What are BCAAs? BCAA stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids. BCAAs are made up of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Our bodies don’t produce BCAAs, which is why they’re important. Our bodies need to obtain them through diet and food sources, such as eggs, meat and poultry.
BCAAs can be beneficial in improving the results of a workout, read more about BCAA Benefits. Are you into HIIT and resistance training? Are you super goal driven? If so, then taken pre and post workout, our BCAA products can help to maximise your muscle repair and tone, without the nasty elements that may make you big and bulky. Easy to use and packed with loads of flavour, our products offer a happy way to consume BCAAs!
WHAT ARE BCAAS AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
So what are BCAA’s?
BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids are made up of three essential amino acids:-
They’re named BCAAs because of their structure and how they are chained together. BCAAs are considered extremely important when it comes to maintaining muscle mass in the body but they also have a lot of other health and nutritional benefits too.
To maintain optimal health our bodies require protein, and amino acids—which are often described as the “building blocks” of protein—are required so that our bodies function properly. Amino acids are necessary to help produce muscle, prevent illness, transport nutrients around the body and carry out bodily functions.
There are 20 amino acids in total—11 of these are considered non-essential, whilst the other 9 are referred to as essential amino acids. The difference between non-essential amino acids and essential amino acids is that non-essential amino acids are already found in the body naturally, whilst essential amino acids must be sourced externally from our diet or suitable supplements.
WHAT DO BCAAS DO IN THE BODY?
BCAAs are essential amino acids that when incorporated into our diet, can be found in high levels in our muscle tissue as protein. When consumed they are absorbed rapidly by the muscles in our bodies, instead of being broken down by the liver like other amino acids. This is what makes them so special and a great source of energy when it comes to exercise and performance.
BCAAs also play an important role in regenerating protein in our bodies and of the 3 essential amino acids, leucine is said to be key when it comes to building muscle and preventing the breakdown of muscle. The best ratio of BCAAs is 2:1:1, which is double the amount of leucine to isoleucine and valine. This is important for those who are trying to build muscle mass, maintain lean muscle or avert the breakdown of muscle during intensive or lengthy exercise. Because it diminishes and absorbs quickly during exercise, leucine must be replaced through the diet to enable further protein integration, allowing the body to increase and build more muscle.
WHAT ARE BCAA SUPPLEMENTS AND WHO SHOULD USE THEM?
BCAA supplements are commonly found in powdered form and are beneficial for high performing athletes, individuals who regularly engage in extensive exercise, people who may not be getting enough nutrients from their diet and anyone concerned about muscle tissue breakdown.
There are many great benefits of using a BCAA supplement as a part of your diet, but determining which supplement is right for you will depend on your dietary requirements and health and fitness goals. Always consult your healthcare professional before introducing any supplement into your diet.
Many great benefits come with using a BCAA supplement as a part of your daily routine. Some of these benefits include:-
Boosts energy and delays fatigue.
Helps to increase muscle growth and lean out muscle mass.
Protects the immune system.
Helps to manage muscle recovery and repair.
Assists with keeping our hormones in balance.
Provides weight loss/fat-burning benefits.
If taken correctly and in conjunction with a well-balanced diet and exercise, BCAA powders can help you achieve your health and fitness goals by providing you with many health and physical benefits to keep your mind and body in peak form.
At Happy Way, our BCAA powders are 100% natural and provide you with the necessary nutrients to help give you a healthy energy boost. If you’re needing a little pick me up, try our BCAAs as an alternative to that extra cup of coffee for the day. In both Raspberry and Green Apple flavours, they will keep you hydrated and also taste delicious too.
BCAAs are safe to take daily and in fact, if you’re taking them to help reach your goals then you will notice the benefits and results best if they become a part of your daily diet. If however, you don’t want to have your BCAA powder every day, then try using it only on days that you work out or exercise. This will ensure that you can gain the benefits of boosted energy, reduced fatigue and therefore increased performance during your training.
If consumed in excess there can be potential negative side effects which can include:-
High blood pressure
It’s important to follow the directions and recommended dosage on the packaging but it’s recommended to take anywhere between 4-20 g per day.
CAN WOMEN USE BCAAS?
BCAAs are equally effective if used by women or men and can help boost energy levels, delay fatigue and protect the immune system.
For those women who are concerned about bulking up or building too much muscle, it’s important to remember that men have a lot more testosterone in their bodies than women and therefore can increase their muscle size at a faster rate. For women, BCAAs help with building and maintaining a lean muscle mass, which will not only benefit and protect your cardiovascular and bone health but also allow you to increase the intensity of your workouts and strength at the gym.
Also, BCAAs can help balance out women’s hormones by increasing testosterone levels (this happens in men also) which will then not only impact your fitness performance but improve your moods and well-being overall. For women, when cortisol levels are high, it can increase their blood sugar levels (affecting their energy, appetite and mood) whilst decreasing other hormones like progesterone. If women’s hormones are out of whack, it can affect their mental health, energy, sex drive and even their physical well-being.
CAN I TAKE A BCAA POWDER IF I’M PREGNANT?
At Happy Way we recommend that you consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your daily diet, especially if you’re pregnant.
Being that Happy Way’s BCAA powders are made from all-natural ingredients and have no hidden nasties including artificial flavours, additives or preservatives, they’re considered safe to use during pregnancy. They’re a great way to ensure you’re meeting your daily protein requirements and can offer benefits such as boosting immunity, balancing hormones and increasing energy.
WHAT ARE BCAA POWDERS MADE FROM?
BCAAs can come from both animal and plant based proteins, but in the past, those that were derived from animals were sourced through non eco-friendly or un-sustainable practices. When you shop for a BCAA supplement, it’s important to look at the ingredients and ensure that you are choosing a supplement that is of high quality and promoting sustainability. Be mindful that you choose a supplement that uses non artificial ingredients including colours or flavours, and those that are not sourced from GMO farms.
