The question of whether it makes sense to supplement with BCAAs is often discussed. There are many different opinions here. A healthy and adequate diet would be enough to produce adequate muscle growth combined with an exercise plan. Another opinion is that from a certain amount of training on, taking BCAAs is essential if muscle mass is to be built up sustainably.

BCAA are free amino acids that are the basic building blocks of protein molecules in our body. Muscle cells are largely made up of protein. Through the training, a stimulus is transmitted to the muscle cells, which causes microscopic injuries in the muscle cells. After training, these injuries are supplied with fresh amino acids during the regeneration phase, which stimulates the formation of new muscle cells. If the free amino acids in the blood are used up by training, the muscle cannot use the missing amino acids for new building. Now it attacks the muscle protein itself in order to maintain the regeneration phase. In order to prevent this effect, athletes can inject new free amino acids into the bloodstream by taking BCAAs. These amino acids repair the muscle cells and can also be used for regeneration.

Since BCAAs can also be absorbed through a varied, healthy diet, athletes should not simply resort to BCAAs, but rather speak to a doctor beforehand. In this conversation it can be decided whether supplementation with BCAAs is necessary and useful due to the extent of the sport. The dosage recommendation should also be made by the doctor. Too many BCAAs cannot be absorbed by the body and are excreted without any use. This would result in unnecessarily high costs. Supplementing with BCAAs can make sense if athletes want to build muscle effectively and sustainably. However, this decision depends on how intensively the sport is practiced and how large the weekly scope is. People who are less active can get the required amount of BCAAs through a healthy and balanced diet.

General information on the topic can be found here: BCAA - effect and function

When should you take the BCAA?

So that BCAAs can develop their best effect, the time of intake must be well coordinated. Otherwise there is only a partial risk of exhaustion of the BCAA pool. In general it can be said that there are two important intake times. For one thing, BCAAs should be taken before a training session. 60 to 30 minutes before a workout, up to 13 grams of BCAA can be taken to ensure the energy supply to the muscle during training. The BCAAs reach the cells in the muscles through the body's bloodstream and ensure an improved supply of nutrients during the training session.

On the other hand, it makes sense to continue taking it directly after training. After the muscles have worked, small micro-injuries have occurred and all nutrient stores are as good as empty. Taking BCAAs after the workout ensures the supply of nutrients and protects the muscle cells from the breakdown of muscle protein. The body needs this protein to regenerate tired muscles. The freshly absorbed BCAAs reach the muscle cells via the bloodstream and help with the regeneration and regeneration of muscle cells. BCAAs, taken immediately after training, have a protective effect on the muscles and protect the existing muscle protein. The dosage recommendation after training should be two (leucine), one (isoleucine), one (valine) ratio.

BCAAs can also be used during diet phases. In this area of ​​application, too, the users of BCAAs make use of the BCAA's muscle protein-protecting effect. The reduction of your own muscle mass should be prevented by a controlled intake.

Where else can BCAAs be used? Read more about this at: Areas of application of BCAA

How Much BCAA Should You Take?

There are many different recommendations for the intake. You can quickly lose track of things and the wrong or too high a dosage occurs. In general, one important question should be asked before taking it: Do I even need BCAA as a dietary supplement? Every athlete should ask himself this question first. The answer should be given in consultation with a doctor and refer to the following basics: extent of sport, type of sport, intensity, individual requirements and eating habits. Only after clarifying these points can a decision be made as to whether and how much BCAA should be administered.

In general, the human body needs about 20 grams of BCAAs per day. He gets a large part of it from the food he consumes. Exercise increases this need, and becomes even higher when it comes to building muscle. For an experienced strength athlete with at least five training units per week, this results in a higher BCAA consumption and he should ingest 30 to 35 grams of BCAA to meet his needs.

Amateur athletes need about six grams of BCAA after a training session to cover the increased need. So there is no general dosage recommendation for BCAA. The amount required is always highly individual and depends on several internal and external influences. These should be clarified before supplementing with BCAA.

Read more on the topic: Dosage and intake of BCAA

Are there any side effects?

Since BCAA are very widespread, are used in many areas and are easy to purchase, the question of possible side effects always arises. Many studies have devoted themselves to this question, with sometimes differing results. However, the general opinion has been confirmed that BCAA generally do not have any direct side effects.

However, there are individual influences here that can cause side effects when supplementing with BCAA. These include gastrointestinal problems due to possible lactose intolerance. However, there are now BCAA preparations that work on a lactose-free basis. Capsules and liquids are also significantly better tolerated than powders and shakes.

Side effects should be clarified with a doctor before taking BCAA. Only the doctor can identify possible side effects due to other influences (medication, intolerance, allergies, etc.) and warn about them.

Read more about it: BCAA side effects

Do you have to pay attention to something else with the diet when you take BCAA?

If athletes have a high need for BCAA due to intensive and extensive sports programs (as is the case with competitive athletes), then when taking BCAA, particular attention should be paid to dietary balance. This means that important BCAA suppliers such as milk, meat and fish products should be included in the diet. However, high-quality carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits are just as important as an adequate intake of fluids. This need should be met primarily through water.

It should also be ensured that the three important amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine should be taken in a ratio of 2: 1: 1. If this is not the case, then it can lead to disorders in the protein metabolism. Therefore, not only the correct dosage, a balanced and healthy diet and consultation with the doctor are important, but also the composition of the individual amino acids in relation to one another.

Read more about this in our general topic: Muscle building and nutrition

Which supplements are also useful for building muscle?

Before taking any dietary supplement, you should talk to a doctor about your plans and determine whether you need this supplement at all. If a supplement is recommended by nutritional supplements, athletes can choose from many products. A combination of creatine and beta-alanine can be useful and effective when it comes to strength and muscle building. The creatine increases strength during training, which is supplemented by the effects of beta-alanine. This ensures a low acid level in the muscles, which means they work longer. The resulting increase in stimulus has a positive effect on protein synthesis after training. Omega-3 fatty acids are another supplement that can have a positive effect on muscle building. They are primarily involved in building muscle protein, in the production of hormones and in various mechanisms in the cell. As a result, they have a positive effect on the formation of new muscle cells and are a very often used dietary supplement.

Vitamin D3 is also an important nutrient that many people only have inadequately available. Much of it is produced in the skin by sunlight. Vitamin D3 is involved in cell division and is extremely important for testosterone production. And so muscle building is only possible to a limited extent without vitamin D3.

Minerals are a group of micronutrients and are found in sufficient quantities in our food. However, there is often a deficiency here, as you can hardly keep track of the great variety of these micronutrients (over 50 different ones). Zinc, magnesium and potassium in particular are involved in muscle work and the development of muscle cells and are therefore nutrients that athletes in particular need. A doctor can determine whether these nutrients are sufficiently present in our body and then decide whether supplementation with minerals is necessary.

Read more about this in our general topic: Supplements for building muscle