Whether you are an athlete or are just exercising to lose weight and stay fit, diet and supplements can play a big role in your regimen. Many people just go straight for protein supplements, but some prefer BCAAs. So what exactly are BCAA supplements?
Protein is synthesized in the human body by amino acids. Amino acids are of two types: essential and non-essential. Non-essential amino acids can be bio-synthesized completely within the human body. Essential amino acids, on the other hand, must be obtained externally from dietary sources.
There are 9 essential amino acids in total of which three - leucine, valine, and isoleucine, are known as BCAAs. Together, these three acids play an important role in not only building and repairing muscle tissues, but also your metabolism and body signalling process.
So how exactly are BCAAs beneficial for women?
- Muscle Growth
As a result of intense workouts, your muscle tissues break down. Your body then uses BCAAs to synthesize muscle proteins which are then used to repair and rebuild those muscle tissues. This is called Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). Over time, this process leads to healthy muscle growth.
During workout regimens, your muscle proteins are continuously undergoing a process of breakdown and rebuilding. Without proper nutrients, your body can experience muscle loss. BCAAs help in preventing that by providing your body with the proper nutrition.
- Weight Loss
Combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet, BCAAs can lead to weight loss. BCAAs help in fat oxidation, which is a bioprocess in which fat is burned by the body to meet energy needs. This means that BCAAs encourage your body to break down fat.
Furthermore, BCAAs boost your metabolism by building lean muscle mass in your body. This means that your body burns more calories to maintain its lean muscles.
- Appetite Control
One of the biggest struggles with maintaining a healthy diet is controlling your cravings for unhealthy and junk food. So managing your appetite is absolutely important and BCAA supplements also help with that.
Your body has an enzyme called mTOR which helps in regulating cell growth as well as playing an important role in the synthesis of protein. One of the BCAAs, Leucine, activates this enzyme. Increased levels of mTOR signal to your brain that your body’s nutritional needs are complete and so your appetite is kept under check.
- Healthy Hormonal Balance
Your hormonal balance not only plays an important part in weight loss, it is also responsible for your overall mood and mental health. Recent research has also proven that certain nutrients directly affect the hormone levels in your body.
BCAAs, in particular, help in increasing your testosterone level while lowering your cortisol level. Testosterone is responsible for repairing and rebuilding your body tissues, including muscle tissues. So an increased level of testosterone is good for muscle growth.
On the other hand, the hormone cortisol increases your stress and anxiety, while also leading to an increased risk of a spike in blood sugar. So a lower cortisol improves your mood and mental well-being.
BCAAs lead to a number of benefits, from helping in weight loss and muscle growth to keeping your appetite in check and improving your mental health. Unfortunately, many women don’t get the needed supply of BCAAs from their dietary sources. So, taking BCAA supplements is recommended.