Amino acids are the basic units of the building blocks of life, proteins, which form long chains by connecting through peptide bonds. Amino acids are classified into several types depending on their structure, conformation, functional units, presence, and nature. Based on conformation, there are straight chain amino acids and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
Basics about BCAA
A BCAA has aliphatic or straight chains with one or branches where a central carbon atom is bound to three or more carbon atoms. The three basic branched chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These constitute 35% of the nine essential amino acids required for muscle proteins in humans. The main metabolic roles of BCAAs are to promote protein synthesis and turnover, glucose metabolism and metabolic signaling pathways. They play a role in obesity as the oxidation of these amino acids increases the oxidation of fatty acids and thereby that of fats and lipids.
BCAA and muscle protein synthesis
BCAAs, being essential should be taken daily to meet the body requirements and supplements are not necessary if the diet contains adequate levels. Food items such as meat, egg, and pulses are good sources. When the dietary intake of BCAAs is low, supplementation is required and this adds to the impact of dieting and exercise for athletes and those who work out regularly.
Branched chain amino acids are proved to increase the synthesis and building up of proteins in the muscle and decreases muscle damage or breakdown caused by exercise. If there is low intake of protein in the diet then BCAA supplementation will help increase the synthesis of protein with muscle and increase the muscle growth gradually. Leucine is the best BCAA to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and isoleucine promotes the cellular uptake of glucose molecules.
Dieting is reducing the quantity of food intake, particularly the high-calorie food to reduce fat deposition and muscle mass. Dieting and exercise are catabolic in nature, that is, cause the body to breakdown the muscle mass protein to release energy as the glucose intake becomes insufficient. Taking BCAA supplement increases the lean body mass of the body and not the loose fat deposit, thereby enhancing the effect of dieting.