Branched-chain amino acids, more commonly referred to as BCAAs, are one of the most versatile supplements on the market. As the building blocks of protein, they form a staple in the supplements repertoire of most serious fitness devotees.
So what are they?
BCAAs are made up of three essential amino acids, leucine isoleucine and valine. They are essential because our body does not produce them, meaning we must obtain them through diet and food sources such as eggs, meat and poultry. Despite not occurring naturally, these three amino acids also happen to make up one-third of the protein found in our muscle tissue, highlighting their place and importance in any fitness supplements repertoire. Taken as a pre-workout, BCAAs help preserve muscle glycogen stores, helping prevent muscle breakdown. As a post-workout supplement, they help speed up muscle growth with some studies showing that as little as 5grams of BCAAs can lead to a 22% greater increase in muscle synthesis.
Not to be typecast as a body builder’s best friend, this concentration of essential amino acids offers a host of added benefits. While BCAA’s are recognised for helping speed up recovery and growth of muscle mass, they have also been shown to help boost endurance. That is because depletion of BCAAs in the blood during exercise causes the brain to release the essential amino acid tryptophan. Converted into serotonin in the brain, the rise of this fatigue-inducing chemical is shown to decrease mental focus and perceived fatigue. Supplementing your BCAA stores during exercise is shown to suppress the release of serotonin, in turn limiting perceived exhaustion and fatigue and boosting your endurance during longer training sessions and marathons.
Beyond the gym, BCAA’s can also be used as a useful tool for weight loss and weight management. For those on a strict, low-calorie diet, BCAAs can help maintain lean muscle mass by inhibiting the breakdown of muscle protein. We know that lean muscle mass helps speed up our resting metabolism and therefore helps us burn more calories throughout the day. Consuming protein also helps stabilise our blood sugar levels and promotes satiety, helping us feel fuller for longer. Aside from helping keep our waistlines trim, BCAAs help us sustain a healthy immune system. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dietary BCAA restriction in mice impaired several aspects of immune function and increased susceptibility to pathogens. And we know nothing will stop your fitness session in its tracks quite like a nasty winter cold.
Now that we have established the importance of BCAAs in any fitness regime and for overall health, the question remains – how does one pick the best BCAA for women? We would hate to twist your arm, so we will let these 5 reasons show why the Happy Way BCAA range is the natural choice for women -pun most definitely intended!
Cleaner than the Marie Kondo method
Whether in a capsule or powder form, there is no shortage of BCAAs on the market to choose from. But where many fail is in their use of excess fillers, bulking agents and sweeteners. When it comes to BCAAs and protein powders, many brands and formulas come with a host of additives aimed at boosting flavour, texture and shelf life at the expense of more digestive friendly formulas. One of the most common is sucralose, a calorie-free additive used in many BCAA supplements to add sweetness. With many people unaware that they are in fact allergic to such additives, ingesting them may lead to short term discomfort such as stomach cramps and bloating, while prolonged use can present itself in more serious digestive and skin issues.
When it comes to the Happy Way BCAA range, it’s cleaner than Marie Kondo’s kitchen. With a commitment to organic, all natural and clean ingredients, Happy Way BCAAs offers all the benefits without unnecessary bulking agents, fillers and preservatives. Our digestive-friendly formula delivers its sweetness using all natural stevia, that won’t give you the kind of sugar rush that leaves you with a headache post workout. What we lack for in unnecessary fillers we make up for with plenty of natural and delicious flavours and a gluten-free finish.
Still not convinced? Just read the ingredient list on the back of our products. With no fillers and chemicals, it’s an ingredient list you can understand and trust.
Added vitamins for boosting awesomeness levels
We know that all Happy Way protein powders come with an additional superfood mix of chia seeds and maca for extra awesomeness, and our BCAA range is no different. Formulated with the addition of a multivitamin, the Happy Way BCAA will not only help you perform at the gym but will also help boost your immunity. Because we would hate for you to have to miss any sessions due to coughs and colds this winter season!