Happy Way’s BCAA supplements are plant-based and therefore vegan-friendly and made from all natural ingredients. Organically grown, they’re also gluten-free, sourced from non-GMO farms and packed with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that provide a tonne of health benefits.
In both Green Apple and Raspberry flavour, Happy Way’s BCAA powders should ideally be taken daily, to maximise on their benefits. For a more detailed look at our BCAA powder ingredients, check out the flavours above and click on the ingredients/nutritional information tabs on the product page
WHAT DOES BCAA POWDER DO FOR MUSCLES?
We all know that after an intense workout or exercise session we can feel both tired and sore. This is quite common when we’ve exercised for the first time in a while and often the aches and pains we feel can last for days afterwards. These post-workout feels are known as DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and adding BCAAs into your diet can help decrease the pain we often experience, as they minimise muscle damage during exercise.
Consuming BCAAs pre and post-workout can help speed up muscle recovery between workouts, which allows us to bounce back faster and therefore get on with our days with fewer moans and groans! This will mean that we can exercise more often and maintain a consistent or higher intensity of training each time, enabling us to reach our goals faster.
DO BCAA POWDERS HELP WITH BODYBUILDING?
Taking a BCAA supplement can help those individuals who are wanting to gain muscle and maintain muscle mass. The essential amino acid leucine is a big contributor to activating muscle growth, which is why a lot of people who are looking to increase their muscle mass incorporate BCAAs into their daily diet. Leucine stimulates protein synthesis which is necessary for building muscle.
But whilst BCAAs have fantastic benefits and can be a contributing factor to muscle growth, to get the maximum results your body requires all 9 essential amino acids, which can be found in whey protein powder.
Check out Happy Way’s delicious range of whey protein powders here.
DO I NEED A BCAA SUPPLEMENT IF I USE WHEY PROTEIN POWDER?
Because BCAAs do not contain all of the 9 essential amino acids, they’re not considered a complete protein whereas whey protein powder is. BCAA powders have a lower calorie content than whey protein which does make them an ideal supplement for those that have weight loss goals but want to maintain lean muscle mass.
BCAAs and whey protein can be used together as a part of your diet as they do compliment each other. Try using your BCAA powder pre-workout for a boost of energy and to gain the benefits quickly as they do absorb in the body at a rapid rate, followed by a protein shake or smoothie post-workout.
For some delicious smoothie recipes follow @happywayrecipes or check out our recipes page on our website.
CAN I USE BCAA POWDER IF I'M VEGAN?
Yes, you can 100% use a BCAA powder if you’re vegan.
Because vegans cut out meat and dairy from their diets, they need to be more mindful that they get the necessary intake of vitamins and minerals that are required for optimal health and nutrition. By simply upping their protein and amino acid intake through supplements or alternative food sources like nuts, grains and other plant-based foods, those living a vegan lifestyle can still gain the benefits and achieve their fitness and health goals like any other individual.
Incorporating BCAA supplements and vegan protein powders into their diet is the best way for vegans to ensure they’re getting the necessary nutrients. Happy Way’s BCAA powders are vegan friendly and we also have a range of delicious vegan protein powders that all contain the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO USE BCAA POWDERS?
BCAA supplements can be taken before, during and after exercise or even between meals if you feel you’re not getting enough nutrients from your diet. If you are aiming to reap certain benefits or reach certain goals then it’s best to plan the timing accordingly.
Most people do prefer to take their BCAA supplements before exercise. Try to have your BCAA powder roughly 15-30 minutes before working out to give the supplement time to kick in, as this will allow you to gain all the benefits such as reducing fatigue, increasing stamina and boosting your energy levels during exercise.
Having your BCAA powder 30-60 minutes post-workout can assist with muscle recovery, repair and restoration. Because BCAAs help to reduce muscle soreness and muscle breakdown, it’s a good idea to have your BCAA supplements post-training, to support your body’s recovery process and eliminate the feelings of exhaustion that we often experience in the days following an intense workout. If taken after exercise you will notice that your body can repair and bounce back at a more rapid rate, because BCAAs absorb quickly into the body.
HOW DO I USE BCAA POWDERS AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I TAKE DAILY?
If you are unsure how much BCAA powder you should be consuming, follow the recommended dosage on the packaging or speak with a healthcare professional to determine what’s best for you. As with anything, if you’re using your BCAA supplement consistently, you will likely see results and ongoing benefits.
At Happy Way, we recommend having 10 g of BCAA powder per serving, for both pre and post-workout. Simply mix your favourite BCAA powder with 200 ml of water and stir or shake for around 20 seconds, or until it’s completely dissolved.
BCAAs are also a healthy alternative to coffee, as they not only give you a boost of energy but also allow you to get the necessary vitamins and nutrients to help you power through your day! Once opened, be sure to store your Happy Way supplements in a cool dry place, in an airtight container. It’s recommended that you use your BCAA powder within 90 days of opening and always use a dry spoon or scoop when making your shakes.
WHAT FOODS CONTAIN BCAAS?
Whilst BCAAs are considered essential amino acids and therefore are not naturally found in the body, there are a variety of foods that do contain increased levels of BCAAs, providing we are eating foods that are high in protein. You can find BCAAs in:-
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
Meat, poultry and fish
Beans, lentils, peas
BCAAs are also found in some protein powders, including our whey and vegan protein powders. Check out Happy Way’s range of whey protein powders, as well as our selection of vegan protein powders, which are all 100% natural and contain BCAAs, along with other vitamins, minerals and nutrients. If you’re unsure how to choose the best protein powder for you, read our blog here.