So what is included in our multivitamin mix? Contained in the formula is Vitamin B1, which is vital for the healthy functioning of all major organs and Vitamin B2, which works to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the body and helps maintain the body’s energy supply. That means more sustained energy for those prolonged gym sessions. Vitamin B3, also referred to as Niacin helps maintain healthy skin, nerves and aids in your digestive health. Also contained in the formula is Vitamin B6, which helps the body produce new red blood cells and carries oxygen around the body. We know that oxygen is vital for performance, endurance and speed. Also included in the mix are Vitamins B12, Vitamin C and other essential Vitamins needed to boost optimum health.
Its made for an optimum formula
The Happy Way BCAA range contains a 2:1:1 leucine, isoleucine and valine ratio, which is a research-backed strategy for optimal BCAA delivery. Now you may be wondering what these numbers stand for and we don’t blame you. Out of the three amino acids found in BCAAs, leucine is one that enhances anabolic signalling and overall muscle protein synthesis, which essentially means leucine helps start and boost the muscle growth process. Given its importance in muscle growth, one may be tempted to reach for a BCAA higher in leucine such as a 4:1:1 ratio or even a 12:1:1 ratio. However, some studies suggest that this would essentially mean that you are only taking a leucine supplement and not a BCAA, which makes the supplement overall less effective.Although leucine is the most beneficial of the three, isoleucine and valine offer their own benefits in areas such as fatigue reduction and endurance. Valine, as an example, helps reduce the effects of serotonin on the brain when you exercise, which reduces perceived exertion and the feelings of fatigue and tiredness. It is for this very reason that some people swap out their afternoon coffee for a BCAA drink.
Our muscles also naturally contain a 2:1:1 BCAA ratio, so it makes sense to replenish these stores accordingly. For this very reason, some studies have shown that increasing any of these three amino acids significantly beyond a 2:1:1 ratio may work to deplete the other two thus minimising the benefits of a complete BCAA. Rather than looking for a larger dose of leucine in your BCAA ratio, studies suggest focusing on an optimum serving size instead. It is suggested that 3grams of leucine is enough to start the muscle synthesis process.
It will replenish your electrolyte stores.
The Happy Way BCCA range will not only ensure you keep hydrated, but it will also help replenish your electrolyte stores. The body is made up of roughly 60 percent water, a balance that is critical to both physical and mental functioning both during and after you exercise. Maintaining this optimum level of hydration relies on sodium and a correct balance or electrolytes. That means if you have been sweating it out at the gym or are experiencing dehydration for a myriad of other reasons, water alone cannot replenish your stores. What you need in fact is salt!
While a handful of salt in your meal every time you cook presents unhealthy side effects, sodium in small doses is needed by the body to help regulate water around our cells and is vital for healthy nerve and muscle functioning. The Happy Way BCAA range helps replenish stores with the inclusion of an electrolytes blend of calcium, magnesium and ferric phosphate, zinc and manganese sulfate, copper gluconate, potassium iodine, sodium molybdite, chromium chloride and sodium selenite. Happy Way – we have you covered.
It is Cassie Olholm approved.
We feel like Cassie needs little introduction, but just in case you have been living under a social media rock, let us give you a little context. As a nutritionist with an appetite for health, wellness and fitness, Cassie has long subscribed to a wholesome way of life. Promoting a balanced and active lifestyle through her hugely popular self-titled website, Cassie has spent much of her career promoting balance, achievable fitness goals and food which nourishes the mind, body and soul. The culmination of which can be found in Cassie’s ‘Cleaner Healthier', recipe book. But one thing Cassie couldn't get her hands on was a clean and equally powerful BCAA range to help boost her fitness regime. Not ones to leave people hanging, Happy Way stepped in to produce just that. A product that is naturally sweetened, naturally preserved and naturally the best tasting product on the market!
Cassie, this one goes out to you X